2020 CMA Awards: The Complete Recap

The 54th annual CMA Awards took place last night (November 11th) in Nashville, Tennessee. Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker hosted country music’s biggest night, featuring performances by the industry’s most prevalent stars. Keep reading below to see which artists took home the awards.

Although it looked different than previous years, the 2020 CMA Awards was the most “normal”-looking award show so far in the COVID-era. Although socially-distanced at separate tables, all the artists and nominees were in the same room, bringing back the feeling of togetherness that makes the country community so special. Eric Church took home the night’s most prestigious award, Entertainer of the Year.

Entertainer of the Year Eric Church

The night started off which multiple artists–Dierks Bentley, Brothers Osborne, Ashley McBryde, and Jason Aldean paying tribute to the late Charlie Daniels, who passed away in July. They came together to perform a medley of hits including “Long Haired Country Boy,” “Trudy,” “Texas,” and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”

Maren Morris had a huge night, winning the first two awards, Single and Song of the Year with “The Bones,” and later winning Female Vocalist of the Year. “The Bones,” written by Morris, Jimmy Robbins, and Laura Veltz and produced by Greg Kurstin, spent 19 weeks at the top spot on the Hot Country Charts. She performed this song later in the show and used her last acceptance speech to shout-out under-recognized black women in country music.

“There are so many amazing black women who have pioneered and continue to pioneer this genre…you’ve made this genre so so beautiful. I hope you know that we see you; thank you for making me so inspired as a singer…”

Morgan Wallen was the first solo act to take the stage, performing “More Than My Hometown.” He accepted the next award, New Artist of the Year, later in the night.

Last night featured many first-time live collaborations, including Gabby Barret and Charlie Puth, performing their chart-climbing hit song, “I Hope;” McEntire and Christian artist, Chris Tomlin joined Thomas Rhett on stage for their number one song, “Be A Light;” and Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber performed “10,000 Hours” from the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Dan + Shay took home yet another Duo of the Year award last night, as well.

Many country legends were lost in 2020, but the CMA and country’s current artists honored them all last night. Along with the Charlie Daniels tribute, Jon Pardi honored Joe Diffe with a performance of his biggest hit, “Pickup Man;” McEntire and Rucker paid tribute to Mac Davis with his song, “In the Ghetto;” and Little Big Town honored Kenny Rodgers with a rendition of “Sweet Music Man.” Artists and guests in attendance were up on their feet, singing and dancing along in loving memory of their idols growing up.

After performing a snippet of his number-one song, “Best Shot,” Jimmy Allen introduced the distinguished Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award to the legendary Charley Pride. Allen joined Pride for a special performance of his hit song, “Kiss an Angel Good Morning.”

Sandwiched between two beautiful ballads, Chris Stapleton’s “Starting Over” with his wife, Morgan, and Ingrid Andress’ “More Hearts Than Mine,” Old Dominion took home another Vocal Group of the Year award, making it their third straight. They also won Vocal Group of the Year at ACMs the past three years as well. They later took the stage to perform “Lookin’ for Love,” from the 1980 iconic western film, Urban Cowboy.

Luke Combs continued his success at award shows with two more wins for Album of the Year and Male Artist of the Year. Combs and his album, What You See Is What You Get, set numerous streaming records this past year. He performed a song off the deluxe version of the album, “Cold As You,” earlier in the night.

“Everybody watching this tonight is just as important as I am in this and I’m just happy to be the guy standing up here holding this trophy for all of us,” Combs praised after accepting album of the year.

Eric Church, who performed a new song, “Hell of a View” earlier in the show, took home the final award of the night, Entertainer of the Year. In 2019, Church headlined the famous Double Down Tour, in which he performed back-to-back nights in the same city with a different setlist for each show—a very unique and difficult task that not many artists could pull off.

“This award this year, at least for me, has been about the loss of this year,” Church admitted. “The loss of life; the loss of playing shows; the loss of freedom; the loss of kids being in school. You know what the win is? The win is we all were here tonight, together…It’s going to be music that brings us out of this. That is the one thing that is going to save the entire world. Politicians are about division, music is about unity.”

Two awards were given out before the show, including Miranda Lambert’s “Bluebird” for Music Video of the Year and Lee Brice and Carly Pearce’s “I Hope Your Happy Now” for Musical Event of the Year. Due to a positive COVID-19 test, Lady A’s Charles Kelley filled in for Brice and sang the number one song on stage with Pearce.

Other performances included: “Beers and Sunshine” –Darius Rucker; “One Night Standards – “Ashley McBryde; “All Night” – Brothers Osbourne; “Settling Down” – Miranda Lambert; “Hole in the Bottle” – Kelsea Ballerini; and an acoustic performance of “God Whispered Your Name” by Keith Urban from Australia.

Click here to see a list of all last night’s winners.

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