Fast forward three decades, and Fan Fair is now the CMA Music Festival, and the award show is now hosted by CMT, with each awards show seemingly devoted more and more to all-star multi-genre collaborations. But, one thing hasn't changed -- the fans still have their favorites. And, on a night where hip and chic were sought after, the fans made their choices clear in several of the categories for veteran artists -- such as Carrie Underwood.
The Arista Nashville superstar added two more CMT Music Awards to her collection last night, taking home Female Video of the Year honors for "Smoke Break." The song also netted the Grand Ole Opry star an additional trophy for Performance of the Year from the network's Instant Jam series. Another longtime fan favorite, Tim McGraw, found himself back into the winners' circle with the night's biggest prize, for overall Video of the Year honors for "Humble and Kind."
But, there were other awards to be presented during the evening's telecast, as well. Thomas Rhett took home Male Video of the Year for "Die A Happy Man" -- for which he thanked his wife, Lauren -- the inspiration for the song -- for appearing in the video. Little Big Town added more hardware t their stash with Group / Duo Video of the year for "Girl Crush," and Chris Stapleton won for his powerful "Fire Away."
But, perhaps the winner who was the most excited was Blake Shelton, who won an award not for his music per se, but rather for his contributions to the viral world with a win as the 2016 Social Superstar of the Year. Well known for his colorful Tweets, Shelton quipped "I like to have a few drinks and get on Twitter. I didn't know you could get paid for that."
Performance-wise, Shelton enjoyed one of the night's most well-received ovations with "Doing It To Country Songs," a track from his new If I'm Honest album, which featured The Oak Ridge Boys, who closed out the performance with a chorus of their 1981 million-selling "Elvira." Underwood was in fine form, as always, delivering a flawless performance of her current single "Church Bells." Luke Bryan provided one of the most traditional moments of the evening with "Huntin,' Fishin,' and Lovin' Every Day," while Florida Georgia Line kept the crowd captivated with their current hit "H.O.L.Y." As he usually does, Chris Stapleton left fans wanting more after his "Parachute."
Among the collaborations, the best of the night was Dierks Bentley and Elle King's performance of "Different For Girls," while the melodic combination of Cam and Fifth Harmony was one to remember, as well. Keith Urban paired up with his touring mates, Brett Eldredge and Maren Morris on "Wasted Time," which showed how Morris' confidence continues to grow -- and how Eldredge is one step closer to the "A-List."
The night was hosted by Fox Sports personality Erin Andrews and Houston Texans' defensive standout J.J. Watt, who kept the tone light and funny, particularly with an opening sequence that included Florida Georgia Line, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Kellie Pickler.