For the ninth time in she career and also the eighth due to the fact that 2010, Underwood score the height prize — video of the Year — at the yearly CMT Music Awards. Winning because that "Hallelujah," her john Legend collaboration, she accepted the trophy Wednesday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, where the display returned a year ~ COVID-19 derailed "normal" award ceremonies. 

In her accept speech, Underwood praised the voters — country music fans. 

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"Fans, give thanks to you therefore much, fans," Underwood claimed in agree the fan-voted award. "You"re the reason that we are all here, act what us do, doing what we love. Making music videos." 

What else went down throughout the show? review along for optimal moments, indigenous all-star collaborations come a unsung nation legend acquiring her due and also trips to the Bonnaroo farm. 

Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini and also Gabby Barrett 

Underwood wasn"t the only one who had reason to laugh at Bridgestone Arena. Co-host Kane Brown left downtown Nashville together the year"s winningest CMT Music Awards artists. 

Brown won Male video of the Year because that his single "Worship You" and also Collaborative video clip of the Year for kris Young duet "Famous Friends." 

“This is the most nervous i have been every night,” Brown stated as he picked up his prize because that Male video of the Year.

The 27-year-old centered his speech on family members – not just his wife, Katelyn Jae, and their daughter, Kingsley Rose, but additionally “my family that works for me, everyone in country music, and all the fans.”

First-time co-host Kelsea Ballerini also became a first-time CMT winner. Her participation with pop star Halsey on critical year’s display – “The other Girl” – was named CMT power of the Year.

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“After this performance last year, there to be a the majority of chatter (about) divide what genre that track did or didn"t fit into,” Ballerini claimed from the stage. “And the truth that girlfriend voted this together the winning performance tells me that you recognize where my root are, and that you recognize who i am. It additionally tells me the you hear music together music. … you love when civilization push boundaries and also explore their artistry. And as i make a brand-new record, that method the absolute people to me.”

Country newcomer and also "American Idol" alumna Gabby Barrett joined the wave of leading award recipients, earning Female video of the Year for "The an excellent Ones." 

Linda Martell gets her due 

Trailblazing 80-year-old Linda Martell — who in 1969 was the very first solo black color woman to sing at the grand Ole Opry — earned lengthy overdue recognition when CMT awarded her the annual Equal play Award. 

In 1970, Martell released she debut album, "Color Me Country," consisting of lead single "Color him Father" — which peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard Hot nation Songs chart, the highest-charting location by a black color woman in graph history.

But her time in the spotlight to be short-lived. Dealing with systemic racism, Martell retired from the country music service by the mid-1970s. 

Although under-recognized, Martell hasn"t to be forgotten. Country music"s new wave of black artists — including Mickey Guyton and Brown — have actually sung she praises, and also Rissi Palmer named her to apologize Music nation show "Color Me Country" in her honor. 

The show honored Martell through a video clip montage special Palmer, Underwood, Rhiannon Giddens, Darius Rucker and inaugural same Play recipient Jennifer Nettles; Guyton gift the compensation to Martell, who accepted it earlier this mainly from south Carolina. 

"Hearing Linda sing makes it really clear the she had actually all the talent to be a substantial star, yet her career to be cut brief for simply one reason: the shade of she skin," Guyton said, adding: "Equal play is vital so the next generation of women, favor Linda, can thrive in this industry." 

Guyton continued, "I would not it is in standing here today there is no you, and none of united state would be below without you. So say thanks to you, thank you, give thanks to you." 

H.E.R. Slays through Chris Stapleton 

Collaborations took facility stage as country music crossed right into rock, pop and also soul during Wednesday night"s show. 

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter H.E.R. Enlisted kris Stapleton for a standout take on the former"s song "Hold On" that experienced the artists swapping guitar licks and sharing present in the soaring chorus. 

Earlier in the show, Ballerini and also Paul Klein the alt-rock outfit LANY shared a television debut the duet "I Quit Drinking." Guyton joined newcomer Breland for a take it on his single "Cross Country" prior to welcoming empress of heart Gladys knight to sing "Friendship Train," a display highlight. 

And, that course, country artists collided on stage. Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and also Jon Randall took viewers campside for a shooting of "Tequila Does"; the broadcast traveled come Harlinsdale Park in Franklin for "Getting over Him" v Lauren Alaina and also Jon Pardi; and Young join Brown to close the display with "Famous Friends." 

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Down ~ above The Farm 

Like critical year, the CMT Music Awards take it viewers top top a musical expedition through center Tennessee — including a grasp of performances native the an excellent Stage Park, AKA the Bonnaroo Farm, in Manchester. 

Drone footage verified off the expansive farm yard as chris Stapleton perform a roaring rendition the 2020 track "Arkansas." The display returned to Manchester because that a brothers Osborne and Dierks Bentley teamwork of the latter"s laid earlier jam "Lighten Up" (complete with a stage full of "Roo memorabilia) prior to taking a final trip to Coffee County because that a teamwork with Underwood and Christian outfit NEEDTOBREATHE. 

Around Nashville, the present took viewers atop fifth + Broadway for performances from Luke Combs and Luke Bryan, respectively, and Midtown rooftop bar White Limozeen for a memorable "Lady Like"/"Like That" medley from Ingrid Andress and also pop artist JP Saxe. 

Taylor Swift"s off-camera win 

Quiz time, Swifties: once did Taylor Swift last win a CMT Music Award? 

Answer: In 2011, she won video of the Year for her "Speak Now"-era single "Mine" (who rather remembers Swift to sing in a forest of memories throughout the video? Throwback!).

Swift returned to the winner"s column — albeit virtually — Wednesday night, earning the "Best household Feature" award for she endearing residence footage video clip “The ideal Day (Taylor’s Version)." pan voted for the category via society media, and CMT announced a winner Wednesday online before the show.