Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and other top moments

Carrie Underwood: Queen of the CMT Music Awards

Sounds about right. 

For the ninth time in her career and the eighth since 2010, Underwood scored the top prize — Video of the Year — at the annual CMT Music Awards. Winning for “Hallelujah,” her John Legend collaboration, she accepted the trophy Wednesday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, where the show returned a year after COVID-19 derailed “normal” award ceremonies. 

In her acceptance speech, Underwood praised the voters — country music fans. 

“Fans, thank you so much, fans,” Underwood said in accepting the fan-voted award. “You’re the reason that we are all here, doing what we do, doing what we love. Making music videos.” 

What else went down during the show? Read along for top moments, from all-star collaborations to an unsung country legend getting her due and trips to the Bonnaroo farm. 

More:Here’s why Lindsay Ell showed up to the CMT Music Awards in a big silver cast

CMT Awards 2021 winners list: Carrie Underwood, Gabby Barrett and more take home trophies

Carrie Underwood accepts the award for Video of they Year during the 2021 CMT Music Awards at Bridgstone Arena in Nashville, Tenn, on Wednesday, June 9, 2021.

Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini and Gabby Barrett 

Underwood wasn’t the only one who had reason to smile at Bridgestone Arena. Co-host Kane Brown left downtown Nashville as the year’s winningest CMT Music Awards artists. 

Brown won Male Video of the Year for his single “Worship You” and Collaborative Video of the Year for Chris Young duet “Famous Friends.” 

“This is the most nervous I’ve been all night,” Brown said as he picked up his prize for Male Video of the Year.

The 27-year-old centered his speech on family – not only his wife, Katelyn Jae, and their daughter, Kingsley Rose, but also “my family that works for me, everybody in country music, and all the fans.”

Kane Brown hosts the 2021 CMT Music Awards at Bridgstone Arena in Nashville, Tenn, on Wednesday, June 9, 2021.

First-time co-host Kelsea Ballerini also became a first-time CMT winner. Her collaboration with pop star Halsey on last year’s show – “The Other Girl” – was named CMT Performance of the Year.

“After this performance last year, there was a lot of chatter (about) categorically what genre that song did or didn’t fit into,” Ballerini said from the stage. “And the fact that you voted this as the winning performance tells me that you know where my roots are, and that you know who I am. It also tells me that you hear music as music. … You love when people push boundaries and explore their artistry. And as I make a new record, that means the absolute world to me.”

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