Urban finds redemption, Underwood makes history


By MESFIN FEKADU

AP Music Writer

After walking away empty-handed at the Grammy Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards earlier this year, Keith Urban found redemption at the 2017 CMT Music Awards, picking up four honors including video of the year for “Blue Ain’t Your Color.”

The country star also won male video, collaborative video and social superstar of the year at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn.

“I love making music, I love making videos ... who knows how long you get to do it,” said Urban, who also thanked his fans and his actress-wife Nicole Kidman, who sat in the audience.

“I’m just trying to make a connection,” he said.

Urban also performed, singing his disco-flavored hit “The Fighter” with Carrie Underwood, who continued to dominate as the most awarded act in the history of the CMT Awards with 17 wins.

She won female video of the year for “Church Bells” and collaborative video for “The Fighter.”

“Thank you God for so many incredible blessings that we have in our lives ... we are so grateful and we are so blessed,” said Underwood.

Others paired up for collaborative performances throughout the night. Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker, Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum and Derek Trucks kicked off the show with a rocking tribute to southern rocker Gregg Allman, who died last month at age 69.

Peter Frampton sang outdoors with Brothers Osborne; The Chainsmokers and duo video of the year winners Florida Georgia Line performed the energetic “Last Day Alive,” which was pre-taped Tuesday; and Earth, Wind & Fire partnered with Lady Antebellum to close the awards show.

Luke Bryan and Jason Derulo, who won CMT performance of the year for “Want to Want Me” from their “CMT Crossroads” special, performed the pop song onstage as well as Bryan’s slow groove, “Strip It Down.”

The CMT Awards didn’t only include singers from other genres; Hollywood stars also attended, including Ashton Kutcher.

Jada Pinkett Smith and Katherine Heigl sported pink sunglasses while Miranda Lambert sang “Pink Sunglasses” onstage.

Blake Shelton, Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini also performed during the show.

Little Big Town, who also sang, won group video of the year for “Better Man,” their No. 1 hit that was written by Taylor Swift.

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