Chris Stapleton leads CMA Award winners

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Chris Stapleton at the CMA Awards credit:Bang Showbiz
Chris Stapleton at the CMA Awards credit:Bang Showbiz

Chris Stapleton was the big winner at the CMA Awards on Wednesday (10.11.21) night.

The 43-year-old singer had a successful evening at the at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville as the Country Music Association honoured him with the Male Vocalist of the Year Award, as well as Album of the Year for 'Starting Over' and both Song of the Year - which goes to the writers, Chris and Mike Henderson - and Single of the Year for the title track.

However, Chris - who was honoured as both singer and producer on the Album and Single accolades - failed to take home the evening's top prize, with Luke Combs a surprise winner of the prestigious Entertainer of the Year accolade for the first time.

Luke, who had performed a new song, 'Doin' This', earlier in the evening, said on stage: “(Presenter) Alan Jackson said my name twice just now.

"I have never written a speech for something like this, which is not serving me very well right now…I don’t deserve to win it, but I’m sure as hell glad that I did.” Combs had premiered a brand new song earlier in the night, “Doin’ This.”

Carly Pearce was another surprise winner, taking Female Vocalist of the Year, while Old Dominion scooped Group of the Year for the fourth time.

It was an emotional evening for Brothers Osborne - who took home Vocal Duo of the Year - as TJ Osborne reflected on coming out as gay earlier this year.

He kissed his boyfriend Abi Ventura as he made his way to the stage with his brother John Osborne and then said in his speech: "It's been a crazy roller coaster of a year for us in so many ways, especially for me emotionally. And to have you all support me, it really does feel like love wins tonight. Thank you."

As the duo received a standing ovation, John said: "Give this boy a round of applause. We love this genre, we love the people, we love all of you so much."

And introducing their performance of new song 'Younger Me', TJ reflected on how he'd always dreamed to be at the CMAs but there were "so many hurdles".

He added: "And I always truthfully felt like it would never be possible because of my sexuality. And I just wish, I wish, my younger me could see me now.”

Jennifer Hudson gave a show-stopping performance with a medley of country and country-R&B crossover songs which Aretha Franklin had performed during her career, with Chris Stapleton joining her on guitar.

Mickey Guyton was joined by Brittney Spencer and Madeline Edwards on 'I Love My Hair', a performance which was introduced by Faith Fennidy - the Black student who had inspired the track after being sent home from school and told her braids violated school policy.

Luke Bryan hosted the CMAs for the first time, and he made several jokes about his own few nominations this year.

Introducing Combs' performance, he talked about how "lately when I'm Googling myself", his fellow country star would come out top among Lukes.

The 'American Idol' star noted: "And I’m pretty sure alphabetically I come first. … I used to own the Luke real estate, but unlike my personal favorite Luke, this one has three nominations.”

Other performers included Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett, Dan + Shay, Zac Brown Band, and Blake Shelton.

2021 CMA Awards winners:

Entertainer of the Year:

Luke Combs

Single of the Year:

'Starting Over' – Chris Stapleton

Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton

Mix Engineer: Vance Powell

Album of the Year:

'Starting Over' – Chris Stapleton

Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton

Mix Engineer: Vance Powell

Song of the Year:

'Starting Over' - Mike Henderson, Chris Stapleton

Female Vocalist of the Year:

Carly Pearce

Male Vocalist of the Year:

Chris Stapleton

Vocal Group of the Year:

Old Dominion

Vocal Duo of the Year:

Brothers Osborne

Musical Event of the Year:

'Half of My Hometown' – Kelsea Ballerini (featuring Kenny Chesney)

Producers: Kelsea Ballerini, Ross Copperman, Jimmy Robbins

Music Video of the Year:

'Half of My Hometown' – Kelsea Ballerini (featuring Kenny Chesney)

Director: Patrick Tracy

New Artist of the Year:

Jimmie Allen

Musician of the Year:

Jenee Fleenor, Fiddle

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