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CMA AWARDS: SHAKING THINGS UP

The 2017 CMA Awards are in the books, and the show, which aired Wednesday night on ABC from Nashville, seemed to represent a transitional moment, musically, politically and inclusively.

From a biz perspective, it was a big night and then some for UMG wranglers Mike Dugan and Cindy Mabe. How do you say "Mazel tov" in Nashvillian? 

The telecast was up in the ratings, too, garnering an evening-dominating 14.3m viewers, its largest overall audience in three years, spiking 10% over last year with the 18-49 demo and leading ABC to the #1 perch for the night—a peak for any network this season with entertainment programming—and more than doubling its nearest competition. Last year the show was up against Game 7 of the World Series.

Brad and Carrie got political in the open, including crackin' on POTUS: "Maybe next time he'll think before he tweets." Brad even referenced CMA policy regarding political commentary. Whaddaya know. It's a new world.

You can scratch the rumor that Taylor would show up. She won Song of the Year for LBT's "Better Man" but wasn't in the house to accept with the group. Tay was at SNL rehearsing for Saturday night's show—but she took a break to watch the CMAs and posted her signature reaction to the win. 

Counter-programming: While Luke Bryan sang "Light It Up," noted renegade Sturgill Simpson was busking outside the Bridgestone Arena.

In one of the most intriguing competitions, Jon Pardi was voted New Artist of the Year.

In what will surely stand as the most poignant moment of this year's show, Jimmy Webb joined LBT in an ecstatic rendition of "Wichita Lineman," one of the greatest songs and records of all time, honoring the late Glen Campbell, who received the award for Musical Event of the Year.

Carrie handled the heart- and gut-wrenching "In Memoriam" honoring the victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting with grace. A sobering moment, to say the least.

Dan + Shay and Lauren Alaina provided a note of hopefulness, covering The Youngbloods' "Get Together," further cementing the bond between classic rock and country.

Another reactive song was Keith Urban's new "Female," as the groundbreaking messaging hit another hot topic. 

With the anticipated anointment of Miranda still ahead, Little Big Town maintained a powerful presence through the evening, notching Vocal Group. 

As it turned out, It was Chris Stapleton who was anointed in what stands as a mild surprise. His Songs From A Room—generally thought to be a solid follow-up to the game-changing, career-making Traveller—was named Album of the year over Weight of These Wings, while each won Vocalist. Let the debating begin.

In all, this was not your daddy's CMAs, on several levels.   

Entertainer of the Year:
Garth Brooks — WINNER
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Chris Stapleton
Keith Urban

Single of the Year:
“Better Man,” Little Big Town
“Blue Ain’t Your Color,” Keith Urban — WINNER
“Body Like a Back Road,” Sam Hunt
“Dirt on My Boots,” Jon Pardi
“Tin Man,” Miranda Lambert

Album of the Year:
The Breaker, Little Big Town
From a Room: Volume 1, Chris Stapleton — WINNER
Heartbreak, Lady Antebellum
The Nashville Sound, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
The Weight of These Wings, Miranda Lambert

Song of the Year:
“Tin Man” (Miranda Lambert), Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall
“Dirt on My Boots” (Jon Pardi), Rhett Akins, Jesse Frasure, Ashley Gorley
“Body Like a Back Road” (Sam Hunt), Zach Crowell, Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” (Keith Urban), Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey, Steven Lee Olsen
“Better Man” (Little Big Town), Taylor Swift — WINNER

Female Vocalist of the Year:
Kelsea Ballerini
Miranda Lambert — WINNER
Reba McEntire
Maren Morris
Carrie Underwood

Male Vocalist of the Year:

Dierks Bentley
Eric Church
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton — WINNER
Keith Urban

Vocal Group of the Year:
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town — WINNER
Old Dominion
Rascal Flatts
Zac Brown Band

Vocal Duo of the Year:
Maddie & Tae
LOCASH
Florida Georgia Line
Dan + Shay
Brothers Osborne— WINNER

Musical Event of the Year:
“Speak to a Girl,” Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
“Setting the World on Fire,” Kenny Chesney w/P!nk
“Kill a Word,” Eric Church f/Rhiannon Giddens
“Funny How Time Slips Away,” Glen Campbell w/Willie Nelson — WINNER
“Craving You,” Thomas Rhett f/Maren Morris

Musician of the Year:

Jerry Douglas
Paul Franklin
Dann Huff
Derek Wells
Mac McAnally — WINNER

Music Video of the Year:

“Vice,” Miranda Lambert
“It Ain’t My Fault,” Brothers Osborne — WINNER
“Craving You,” Thomas Rhett f/Maren Morris
“Blue Ain’t Your Color,” Keith Urban
“Better Man,” Little Big Town

New Artist of the Year:

Brett Young
Jon Pardi — WINNER
Old Dominion
Lauren Alaina
Luke Combs

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You just wait.
PIZZA IN THE DIGITAL ERA
When will it come through my phone?
EMINEM
Stop asking us about the goddamn release date.
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