NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Blake Shelton captured album of the year, Miranda Lambert won female vocalist of the year and Taylor Swift was honored with the Pinnacle award for her achievements, but it was George Strait who won the night's top honor at the Country Music Awards — entertainer of the year.
Strait, who is retiring from the road, nabbed his third trophy in the category but hadn't won the prestigious award since 1990.
He capped a night where there was no clear favorite. Shelton, Swift, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line won two awards each.
But Shelton won the other big award of the night — album of the year for Based on a True Story — besides grabbing male vocalist of the year, his fourth time winning the latter award.
Lambert, his wife, also won her fourth straight female vocalist of the year award.
"I really didn't think this was going to happen this year," Lambert said before thanking each of the other nominees.
The husband and wife have been favorites of the CMA's 6,000 voters for the last three years and Wednesday as no different,
Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley scored single and vocal duo of the year. Their quick tally was more proof the so-called bro country movement is the sound of the moment in mainstream country. FGL kicked off the show performing a fist-pumping medley with Luke Bryan, and very quickly returned to the stage to take the trophy for single of the year for their Cruise remix featuring Nelly. They also played the new song Round Here.
Kacey Musgraves — who, along with Taylor Swift, led all nominees with six — won the new artist trophy, besting a field that included Florida Georgia Line. With smart songwriting, a progressive bent and a strong sense of self like country's other top women, Musgraves made an auspicious mainstream country debut this year with her album Same Trailer Different Park.
Lee Brice's I'd Drive Your Truck, about a fallen soldier whose father still drives his truck, won song of the year, and Little Big Town took its second straight vocal group of the year.