Although the main event of the 44th Annual Country Music Association Awards were obviously the nine televised honors themselves, last night's (Nov. 10) show packed in performances from almost every major country star in its three-hour span. Duets from Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, as well as the Zac Brown Band and Alan Jackson, complemented solo sets from Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert (the show's big winner this year), and Blake Shelton, among others. We present not only the stand-out performances from 2010's CMA Awards, but also the must-see moments.
Reba McEntire Covers Beyonce's "If I Were a Boy"
As if Beyonce's 2008 ballad "If I Were a Boy" wasn't moving enough, country queen Reba McEntire's smokey twang and solemn stance turned the song on its head last night at the CMA Awards. The simple, powerful performance is enough to inspire tears, or at least goosebumps. Take note: This is the model for a pop to country mash-up. The cover also appears on Reba's new album, "All the Women I Am," which hit stores Tuesday (Nov. 9).
Gwyneth Paltrow and Vince Gill Perform "Country Strong"
Gwyneth Paltrow, with the help of country music great Vince Gill, took to the CMA stage with an acoustic guitar to perform the title song from her new movie, "Country Strong." The live performance, on which Gill sang harmony and played guitar, showed off all the work Paltrow did to prepare for the role of a famous country star trying to rebuild her career after a stint in rehab. Looks like the wife of Coldplay singer Chris Martin will be giving him a run for his money when it comes to the household's best singer. "Country Strong" is scheduled to hit theaters on Jan. 7.
Brad Paisley Wins 2010 CMA Entertainer of the Year Award
After five years of being nominated for -- but never winning -- CMA Entertainer of the Year, the show's host Brad Paisley finally got his moment in the sun. In the longest acceptance speech of the evening, a choked up Paisley dedicated the award to his deceased grandfather, who first pushed him to take up the guitar. Paisley seemed truly appreciative toward country music fans, saying, "You guys are loyal to everyone in this room -- it's the most amazing, loyal fanbase in the world." Paisley also premiered a new song during the CMAs, titled "This Is Country Music," which stands as an abridged history of country music's past.
Taylor Swift Performs "Back to December"
Country darling and Billboard chart record-setter Taylor Swift gave a somber performance of "Back to December," which is rumored to be about her relationship with "Twilight" favorite Taylor Lautner. Although she's dressed immaculately in a shimmering white dress, Swift never gets up from the piano during the entire number. The drifting smoke, dressed-all-in-black string ensemble and fake snow falling created a woeful ambiance for the song, which chronicles Swift's regrets of ending a relationship she didn't realize was so beneficial for her.
Miranda Lambert, Sheryl Crow, Loretta Lynn Perform "Coal Miner's Daughter"
While Miranda Lambert may have taken home the most awards (including album of the year for "Revolution") at the 2010 CMA Awards, she also helped shine the spotlight on another big winner last night. She performed a tribute to Loretta Lynn alongside Sheryl Crow, who appeared with Lambert on "Coal Miner's Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn" album earlier this year. Lynn, who turned 76 this past April and has been a respected member of the country music community for more than 50 years, helped make the moment even more epic by coming on stage to help conclude Lambert's and Crow's rendition of her most famous song.