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Morris and Church among big winners at Country Music Awards

Morris and Church among big winners at Country Music Awards

CMA Awards-Hosts

This combination photo shows Darius Rucker performing on NBC's "Today" show in New York on May 25, 2018, left, and Reba McEntire at the 54th annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas on April 7, 2019. McEntire and Rucker were the hosts of the CMA Awards.

The 54th annual Country Music Association Awards drew some of country music's biggest stars to Nashville's Music City Center Wednesday night.

Presiding as hosts of the "live" but socially distanced version of the show were Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish fame. Guests sat at tables six or more feet apart for the show that honors excellence in the Country genre.

Live tribute performances were a highlight at this year's show. The opening number proved a perfect beginning to the event as it honored the late Charlie Daniels, who died in July. Paying tribute to Daniels by performing some of his songs were Dierks Bentley, Brothers Osborne, Ashley McBryde and Jason Aldean.

During the show, Old Dominion helped mark the 40th anniversary of the film "Urban Cowboy" by performing "Lookin' for Love," a hit song from the movie.

Other tributes and special honors were homage to Kenny Rogers by Little Big Town, who performed "Sweet Music Man" as well as tributes to Mac Davis and Joe Diffie.

The legendary Charlie Pride received the 2020 Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the event.  Pride, who helped pave the way for Black artists in the Country genre, told the audience he loved getting the award and appreciates all that God has given him.

A variety pf performances took the spotlight during the show including Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber performing "10,000 Hours" and Maren Morris performing "The Bones."

Among the show's award winners were Eric Church for Entertainer of the Year.

Although Church said this year was about "loss," he said the "win" in getting the award was knowing that "it's going to be music that brings us out of this. That is the one thing that is going to save the entire world."

Other winners included Maren Morris for Female Vocalist of the Year, Single of the Year and Song of the Year; Morgan Wallen for New Artist of the Year; and Luke Combs for Male Vocalist of the Year.

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Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.

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