The 2018 CMA Awards aired live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday night.
The night was full of incredible performances by some of the biggest names in country music and big awards. Although the entire show was pretty great, we picked our top 10 standout moments from the 2018 CMA Awards.
Kelsea’s Fast-Paced Performance
Kelsea Ballerini performed “Miss Me More” during the show — and it was unlike anything we’ve seen her do before. The country singer relied on her backup dancers and fun beats for the upbeat performance. It was clear the entire time she was on stage that she was having the best time.
The Star-Studded Opening
Luke Bryan opened this year’s awards show and he brought along some friends. His performance of “What Makes You Country” included Luke Combs, Cole Swindell, Jon Pardi and Chris Janson. It was a standout for us because of the females that Bryan included — not the males. Lindsay Ell and Ashley McBryde were also part of the opening.
Pistol Annies’ Catchy Comeback
It’s been just over a week since Pistol Annies released their new album and fans are loving it. It debuted at debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart and their CMA Awards performance showed how much fun they’re having now that they’re back together. Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley took the stage with a rockin’ band to perform “Got My Name Changed Back.”
Ricky Skaggs Bringing Back Bluegrass
CMA Awards viewers received quite the delight on Wednesday night when they got to see a tribute to Ricky Skaggs. He started the performance with his Kentucky Thunder bandmates for “Black Eyed Susie” before joining Keith Urban and the Brothers Osborne for “Highway 40 Blues.” Skaggs ended the performance on yet another stage with Brad Paisley and Marty Stuart for “Country Boy.”
Love’s Big Win
Carrie Underwood pulled double duty at the CMAs by hosting and performing. She took the stage for “Love Wins” in a beautiful blue gown with a cape hiding colors underneath. She mesmerized the crowd, hitting the most beautiful high notes in front of a colorful background.
Keith’s Shocking Win
Keith Urban did not expect to win the 2018 Entertainer of the Year award — that was clear from his face. He embraced his wife, Nicole Kidman, before taking the stage to accept the award with tears in his eyes. Urban graciously accepted it, thanking his wife and daughters while wiping tears from his face. “I wish my dad was alive to see this but I think he’s watching over me tonight… I am very grateful that I get to do what I do.”
Garth Brooks’ Loving Tribute
Before his performance, only a handful of people had heard this song. Garth Brooks debuted “Stronger Than Me,” a song he wrote about his wife, Trisha Yearwood, during the CMA Awards. With the lights down low and only a spotlight on him and his wife, he moved her to tears with his beautiful song. The track reminded us of 1990s-era Brooks. We predict a hit.
Carrie Announces the Baby’s Sex
During the highly-anticipated monologue, Carrie Underwood “blew it.” When she took the stage with co-host Brad Paisley at the beginning of the show, Paisley insisted on knowing the sex of her baby. He pushed and pushed asking, “[Is it a] Waylon or a Willie?” Eventually, the “Love Wins” singer blurted out that it was, in fact, a Willie.
Kacey’s Big Win
Kacey Musgraves won big at the CMA Awards when she took home the award for Album of the Year. Golden Hour made her the first woman in four years to take home this award. “This is really, really crazy timing,” Musgraves said when she accepted it. Just before the award show, she realized that she had moved to Nashville exactly 10 years ago. She gave her thanks adding, “We poured everything we have into this and I’m so proud of it.”
Mavis Staples, Chris Stapleton + Maren Morris
We obviously couldn’t mention the 2018 CMAs without mentioning this standout performance. Something magical happened when Mavis Staples took the stage with Chris Stapleton and Maren Morris. Country met soul for the duration of “Friendship” and “I’ll Take You There.” This is a performance that fans will be talking about for years to come.