Lainey Wilson, the 31-year-old Louisiana singer, owned the stage at the 2023 Country Music Association Awards. She walked away with five trophies, including the Entertainer of the Year award. Her fiery rendition of “Wildflowers and Wild Horses” indeed lit up the arena. Wilson’s emotional acceptance speech was a true reflection of her dedication to her craft. Through tears, she 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.”
Aside from Lainey Wilson, the night was also a triumph for rapper-turned-singer Jelly Roll, who added to his list of accolades by winning the Best New Artist award.
Roll’s performance, featuring a surprise guest appearance by Wynonna Judd, wowed the audience and showcased the diversity of talent at the CMA Awards. Luke Combs, a familiar name in the country music world, clinched the Single of the Year award for his soulful cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.” In a surprising twist, Chapman herself emerged as the winner of the Song of the Year award for the original tune, marking a special moment for the acclaimed artist and her timeless music.
The evening also featured a musical tribute to the legendary Jimmy Buffett, with performances by Kenny Chesney, the Zac Brown Band, Alan Jackson, and Mac McAnally. The medley of Buffett’s hits brought a beach party vibe to the arena. The CMA Awards continued the tradition of honoring industry stalwarts, with Chris Stapleton winning male vocalist of the year, Old Dominion securing vocal group of the year, and Brothers Osborne claiming duo of the year.
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