Backstage at the 50th Annual CMA Awards, it was a celebration of both the old and the new, much like it was on the historic telecast itself. The crowd of reporters and photographers cheered just as loudly for first-time winners Brothers Osborne, as they did for Dolly Parton, who was part of the very first CMA ceremony.
New Artist of the Year Maren Morris recalled watching last year’s show on television across the street at The Palm. Second-generation country star Thomas Rhett admitted he’d always longed for one of the crystal spires.
Eric Church sang a bit of “Summer Nights,” as he confessed to being a bit starstruck around Olivia Newton-John. Chris Stapleton copped to a similar problem with his duet partner, Dwight Yoakam.
After a stellar year, Entertainer of the Year nominee Carrie Underwood managed to break the winning streak of her pal Miranda Lambert, stealing back the Female Vocalist trophy.
Carrie ultimately lost the evening’s major award to Garth Brooks, who heaped praise on Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks, while bemoaning the absence of The Judds. After returning from retirement, the Country Music Hall of Famer confided the biggest title in country music is even sweeter now than when he won it as a younger man.
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