George Strait wins Entertainer of the Year at the 2013 CMA Awards. Photo courtesy of the CMA.
The 47th Annual CMA Awards is country music’s biggest night and this year’s show was bigger than ever with all-star collaborations, a heartfelt tribute to a country music legend lost earlier this year and big wins by newcomers and legends alike. In no particular order, here are our Top 10 Moments from this year’s CMA Awards:
George Strait Wins Entertainer of the Year
As George Strait prepares to embark on the final leg of tour dates in early 2014 on his The Cowboy Rides Away Tour, he took home the night’s top honor, being named Entertainer of the Year. It’s a trophy he’s been nominated for 18 times and won in 1989 and 1990. George was visibly surprised to hear his name called and took a moment to collect himself before walking to the stage while his fellow country stars celebrated around him.
“I never in a million years… Thank you so much,” George said as he accepted his award. “This blows me away. I cannot believe it. I’m just thrilled to even be nominated again.”
See photos from the 2013 CMA Awards >>
George Jones Tribute
Country music suffered the loss of a legend earlier this year when George Jones passed away at the age of 81. In an emotional tribute, living legends Alan Jackson and George Strait took the stage to perform George Jones’ signature hit, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” largely revered as the best country song ever written. As the song wrapped, Vince Gill was seen hugging George’s widow Nancy as she cried in her seat.
Taylor Swift’s Pinnacle Award
At only 23, Taylor Swift received the Pinnacle Award, an honor bestowed on an artist who has reached levels of national and international success unique to country music. She was serenaded with her song “You Belong With Me” by Nashville’s Lennon and Maisy before the award was presented to her by Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, George Strait and Keith Urban, all artists she had opened for on tour as a teenager.
Taylor personally thanked each artist, sharing memories and earning a chuckle from the audience as she recalled getting to open for Rascal Flatts because “Eric Church got fired for playing too long.” She also thanked the CMA for choosing her as the award’s recipient. “You are not only rewarding my hard work and exhaustion,” she said, “but my family and my label and anyone who works with me and the fans who fill stadiums.” Continue Reading