The CMT Music Awards proved to have something for everyone, with 80s rockers to the Presidential candidates getting air time during Wednesday night's telecast. Hosted by Toby Keith and Kristen Bell, the show had enough to keep fans -- at home and at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena -- on the edge of their seats all evening long.
Awards-wise, it was one of the most varied shows to be broadcast out of Music City in quite some time. Totally fan-voted, many of today's biggest stars got a chance to accept trophies. Luke Bryan and Miranda Lambert won Male and Female Video honors for "I Don't Want This Night To End" and "Over You," respectively. Lady Antebellum took home Vocal Group honors for "We Owned The Night," and the year keeps getting better than ever for Thompson Square -- who won the Duo Video prize for "I Got You."
After winning the prize, Keifer Thompson said "This has been an amazing ride for me and Shawna. We want to thank God, first and foremost for all the blessings, and for country fans for supporting country music and changing our lives forever."
Other winners included Jason Aldean for "CMT Performance of the Year" for "Tattoos On This Town," Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood for Collaborative Video, thanks to their "Remind Me." Paisley good-naturedly shared a hug with Underwood's husband, Nashville Predators star Mike Fisher, before going to accept the award. Fan favorite Scotty McCreery claimed the USA WEEKEND Breakthrough Video category with his clip for "The Trouble With Girls." The singer said the video has a special place in his heart.
"This award is so special to me 'cause I got to film this at my home high school, Garner Magnet High School [in North Carolina]. I thank everybody who came out to support that."
But, only one video could claim the distinction of being the Video of the Year, and the prize went to Carrie Underwood's "Good Girl." After winning, the singer was quick to thank the fans. "I just want to thank you guys for watching the videos, voting for them, supporting all of us because we all need you, we all love you," she said.
As for the multitude of performances, one of the highlights of the evening had to be collaboration of co-host Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, Zac Brown, Jamey Johnson, and Darius Rucker on the interestingly-titled "Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die."
Hank Williams, Jr. teamed up with Brad Paisley outside of the venue to perform "I'm Gonna Get Drunk And Play Hank Williams" to a crowd that reportedly numbered in the 30,000 range. The song appears on his Old School, New Rules disc, which will be on the streets July 10. The performance was a highlight for both.
"Tonight was a special night! Having Brad perform with me and especially on my new album is something special," Williams said. "It's a good 'ole honky-tonk song that Brad-cephus and Bocephus had a lot of fun playing tonight!"
"I count as one of my greatest blessings in this career being able to get to know Hank," Paisley said. "When I heard the song, I said, 'This is perfect'. It's such a great tribute to his dad. The idea that two of us from this generation are getting together to forget a woman with the music of his father is too much fun! It's a highlight for me!"
But, for many, the highlight of the evening was Rascal Flatts' collaboration with legendary rock band Journey. As soon as the famed country trio ended their performance of "Banjo," it was time to go into 80s rock mode with a performance of "Don't Stop Believing."
CMT MUSIC AWARDS WINNERS:
VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Carrie Underwood, "Good Girl"
MALE VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Luke Bryan, "I Don't Want This Night to End"
FEMALE VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Miranda Lambert, "Over You"
GROUP VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Lady Antebellum, "We Owned The Night"
DUO VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Thompson Square, "I Got You"
BREAKTHROUGH VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Scotty McCreery, "The Trouble With Girls"
COLLABORATIVE VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, "Remind Me"
CMT PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR: Jason Aldean, "Tattoos On This Town" from 2011 CMT Artists Of The Year