Carrie, Chris and Keith steal the show at the Country Music Awards

Carrie, Chris and Keith steal the show at the Country Music Awards

The 51-year-old was supported by wife Nicole Kidman, who proudly watched from the audience, as he became teary while accepting the Entertainer of the Year award.

Chris Stapleton, seen at left performing with Maren Morris, was the night's biggest victor.

ABC dominated Wednesday night, topping all six half hours in total viewers and in the demo, with its three- hour telecast of The 52nd Annual CMA Awards (2.1 demo rating, 10.1 million viewers) which was the night's No. 1 TV program.

Stapleton walked in as the leading nominee with five, including a bid for entertainer of the year, where he will compete with Bryan, Aldean, Chesney and Urban.

"I wish my dad was alive to see this", the Australian performer said.

"Thank you God. I have been blessed with so much in my life", she said.

He was referring to the 12 people who were killed at a Southern California country music bar last week - who were also honored at the top of the show held at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.

"Tonight let's celebrate their lives".

Besides an array of estimable side men, Skaggs tapped into the elastic talents of Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Marty Stuart and bluegrass diva Sierra Hull. "Let the music unite us with love", Brooks said.

This was the "Never Comin' Down" singer and 2019 Taste of Country Music Festival headliner's second Entertainer of the Year win, following a win after his first-ever EOTY nomination in 2005.

On the younger end, Kelsea Ballerini, 25, performed her defiant dance-pop ode to female empowerment, Miss Me More. And I think probably most people think, "Oh, she's probably heard it".

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