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Kenny Chesney took the top prize at the 40th annual Country Music Association Awards, held Monday, Nov. 6, in Nashville, but Brooks & Dunn walked away with the most trophies.
Kenny took Entertainer of the Year honors for the second time. Amazingly, it was only Kenny’s third CMA win overall—he received Entertainer and Album of the Year (for When the Sun Goes Down) in 2004. Kenny sang his latest Top 5 hit, “You Save Me,” during the show. The legendary Barbara Mandrell presented the Entertainer trophy to Kenny, who performed on the recent Barbara tribute album, She Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool.
Hosts Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn shared an armload of trophies, as their smash “Believe” took the awards for Single of the Year, Song of the Year and Music Video of the Year, and the duo themselves were named Duo of the Year for the record-extending 14th time. The two performed their hit “Building Bridges” with guests Sheryl Crow and Vince Gill, himself no stranger to CMA Awards hosting duties.
After taking the show to New York City last year, the CMA Awards came home to Nashville for its 40th anniversary, although in a new building—the Gaylord Entertainment Center instead of its traditional location, the Grand Ole Opry House. The bigger venue allowed for fans to be in the audience for the first time. The show also underwent a change of TV broadcast venue this year, moving from CBS to ABC.
Other big winners of the evening included relative newcomer Carrie Underwood, who swept to stardom on the massively popular TV talent show American Idol. The singer took Female Vocalist of the Year and the Horizon Award, given to the year’s top newcomer. It’s the first time anyone has won both of those awards in the same year since Alison Krauss did it in 1995. Carrie performed her current hit, “Before He Cheats,” during the show.
Brad Paisley’s platinum-selling Time Well Wasted was named Album of the Year, and his heartfelt hit “When I Get Where I’m Going,” which features Dolly Parton, took the honor of Musical Event of the Year. The singer performed his latest single, “She’s Everything,” complete with a blazing Eric Clapton-style guitar solo.
Keith Urban, who has been out of sight since checking into rehabilitation to be treated for alcoholism Oct. 19, wasn’t on hand to pick up his Male Vocalist of the Year award. Co-host Ronnie Dunn read a letter from Keith in the superstar’s absence.
Rascal Flatts was named Vocal Group of the Year, and sang their current hit, “My Wish.”
George Strait, who performed his recent chart-topper “Give It Away,” was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame alongside Sonny James and master musician Harold Bradley. Performance highlights included Faith Hill singing her new single, “Stealing Kisses,” alongside the tune’s composer, Lori McKenna; Miranda Lambert capping her performance of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” by knocking over her mic stand and bashing her guitar on the stage, Pete Townshend style; and Gretchen Wilson duetting on “Come to Bed” with Big & Rich’s John Rich.
2006 CMA Awards Winners
|Entertainer of the Year:||Kenny Chesney|
|Album of the Year:||Time Well Wasted, Brad Paisley|
|Male Vocalist of the Year:||Keith Urban|
|Female Vocalist of the Year:||Carrie Underwood|
|Vocal Group of the Year:||Rascal Flatts|
|Vocal Duo of the Year:||Brooks & Dunn|
|Horizon Award:||Carrie Underwood|
|Single of the Year:||“Believe,” Brooks & Dunn|
|Song of the Year:||“Believe,” Brooks & Dunn (Written by Craig Wiseman and Ronnie Dunn)|
|Musical Event of the Year:||Brad Paisley Featuring Dolly Parton, “When I Get Where I’m Going”|
|Music Video of the Year:||“Believe,” Brooks & Dunn (Directed by Robert Deaton and George J. Flanigen IV)|