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Carrie Underwood is back in a big way. Not only is her album Blown Away still holding strong at the top of the Billboard country albums chart, but she was a two-time winner at the CMT Music Awards, taking home both the evening’s most coveted trophy, Video of the Year (for “Good Girl”) and Collaborative Video of the Year (for “Remind Me” with Brad Paisley). Carrie dedicated her big win for Video of the Year to her aunt, and thanked the fans for supporting country music. “I know how great [the] company I am in, so I just want to thank you guys for watching the videos, voting for them and supporting us. We love you and we need you. I would like to dedicate this award to my aunt and her family. I know she’d be watching this.” She also thanked husband Mike Fisher, who accompanied her to the awards show.
Toby Keith and Kristen Bell co-hosted the night's festivities, but not without a little light-hearted competition from each to host the show on their own, as shown in the opening comedic scene. The dispute was egged on by a slew of actors and musicians including Matthew McConaughey, Mario Lopez and Jon Bon Jovi, who all took sides. Even pleas from President Obama and Mitt Romney for a co-hosting gig couldn’t calm the competition. So what did? Willie Nelson, who appeared to encourage Toby and Kristen to put aside their differences and co-host. “It’s Willie’s world, we kind of just live in it,” said Toby. Toby and Kristen entered the arena triumphantly together on a larger-than-life Red Solo Cup as a blazing guitar solo from Toby’s mega-hit “Red Solo Cup” played in the background. “We’ve got our own version of Lady Gaga’s egg right there,” said Toby.
It was a fitting kick-off for the show--it seems that beer was the theme for the evening. Brad Paisley and Hank Williams Jr. gave CMA Music Festival-goers (who didn’t happen to have tickets to the CMT Music Awards) a treat with an outdoor performance of “I’m Gonna Get Drunk and Play Hank Williams,” which appears on Hank Jr.'s upcoming new album, Old School . . . New Rules, at the Bridgestone Arena Plaza. Eric Church also performed his No. 1 hit “Drink In My Hand” on the Plaza stage. Even Luke Bryan alluded to that liquid-fueled good-time feeling in his hit “Drunk on You.”
Lady Antebellum gave the first performance of the evening, a collaborative effort with pop band Hot Chelle Rae in a mashup performance of Lady Antebellum's “We Owned The Night” and Hot Chelle Rae’s 2011 hit “Tonight Tonight." Later in the evening, Jason Aldean presented the Group Video of the Year trophy to Lady A for "We Owned the Night."
Luke Bryan’s red-hot career streak continued with his second CMT Music Award win, this time in the Male Video of the Year category. “When I came home to show my wife this video I removed all the bullets out of our house and I’m glad she didn’t buy any more bullets to shoot me with,” Luke quipped about the sultry clip for “I Don’t Want This Night to End.” To celebrate, Luke tossed camouflage underwear to a gaggle of screaming female fans in the audience. It was also a big night for duo Thompson Square, who were nominated twice in the Duo Video for the Year category, and took home the trophy for their clip "I Got You."
New singles also ruled the evening’s performances. Zac Brown Band unveiled the bluegrass-inspired new single “The Wind,” while Little Big Town got the crowd wishing they were on a lake with their single “Pontoon,” performing the summertime tune on a full pontoon set in front of a cheering crowd holding up their Little Big Town coozies. Kenny Chesney performed his recently released “Come Over,” as three massive screens displayed the ballad’s smoldering black-and-white video. The Band Perry also performed their current single, "Postcard From Paris."
Between the award wins and performances, Toby’s co-host Kristen kept up an endless arsenal of jokes throughout the evening, even crafting her own verses to Pistol Annies’ “Hell on Heels” in an attempt to persuade Miranda Lambert to let her join the trio. She “just so happened” to find a seat in “Hunksville,” next to Luke Bryan and Jake Owen (sorry, Kristen, both are already taken). Pistol Annies later performed the fan favorite “Takin’ Pills” (sans the fourth member hopeful).
Though they didn't take home a trophy, Rascal Flatts closed out the show with a much-anticipated performance with classic rock band Journey on their signature hit, "Don't Stop Believin'."
Here's a list of all the winners from the CMT Music Awards:
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"
USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year
Scotty McCreery, "The Trouble With Girls"
Collaborative Video of the Year
Brad Paisley with Carrie Underwood, "Remind Me"
CMT Performance of the Year
Jason Aldean, "Tattoos on This Town" (from CMT Artists of the Year)