Eric Church had a trophy in his hand before the CMA Awards even happened. Taste of Country spread the word that Church and Keith Urban were crowned the winners of the Musical Event of the Year category for their hit “Raise ‘Em Up.” Urban and Church earned their win for the song where they faced off against Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard for “Django and Jimmie,” “Lonely Tonight” from Blake Shelton and Ashley Monroe, Miranda Lambert with Little Big Town on “Smokin’ and Drinkin’” and “Wild Child” from Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter.
Maddie & Tae also claimed an early win for the CMA Awards when they were crowned the winners in the Music Video of the Year category. Maddie & Tae claimed their video award win for “Girl in a Country Song” which came out on top against nominees Little Big Town for “Girl Crush,” Miranda Lambert with “Little Red Wagon,” Carrie Underwood for “Something In The Water” and Kacey Musgraves for “Biscuits.” All four of the winners performed during the show with Urban joining up with John Mellencamp on "Pink Houses" and going solo on "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16."
Church hit the CMA Awards stage to perform for his first time of the night when he kicked off the party by teaming up with Hank Williams Jr. on Neil Young's "Are You Ready for the Country." Church made his way back to the stage to make the live debut of "Mr. Misunderstood" which is featured on his surprise album that was released not long before the show got underway. Church stood under the spotlight and gave fans and audience members a taste of what they could expect from the newly released album which includes 10 tracks that is also titled Mr. Misunderstood.
Check out the full list of CMA Award winners here.