(NASHVILLE) — Carrie Underwood took the top prize, Video of the Year, for “Blown Away” at Wednesday night’s 2013 CMT Music Awards in Nashville. It was her second straight win in that category, and she thanked God and her video director for the win. Carrie also thanked her husband, hockey player Mike Fisher, who was celebrating a birthday at the show.
Florida Georgia Line took two trophies for “Cruise,” including Breakthrough Video of the Year and Duo Video of the Year. Miranda Lambert was a winner in the CMT Performance of the Year category for “Over You” from last year’s CMT Artists of the Year special. She also picked up Female Video of the Year for “Mama’s Broken Heart.” Miranda admitted she didn’t have to act much for that clip since she basically just acted crazy in it. Miranda also accepted the Male Video of the Year trophy for “Sure Be Cool If You Did” on behalf of her husband Blake Shelton, who was stuck in Los Angeles.
Of course, the night was filled with memorable performances. Florida Georgia Line welcomed Nelly to the stage for the night’s closing number, the “Cruise” remix. Carrie Underwood’s “See You Again” took on added meaning with images of the devastation from the recent tornadoes in her home state of Oklahoma playing on the screen behind her as she sang. A choir joined Carrie onstage at the end of the performance to take the song to another emotional level.
First-time host Jason Aldean had pretty good chemistry throughout the night with his co-host, actress Kristen Bell. In the opening skit, Jason literally dropped in on a group therapy session with Kristen as the therapist. Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood and Reba, who have all helmed major country awards shows in the past, made cameos in the skit giving Jason advice on how to approach his hosting duties. Vince Vaughn gave Jason a few tips in the skit too, and TV shrinks “Dr. Melfi” from The Sopranos, played by Lorraine Bracco, and Kelsey Grammer as Frasier Crane also weighed in on Jason’s hosting opportunity too.
As for the opening monologue, Kristen tried to get Jason to rip on stars in the audience, like Taylor Swift and Carrie, but he ended up paying them all huge compliments instead.
Jason kicked the show off with a high-octane performance of “American Woman” with his new pal Lenny Kravitz. Though the pairing may seem odd, Jason and Lenny have been hanging out and writing songs together in the last few months. Jason debuted his brand-new single, “Night Train,” later in the show on the outdoor stage. The performance was punctuated with a fireworks display lighting up Nashville’s iconic honky tonks.
Hunter Hayes delivered his latest single, “I Want Crazy,” to a huge outdoor audience outside on the plaza at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Hunter then threw it down the street to Luke Bryan, who performed his new hit, “Crash My Party,” at the honky tonk The Stage on Lower Broadway.
Once they got back to the arena, Taylor Swift delivered the title cut of her latest multi-platinum album, Red. Everything from Taylor’s outfit, guitar and backdrop to the flags waved by her back-up dancers featured the fiery color.
Darius Rucker walked through the crowd at the top of his performance of “Wagon Wheel” before making his way to the stage to join his backup vocal group, Lady Antebellum. They ended the song with a big-group sing along with the star-studded audience.
Lady A returned later in the show to sing their moody, defiant new single, “Goodbye Town,” which got Taylor Swift singing along in the audience. Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley joked that their Group Video of the Year win for “Downtown” was band mate Hillary Scott’s early baby present. Her first child is due next month.
The performances continued with Miranda Lambert singing her latest #1 hit, “Mama’s Broken Heart.” Kacey Musgraves showed off her legs wearing short shorts for her appearance on the CMT Music Awards main stage singing her brand-new single, “Blowin’ Smoke.”
Keith Urban got the audience in a nice groove with his latest feel-good hit, “Little Bit of Everything,” from his upcoming album, Fuse. He later introduced his tour mates, Little Big Town, for their cover of the Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain,” which has been a highlight of the group’s live shows this year. Keith emerged from below the stage at the end of the performance to help Little Big Town close it out with a rocking guitar solo.
Larry the Cable Guy had a little fun with Carrie Underwood during his presentation, telling her to stop calling him now that they’re both married. Carrie’s husband, hockey player Mike Fisher, jokingly got up from his chair to take on Larry as Carrie blew kisses towards the stage. Larry shot back saying, “I eat hockey players for breakfast” before presenting the Collaborative Video of the Year trophy to Jason Aldean, Eric Church and Luke Bryan for their performance of “The Only Way I Know” from last year’s CMA Awards. Curiously, Jason said Luke couldn’t be there at the show, which means Luke’s performance at The Stage was pre-taped.
Cassadee Pope, Dustin Lynch, Kree Harrison, Randy Houser, Love and Theft and Ashley Monroe gave abbreviated performances on the b-stage throughout the night. The Mavericks backed up the acts on the Nationwide stage in addition to paying tribute to the late George Jones with a bit of his big hit, “The Race Is On.”
Here are the 2013 CMT Music Awards Winners:
Video of the Year
Carrie Underwood, “Blown Away”
Male Video of the Year
Blake Shelton, “Sure Be Cool If You Did”
Female Video of the Year
Miranda Lambert, “Mama’s Broken Heart”
Group Video of the Year
Lady Antebellum, “Downtown”
Duo Video of the Year
Florida Georgia Line, “Cruise”
Breakthrough Video of the Year
Florida Georgia Line, “Cruise”
CMT Performance of the Year
Miranda Lambert, “Over You” from 2012 CMT Artists of the Year
Collaborative Video of the Year
Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Eric Church, “The Only Way I Know” from the 2012 CMA Awards
CMT On Your Side Award (Best New Live Act)
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Lisa Respers France, CNN
Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com