Updated: June 10, 2010 — 1:30 a.m. ET
Carrie Underwood won in two categories to emerge as the big winner at the 2010 CMT Music Awards telecast live Wednesday night (June 9) from the Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville. Brooks & Dunn, Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Trace Adkins and video director Shaun Silva were also winners in the fan-voted awards show.
And host Kid Rock proved to be a genial, articulate host who pushed the show’s traditional boundaries without ever going too far. Well, he did display some minor signs of alcohol consumption by the end of the show. And the fire marshals probably didn’t take kindly to the cigar he smoked onstage. But didn’t everyone expect that from Kid Rock?
Underwood won the top prize of the evening — the video of the year award — for “Cowboy Casanova.” She also grabbed the CMT performance of the year video for a live version of “Temporary Home” featured on CMT’s concert series, Invitation Only.
The video of the year award was determined by fan voting on CMT.com after the field was reduced to five final nominees at the beginning of the telecast. The other finalists were Toby Keith’s “American Ride,” Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” Miranda Lambert’s “White Liar” and Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me.”
“Awesome fans,” Underwood said in accepting the video of the year trophy. “Awesome, awesome, amazing, awesome.” After thanking several of her business associates, she added, “Just the fans. Thanks for seeing me out on the tour. God bless you guys. You are the best.”
Kix Brooks walked onstage without his musical partner and offered the most surprising speech of the evening when he accepted the duo video award for Brooks & Dunn’s “Indian Summer.” He and Ronnie Dunn are currently on their last tour together after last year’s announcement that they’re splitting up.
“We were very much not expecting this,” Brooks joked. “We were not expecting this so much that Mr. Dunn has gone to the restroom — in Santa Fe, N.M. … If you think I’m bringing you this award, Ronnie, you’re crazy, man. This is just the kind of thing that will make ’em think we’re breaking up the duo.”
In the backstage pressroom, Brooks told reporters he didn’t know where Dunn was. The last he heard, Dunn planned to be at his house in New Mexico.
Other winners included Lady Antebellum (group video for “Need You Now”), Miranda Lambert (female video for “White Liar”) and Urban (male video for “’Til Summer Comes Around” ). Shelton and Adkins shared the collaborative video award for “Hillbilly Bone,” and Bryan won the USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year award for “Do I.” Silva was named video director of the year for his work on Kenny Chesney’s “Out Last Night” and Rascal Flatts’ “Summer Nights.” Chris Young became the recipient of the Nationwide Insurance On Your Side award dedicated to new artists.
Early in the show, Kid Rock made a reference to Taylor Swift’s plight at the MTV Music Awards when another entertainer commandeered the microphone. Just before Swift and Faith Hill arrived onstage to present the group video award, he indicated that he and Hank Williams Jr. strongly discouraged a repeat of the MTV Awards debacle.
“Just to be forewarned,” he told the audience. “If there’re any, like, Kanye West-ism going on, I’m about to bring out two beautiful ladies. Anyone thinking about grabbing a mic, myself or Bochephus will personally punch you in the mouth. Maybe I can get Trace Adkins … and then your weekend is really messed up.”
Kid Rock and an all-star cast of friends opened the show with an explosive medley that included his “Bawitdaba” and “Cowboy” and Waylon Jennings’ “Theme From The Dukes of Hazard (Good Ol’ Boys).” Participating in the medley were an unlikely lineup featuring Martina McBride, Kellie Pickler, Trace Adkins, Randy Houser, Zac Brown, Jamey Johnson and Hank Williams Jr.
Three other collaborations were particularly noteworthy, including Keith Urban and John Mayer’s work on Urban’s “Hit the Ground Runnin’,” which they also taped recently for an upcoming episode of CMT Crossroads. The two musicians seemed to bring out the best in one another, especially during their guitar solos.
Little Big Town provided background vocals when Jamey Johnson previewed “Back to Macon” from his new album, The Guitar Shop, set for release in September. And while he wasn’t as prominently featured, country veteran John Anderson could be seen playing electric guitar as LeAnn Rimes introduced a new and faster version of his 1983 hit, “Swingin’.” The song will be included on Rimes’ upcoming album.
Other performances included Lambert’s “White Liar,” Tim McGraw’s “Southern Voice,” Brad Paisley’s “American Saturday Night,” Toby Keith’s “American Ride,” the Zac Brown Band’s “Free” and Underwood’s “Undo It.” Lady Antebellum closed the show with “Stars Tonight,” the song they’ve been using to open their concerts.
Thanks to some prominent celebrities from New York and Hollywood, there was no shortage of comedy during the awards show, although some of the country artists appeared to be rather puzzled when Saturday Night Live’s Kenan Thompson showed up onstage in a red wig and green dress, proclaiming, “I’m Reba!” The joke was based upon an SNL film short featuring Thompson as a cross-dressing Reba McEntire impersonator and cast member Andy Samberg as the object of his/her affections. In addition to demonstrating her sense of humor and ability to laugh at herself, McEntire proved her skills as a comedienne by walking onstage Wednesday night and causing Thompson to restrain his laughter as he looked at her.
A prerecorded segment featured Adam Sandler and other cast members in his new film, Grown Ups. As Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James and David Spade discussed their love of country musicians to determine who would represent them at the CMT Music Awards, Spade won by playing his trump card — his starring role as a mullet-haired redneck in the 2001 film, Joe Dirt.
Spade then arrived onstage in Nashville and was met by Kid Rock, who told him he would be introducing Jamey Johnson’s performance. Claiming he had been told he would be introducing Carrie Underwood, instead, Spade said, “I didn’t fly in a puddle-jumper from Little Rock to introduce the dude who looks like an extra on Ice Truckers.”
Other presenters Wednesday night included McBride, Pickler, Shelton, the Zac Brown Band, Laura Bell Bundy, Sheryl Crow, Gloriana, Taylor Swift, Trisha Yearwood, actor Luke Wilson, TV personality Paula Deen, American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi, NFL great Terrell Owens, actress Hayden Panettiere, NASCAR legend Richard Petty and actress Jada Pinkett Smith. Awards were also presented by Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino from MTV’s Jersey Shore and Dancing With the Stars finalists Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
There were serious moments, too, such as Urban’s comment about the problems facing residents of the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of the BP oil spill.
“In the midst of all this tonight, I want to send my deepest love and prayers out to all the families around the gulf who are going through an insane time right now,” Urban said while accepting his award. “We’ve never seen anything like it — emotions I can’t even find words for while I watch this happening on TV.”
Kid Rock closed the show with a personal tribute to Music City.
“I’d like to thank the people in Nashville and all the country stars that have welcomed me into their home,” he said. “They’ve shown me a lot of love. I hope they feel the love back that I have for each and every one of you. I really enjoy being down here and being part of your scene. To all the people that are watching around the world, I hope you come on down to Nashville. This is an incredible town, a city with amazing music [and] amazing people.”
He also offered an observation about the power of music.
“As a music lover, if it looks good you’ll see it,” he said. “If it sounds good, you’ll hear it. If it’s marketed right, you’ll buy it. But if it’s real, you’ll feel it.”Check out videos and additional coverage from the 2010 CMT Music Awards.