NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kenny Chesney took home his third straight entertainer of the year trophy Wednesday night at the CMA Awards.
It was the only trophy that he won — he was nominated for seven. But it was the biggest of the night.
He tied Garth Brooks for most wins in that category.
George Strait won single and album of the year in a ceremony highlighted by a lavish performance by Taylor Swift, a surprise appearance by rapper Lil Wayne and Reba McEntire's onstage collaboration with Brooks & Dunn on the song she inspired, Cowgirls Don't Cry.
Strait, wearing a black suit and cowboy hat, thanked the songwriters for "letting me sing such a beautiful song" after the poignant I Saw God Today won single of the year. He later won album of the year for Troubadour.
Also winning two awards was Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. Sugarland won the award for duo of the year, and earlier, Nettles won song of the year for Sugarland's hit Stay.
"I love writing songs," said Nettles as she accepted her trophy. "It's just been a gift from the beginning and been a gift to write and I hope it's been a gift and touched your heart."
Rascal Flatts won its sixth straight vocal group of the year award. Lady Antebellum, a trio that is one of country music's most promising acts, won best new artist.
Kid Rock performed his hit All Summer Long. Brad Paisley and Keith Urban opened the show with dueling guitars as they performed their duet, Start a Band. Paisley did double duty, also hosting the show with fellow nominee Carrie Underwood.