The 55th Annual CMA Awards Recap ft. Chris Stapleton, Luke Combs & More

Here is the 55th Annual CMA Awards recap featuring big wins by country superstars Chris Stapleton, Luke Combs, and more.


The 55th Annual CMA Awards took place last night (November 10th), returning to its normal format: one venue, no masks, no social distancing, and most importantly, a live audience! Luke Bryan hosted the historic night from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.  Chris Stapleton took home four awards, winning Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year with Starting Over, and Single and Song of the Year for “Starting Over.” Luke Combs won the final and most prestigious award of the night, Entertainer of the Year, an iconic moment for the artist.

The show began with a medley of hits from Entertainer of the Year nominee, Miranda Lambert. She sang “Mama’s Broken Heart,” “Bluebird,” “Gunpowder & Lead,” and several other hits. The running joke of the night was that host, Bryan was incapable of hosting the show alone, even though he has performed in front of massive crowds, has hosted previously, and is on television every week on American Idol. Other artists felt the need to join in and assist the first-time CMA host. His fellow American Idol judges, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry even joined him to announc the first award of the night, Song of the Year, which Stapleton took home.

One of the best parts of these award shows are the electrifying collaborations that we would not see anywhere else. Chris Young and Kane Brown took to the stage together to sing “Famous Friends;” Breland and HARDY joined Dierks Bentley for a performance of their chart-climbing single, “Beers On Me;” Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde teamed up for their brand new song “Never Wanted To Be That Girl,” one of the highlights of the night, and Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood performed their number one song “If I Didn’t Love You.”

Early award announcements included Vocal Duo of the Year, which went to Brothers Osbourne, after a two-year run from Dan + Shay, who were also nominated. In a category that was stacked with talent, (HARDY, Mickey Guyton, Gabby Barrett, and Ingrid Andress) Jimmie Allen took home the New Artist of the Year award. Additionally, Old Dominion won the Vocal Group of the Year for the fourth straight year. They also performed their smash-hit “I Was On a Boat That Day” earlier in the show.

Although there were many standout moments throughout the night, there were a few that we loved the most. Some of our favorites include, Luke Combs debuting his brand new song “Doin’ This,” which is now available on all streaming platforms; Russell Dickerson bringing Sarah Frei, an amputee teen from Utah, on the CMA stage as well providing her with a wheelchair-accessible Chevrolet; Brittney Spencer and Madeline Edwards joining Mickey Guyton to perform her new song, “Love My Hair,” showing off their bountiful curls; and Chris Stapleton and Jennifer Hudson covering some of Aretha Franklin’s biggest hits in respect of the Queen of Soul. Fans and other artists were in awe of Hudson’s incredible vocal range, gathering grand reactions from Breland, Ashley McBryde, and HARDY in particular.

Other performers included Gabby Barrett who sang her number one song “The Good Ones;” Zac Brown Band who performed “Same Boat;” Keith Urban—“Wild Hearts;” Thomas Rhett—“Country Again;” Jimmie Allen—“Freedom Was A Highway;” Brother Osborne—“Younger Me;” Blake Shelton—“Come Back As A Country Boy;” Dan + Shay—“I Should Probably Go To Bed;” Chris Stapleton—“Cold;” and Eric Church—“Heart on Fire” with actual flames surrounding him.

Three categories were awarded before the show—two of them went to Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney for their song “half of my hometown.” The song won Best Musical Event and Music Video of the Year. Jenee Fleenor won the Musician of the Year for her incredible work on the fiddle.

At the end of the show, Carly Pearce was awarded Female Vocalist of the Year. Her fellow nominee, Ashley McBryde joined her on stage to help begin her speech, as she was clearly at a loss for words and overcome with emotion. The last two awards were given to Stapleton and Combs, for Male Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year, respectively. Bryan, who performed his latest single, “Up” earlier in the show, closed out the CMA Awards with a classic hit “I Don’t Want This Night to End.”

To view the full list of winners, click here.

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