Country music's best and brightest may not have captured any of the night's top trophies at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, but they were in the spotlight for many of the night's most memorable moments.
"The Daily Show" host and comedian Trevor Noah returned to emcee the star-studded affair following his successful run at the 2021 Grammys.
"Music's Biggest Night" was previously scheduled to take place on January 31 in Los Angeles. However, due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, the Recording Academy postponed the prestigious ceremony.
The pitch-perfect evening was worth the wait, as musicians brought their A-game with fearless fashion statements, served groundbreaking performances and delivered emotional acceptance speeches.
Ahead of the legendary affair, country star and best new artist nominee Jimmie Allen performed during the "premiere ceremony" at the MGM Grand Conference Marquee Ballroom alongside Americana singer Allison Russell. A handful of country music stars took center stage throughout the night, such as Chris Stapleton, Carrie Underwood, Brandi Carlile, and Brothers Osborne. Australian hitmaker Keith Urban and powerhouse vocalist Kelsea Ballerini made a grand appearance as presenters as well.
Chris Stapleton and Mickey Guyton rolled into the affair with the most (3) nominations under their belt in country categories. Kacey Musgraves, Brothers Osborne, Miranda Lambert, and Sturgill Simpson were trailing close behind, with two nominations each. While icons Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson scored placement within the Best Traditional Pop Vocal category, Carrie Underwood snagged a nomination for Best Roots Gospel Album with her critically acclaimed collection, "My Savior." Underwood also nabbed a nomination for "If I Didn't Love You." In the meantime, trailblazer Brandi Carlile casually stepped under the spotlight as the first female to be nominated for two tracks in the Song of the Year category in the same year.
Before the show aired on CBS, Chris Stapleton won Best Country Solo Performance with "You Should Probably Leave." Shortly after taking home the win, he grabbed another Grammy Award for single "Cold" under the Country Song category and Country Album of the Year for "Starting Over" – making him an 8x Grammy Award-winner. While dressed to the nines, Brothers Osborne won their first-ever Grammy with "Younger Me" in the Best Country Duo/ Group Performance category.
Although several performers from various genres were honored at the 2022 Grammy Awards, fan-favorite musicians within country music scene shined through and brought the party to new heights with their honky tonk flair.
If you missed the 64th Annual Grammy Awards, don't sweat it! CMT carefully collected the hottest country moments from the electric evening.
1. Brandi Carlile wowed with her acrobatic vocals
Singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile stepped onto the red carpet wearing an eye-catching customized BOSS suit set. The ensemble that weighed a whopping 40 lbs. was designed with rainbow-colored gemstones and hand-cut crystals.
“I’m finally morphing into Elton John,” Carlile mentioned to Laverne Cox on E!’s Live from the Red Carpet. “Which is my dream since day one,” she laughed.
The hitmaker walked into “Music’s Biggest Night,” interlocked with wife Catherine Shepherd and with five nominations. The multi-platinum artist broke a record as a female in the Song of the Year category, as she was nominated for “A Beautiful Noise” with Alicia Keys and “Right on Time.”
Living legends Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt introduced Carlile to the stage to perform her 2021 ballad, “Right on Time.” Without any bells or whistles – Carlile played the grand piano while backing her wide vocal range. The country-rock star also strummed the electric guitar, showcasing that she’s a multi-fascinated instrumentalist. The performance received a standing ovation and thunderous applause.
2. Brothers Osborne Wins First-Ever Grammy Award
Brothers Osborne took home their first-ever Grammy Award early Sunday, (April 3) for their deeply personal, “Younger Me.”
T.J. and John Osborne took the podium to accept the accolade for Best Country Duo/ Group Performance and delivered a tear-jerking acceptance speech. Following John’s emotional speech, T.J. took the mic to share the inspiration behind the heavy lyrics of “Younger Me.”
“I never thought I’d be able to do music professionally because of my sexuality. I certainly never thought I would be here on this stage accepting a Grammy after having done something I thought was going to be life-changing, potentially in a very negative way,” he uttered with tears in his eyes. “And here I am tonight, not only accepting a Grammy Award with my brother, which I love very much, but I’m here with a man who I love, and who loves me back. I don’t know what I did to get so lucky,” he added.
The award-winning duo won in a highly competitive category, as they scored the honor over Carrie Underwood and Jason Aldean, Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd, Miranda Lambert and Elle King, and Dan + Shay. Following the big win, they took to the red carpet to speak with E!’s Laverne Cox. During the conversation, they addressed fans struggling with their sexual identity.
“I can just be like: ‘Man, you’re going to be okay. Whatever you’re going through in your life, you’re going to be happy, and you’re going to love who you are, and people are going to support you,’” T.J. shared. “I just won a Grammy Award as an openly gay man! It’s incredible. I did not ever think this was going to happen, and it has!”
3. Kelsea Ballerini Teased New Music And Gushed Over Taylor Swift
Country music vocalist Kelsea Ballerini took to the red carpet in a flawless Raisa Vanessa black gown embellished with a massive bow. The "Hole In The Bottle" singer told E! that the look was initially designed for the 2022 Academy of Country Music Awards, but she decided it was Grammy-worthy. While dishing on her sophisticated look, Ballerini declared that she has a new single coming out this Thursday, (April 7). The songstress revealed that the track's name is "HEARTFIRST," and mentioned that it is a "bop" and "breezy."
"I feel like she constantly makes people proud, whether you know her or not," Ballerini said. "She's always just advocating for change and moving everything forward for everyone," she added.
Before Ballerini left the carpet to present Best Country Album alongside Anthony Mackie, she rubbed elbows with Korean boyband BTS.
Kelsea Ballerini and Anthony Mackie will be hosting the 2022 CMT Music Awards live from Nashville on Monday, April 11. While Ballerini will return to the CMT stage to host for the second consecutive year, the upcoming ceremony will mark "The Avengers" star's first time co-hosting the must-watch affair.
4. Chris Stapleton Blows Fans Away With “Cold”
Country icon Chris Stapleton delivered a powerful performance of fan-favorite hit, “Cold.” The moving melody that lives on his Grammy-Award-winning LP, “Starting Over,” received recognition earlier in the night and scored Best Country Song.
The country crooner sang the soulful single alongside smoky-like drum beats with an electric guitar wrapped around his neck. As blue lights consumed the stage, Stapleton’s vocals were backed by a live orchestra and his band, The Honchos. Between verses, Stapleton displayed his impressive guitar skills with ear-grabbing riffs. Stapleton’s immaculate arrangement proves why he is one of the most decorated musicians at the 64th Grammy Awards.
5. Chris Stapleton Makes Unifying Acceptance Speech
Chris Stapleton scored Best Country Album of the Year at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards for his chart-topping record, "Starting Over." When the 43-year-old hitmaker took center stage to accept the prestigious accolade, he touched upon the big and even small moments in life he had to give up to pursue his artistry.
While holding the iconic golden gramophone in hand, Stapleton wished his twin sons a happy birthday.
"I'm thinking a lot about sacrifices, cause I missed out on some of their birthday today," shared the father of five. "Everybody in this room has made some kind of sacrifice to be up here doing this, and I don't know what it is for everybody, but I know that it hurts sometimes. But hopefully, we're all doing it, so we make the world a better place, and the people that live in it will love each other and have a good time together and come together. So thank you so much for this award," he added.
6. Carrie Underwood Premieres New Single, "Ghost Story"
Powerhouse vocalist Carrie Underwood dominated the Grammy stage and premiered recent track, “Ghost Story.” Dressed in a goddess-like purple ensemble, the multi-platinum star delivered the revenge banger penned by Josh Kear, Hillary Lindsey, and David Garcia.
While Underwood belted lyrics of the thrilling track, smoke filled the stage, and her statement train fluttered in the air – producing a dramatic performance. 2013 was the last time the country superstar took the Grammy stage. Underwood was nominated for Best Country Duo/ Group and Best Roots Gospel Album.
Underwood is now an eight-time Grammy winner, as she scored the prestigious accolade in the Best Roots Gospel Album category for her 13-piece project, “My Savior.” Breakout star Jimmie Allen crowned Underwood the winner at the Grammys “Premiere Ceremony,” but the singer-songwriter was not in attendance to physically accept the honor. The faith-based collection was released in 2021 and includes renditions of recognizable hymns.
7. Brothers Osborne Delivers Jaw-Dropping Performance Of “Dead Man’s Curve”
T.J. and John Osborne closed out the 64th Annual Grammy Awards with a show-stopping performance of their country-rock hit, “Dead Man’s Curve.”
With a golden gramophone in their corner, the two brought the heat to the legendary stage by shredding their electric guitars. Their contagious vocals and unstoppable stage presence made the live audience rise from their seats to dance the night away.