CMA Awards 2021 Highlights

The best moments of the CMA Awards including some genre shockers with host Luke Bryan.

Nominee Categories:

Entertainer of the Year

Congratulations to Luke Combs for being named this year’s Entertainer of the Year! Combs was at a loss for words as he clutched his new award and thanked everyone in the room as best he could. “I don’t deserve to win it, but I’m sure as hell glad that I did,” Combs stated in his speech. 2020 was the first time in 20 years two female artists had been nominated for the award in the same year. This continued into the 55th CMA Awards with Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood being nominated for the award once again.

Album of the Year

Album of the Year marks Chris Stapleton’s third win of the night, along with Song of the Year and Single of the Year for his record, Starting Over. Stapleton was up against projects by nominees Carly Pearce, Eric Church, Brothers Osborne, and Morgan Wallen.

Male Vocalist of the Year

Chris Stapleton and Eric Church went head-to-head in yet another category for the 55th CMA Awards, along with nominees Dierks Bentley, Thomas Rhett, and Luke Combs. Stapleton ended up with the win, taking home yet another Male Vocalist of the Year Award, attributing this win to his kids, for putting up with his recent absence as a result of his busy schedule.

Female Vocalist of the Year

With a look of surprise and immense gratitude on her face, Carly Pearce claimed her award for Female Vocalist of the Year for the first time. Struggling to give her speech, Ashley McBryde stepped up to the mic to share a few words for her friend and fellow artist. “There’s a lot of love, respect and admiration in this category,” McBryde shared as she stood on stage next to Pearce.

New Artist of the Year

Wearing his vibrant pink and silver ensemble, New Artist of the Year winner, Jimmie Allen, traded in his dancing shoes for the mic, as he made his way back to the stage after his time as a contestant on “Dancing With The Stars.” This year’s New Artist of the Year nominees included Hardy and Mickey Guyton, for the first time, along with returning nominees, Gabby Barrett, Ingrid Andress, and Jimmie Allen.


Carrie Underwood and Jason Aldean

Longtime friends Carrie Underwood and Jason Aldean performed the world TV premiere of their ballad, “If I Didn’t Love You,” in the midst of a stormy ambiance on stage. This single recently held the top spot at country radio for two weeks in a row.

Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde

Female powerhouses Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde expressed their unapologetic truths during the first performance of “Never Wanted To Be That Girl,” which they penned together, ahead of Pearce’s 29: Written In Stone album. “I love this song so much; I was proud the day we wrote it,” McBryde shared on the red carpet before the show.

Chris Young and Kane Brown

Chris Young and Kane Brown showcased some of their “Famous Friends” in the background during their CMA performance of their #1 hit. Images of Country music stars from their high school yearbooks flashed across the screen with “most likely to…” superlatives, such as Tim McGraw being named the most likely to get a misspelled tattoo and Lady A being named most likely to always be the life of the party. This relatable song that can remind anyone about those special people back in their own hometowns, received three CMA nominations this year.

Dierks Bentley Feat. Breland and HARDY

For his performance of “Beers On Me,” Dierks Bentley shared the stage with two up-and-coming artists, Breland and HARDY, in front of some neon signs and a Route 66 honky tonk set.This was an especially exciting moment for Breland, as he made his CMA debut.

Mickey Guyton feat. Brittney Spencer and Madeline Edwards

Introduced by the inspiration for this song, Faith Fennidy, Mickey Guyton returned to the stage for Country music’s biggest night, with Brittney Spencer and Madeline Edwards by her side. Together, they made history with their performance of Guyton’s single, preaching self-acceptance, “Love My Hair.”

Chris Stapleton and Jennifer Hudson

In a tribute to Aretha Franklin’s country side, Chris Stapleton joined Jennifer Hudson to sing two iconic songs, “Night Life” and “You Are My Sunshine,” earning the best reactions of the night from audience members such as Breland and Keith Urban. Hudson’s CMA debut follows her recent role in Franklin’s biopic, “Respect.” One of the best reactions of the night.

Sign up now and be the first to know about all things Circle!

All fields are required.