CMA Awards: Lainey Wilson wins top awards including Entertainer of the Year

The 2023 Country Music Association Awards unfolded at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena with an atmosphere of anticipation and excitement. Lainey Wilson, the 31-year-old Louisiana-born sensation, emerged as the undisputed star of the night, clinching five prestigious trophies, including the coveted Entertainer of the Year. Lainey Wilson’s triumphs extended to Female Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year for “Bell Bottom Country.” Her electric performance of “Wildflowers and Wild Horses” resonated with the spirit of classic Hollywood Westerns, showcasing her versatility and stage presence.

The evening marked a crowning achievement for Lainey Wilson, who came into the awards ceremony as the top nominee with nine nods. Winning the Entertainer of the Year title was a poignant moment for the artist who, through tears, expressed, “This is all I’ve ever wanted to do, it’s the only thing I know how to do.

It finally feels like country music is starting to love me back.”Lainey Wilson’s emotional journey and dedication to her craft endeared her to the country music community, solidifying her status as a rising star. Rapper-turned-singer Jelly Roll also claimed his share of the spotlight, opening the show with a spirited performance of his hit “Need a Favor” alongside surprise guest Wynonna Judd.

Lainey Wilson
The 31-year-old singer from Louisiana was the undisputed star of the evening at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. She won album of the year for “Bell Bottom Country,” was named female vocalist of the year, and performed a fiery version of her song “Wildflowers and Wild Horses” that looked like it was taken straight out of a classic Hollywood Western.

“This is all I know how to do and all I’ve ever wanted to do.” Lainey Wilson accepted the Performer of the Year award while crying. “I feel like I’m finally being loved back by country music.”

With nine nominations, Lainey Wilson entered the evening as the top nominee. She had already taken home one prize, though, when she and HARDY were announced the winners of the musical event of the year for their song “Wait in the Truck,” even before the ABC program began.

Additionally, it was a significant night for singer-turned-rapper Jelly Roll in Nashville, who won the CMT Music Awards earlier this year.

Along with surprise guest Wynonna Judd, he performed his smash song “Need a Favor” to start the evening. They then sang a duet of “Love Can Build A Bridge,” Judd’s iconic ballad with her late mother Naomi, with K. Michelle.

Jelly Roll won Best New Artist in between.

Speaking from the podium, he stated, “There is something poetic about a 39-year-old man winning new artist of the year.” “It matters far more what’s in front of you than what’s behind you.”

Lainey Wilson

Luke Combs, the previous year’s performer of the year, won single of the year on Wednesday night for his rendition of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.” Tracy Chapman unexpectedly won Song of the Year for a song she composed in 1988.

The 33-year-old musician from North Carolina thanked Tracy Chapman for penning one of the best songs ever as he took the trophy. “It was my very first favorite song ever.”

Despite not being present at the ceremony, Chapman, who took home two Grammys in 1989 for “Fast Car,” expressed in a statement how “truly an honor it is for my song to be recognized 35 years after its debut.”

The ceremony was presented by Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning, and it featured a musical homage to the late Jimmy Buffett, featuring Kenny Chesney, the Zac Brown Band, Alan Jackson, and Mac McAnally, who was a longtime member of Buffett’s band.

Lainey Wilson

A beach party was created by the group, which consisted of a mashup of Buffett’s classics, beginning with “A Pirate Looks at Forty” and finishing with “Margaritaville.” Chesney shouted “Thank you Jimmy!” to Buffett, who was always a favorite among country musicians.

Chris Stapleton won Male Vocalist of the Year for the seventh time, Old Dominion won Vocal Group of the Year for the sixth time, and Brothers Osborne won Duet of the Year for the sixth time. These three awards are part of a sequence of CMA traditions that are growing increasingly common.

T.J. Osborne expressed his surprise by saying, “We are shocked, honestly, every year this happens.”

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