Can Brown and Katelyn Brown’s touching duet about finding the one who holds the hearts of the CMT Music Awards.
The married couple’s hit “Thank God” was named Video of the Year on Sunday and broke Carrie Underwood‘s four-year winning streak to collect the top prize.
“This is all so new to me and when we recorded this song a year ago I never in my life thought this would happen,” said Katelyn Brown on stage and kissed Kane Brown afterwards.
“I want to say a big thank you to my wonderful husband. I love you. This is so special that we get to share this together every night.”
“Thank God”, which they performed during the three-hour show, reached No. 1 on country radio and peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, Kane Brown’s highest position on the all-genre chart. The song has also introduced the music world to its singer wife.
Kane Brown also gave a shout-out to the director of the video, Alex Alvga, who is from Barcelona.
“He’s making the American dream come true,” said the singer.
Underwood, who attended and performed on the fan-voted show, is the most decorated act in CMT history with 25 wins. She has won video of the year 10 times, including 2019-22.
Kane Brown hosted the show for the third time with Kelsea Ballerini, who kicked off the event with a tribute to the six victims who died last week at The Covenant School in Nashville. The country singer also told the audience about her high school classmate who “lost his life to a gun in our cafeteria.”
“Tonight’s broadcast is dedicated to the ever-growing list of families, friends, survivors, witnesses and aid workers whose lives are forever changed by gun violence. I deeply pray that the connection and community we feel through the next few hours of music can quickly turn into real action that moves us forward together to create change for the safety of our children and our loved ones,” she said.
Ballerini also took the stage to perform “If You Go Down (I’m Going Down Too)” alongside several drag stars of the hit TV series RuPaul’s Drag Race — as states across the country consider legally restricting drag show performances.
The night was filled with more moving and serious moments, as well as fun and upbeat performances from country music’s top stars.
Shaina Twain earned the CMT Equal Play Award and was introduced by Grammy-winning rapper and Texas resident Megan Thee Stallionwho dubbed the icon “hot-girl Shania.”
“I believe in an all-inclusive country music family. This is a genre of music with a rich history that has nurtured and nurtured my own songwriting and performing and recording career since childhood. Currently, the industry standard does this a disservice. Now let’s – the country music industry – do our part to close the gap and provide an equal workspace for all talent,” she said. “I will continue to do my best as a pioneer and let’s work together to ensure that all our fellow artists get a level playing field, regardless of gender, age or race.”
Lane Wilsonwho was the top nominated act with four won two awards, including female video of the year for “Heart Like a Truck” and joint video of the year for “wait in the truck”, her song with Hardy.
Wilson spoke about women’s empowerment and perseverance as she accepted the previous award, presented to her by Twain, who hugged her onstage with a warm hug.
“This song here is about finding freedom and strength. It’s about not being afraid of scratches, dents and bumps along the way,” she said. “I am so proud of this music video. It was filmed, produced, written and directed by all women.”
The awards ceremony – first broadcast from Austin – featured a number of joint performances and tributes, and Wynonna Judd sparkled on stage as she performed Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is” with Ashley McBryde.
“Mommy, you have to be here tonight,” she said, looking up and honoring Naomi Judd. “I miss you and I love you.”
Alanis Morrisette was joined by Wilson, Ingrid Andress, Madeline Edwards and Morgan Wade to celebrate the 10th anniversary of CMT’s “Next Women of Country”. Billy Gibbons, Chuck Leavell, Cody Johnson, Paul Rodgers, Slash, Warren Haynes, LeAnn Rimes and Judd honored Lynyrd Skynyrd, including the late guitarist Gary Rossington, and celebrated the 50th anniversary of the rock band’s debut album.
Gwen Stephani and Carly Pearce joined forces to sing No Doubt’s “Just a Girl,” while Darius Rucker and The Black Crowes teamed up onstage. Other performers Sunday included Blake SheltonKeith Urban, Tyler Hubbard and Gary Clark Jr., who performed “The House Is Rockin'” as a tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Jelly Rollwho also performed was the big winner of the night with three awards including male video of the year, groundbreaking male video of the year and the CMT digital-first performance of the year.
Other Sunday winners included Zac Brown Band (Group/Duo Video of the Year); Cody Johnson (CMT Performance of the Year); and Megan Moroney (Breakthrough Female Video of the Year).