On Sunday night (May 20), near the end of the Billboard Music Awards broadcast, Sam Hunt picked up the one and only country award given out at the live show.
When he took the stage to accept the award, he was quick to thank the writers of the winning song, “Body Like a Back Road.”
“Real quick let me recognize my co-writers, Zach Crowell, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne,” Hunt said. “My wife, thank you for being so selfless this past year, sacrificing so much for me and our future. To everybody in this room, man, y’all are shaping the culture in this country. It’s a big responsibility.”
Maren Morris, who won top country female artist during the non-televised part of the show, stopped on the red carpet on her way into the MGM Grand Garden Arena to talk about how “The Middle” collaboration with Zedd and Grey came to be.
“I definitely wanted to mark it. That’s my thing. I heard it, and ten seconds in, I was just like, ’How do I be a part of this song?’ So I just sent a demo vocal, and it was a quick ball-rolling once it was going,” Morris explained to E!
The show even started off with a huge win, when the host of the show — Kelly Clarkson — went off script with a heartfelt plea to America to do more about the gun violence that is plaguing the county.
“Before we start tonight’s show, there’s something I’d like to say about the tragedy Friday at Santa Fe High School. Once again, y’all, we’re grieving for more kids who have died for absolutely no reason at all.
“And tonight they wanted me to do a moment of silence,” Clarkson said through her tears. “But I am so sick of the moment of silence. It’s not working. Like obviously.
“So why don’t we not do a moment of silence? Why don’t we do a moment of action? Why don’t we change what’s happening, because it’s horrible? You should be able to live your life without that kind of fear. We need to do better. We are failing our children, we are failing our communities, we are failing our families. I have four children, and I cannot imagine getting that phone call or knock on the door. With tonight, y’all, let’s have a moment of action. Let’s have a moment of change.”
After that emotionally charged appeal, she eased into performance mode when she kicked off one of the show’s opening numbers with a cover of Morris’ “My Church.”
“This is for my Texas girl, Maren,” Clarkson said as she started the song, which seemed to go over very well with Morris, her husband Ryan Hurd and Brett Young, who were all sitting together in the audience.
Here are the country winners:
Top country album: Chris Stapleton From A Room: Volume 1
Top country song: Sam Hunt “Body Like A Back Road”
Top country artist: Chris Stapleton
Top country male artist: Chris Stapleton
Top country female artist: Maren Morris
Top country duo/group artist: Florida Georgia Line
Top country tour: Luke Bryan