Emcee Kid Rock opened the show, held at the Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville, by promising to punch anyone in the face who interrupted acceptance speeches with "Kanye West-isms." That turned out not to be necessary, as country-music fans settled in for an evening of prizes, presenters and performances – including top honors for Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert.
The biggest awards – CMT calls them "Buckles" – of the night went to Underwood, 27, for video of the year ("Cowboy Casanova"), Urban, 42, for male video of the year (" 'Til Summer Comes Around") and Lambert, 26, for female video of the year ("White Liar").
Urban gave the most poignant acceptance speech, thanking his wife Nicole Kidman – "Baby girl, I love you so much," he said – before mentioning the people dealing with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
"I want to send my deepest love and prayers out to all the families around the gulf, who are going through an insane time right now," he said. "We've never seen anything like this – emotions I can't even find words for as I watch this thing happening on TV."
Lambert, who is engaged to fellow country star Blake Shelton, won for a video that shows her running off with the best man at her wedding. "Let's just hope that my wedding doesn't end up like that video," she joked.
Underwood, who also won performance of the year, was emphatically grateful to fans in her speech. "Awesome fans!" she said. "Awesome, awesome, amazing, awesome, awesome!"
All three big winners also performed on the telecast, along with artists including Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and the Zac Brown Band. Urban sang his song "Hit the Ground Runnin' " with John Mayer, who will join Urban for a series of duets on an upcoming episode of CMT Crossroads.
Here is the full list of winners:
Video of the Year: Carrie Underwood, "Cowboy Casanova."
Male Video of the Year: Keith Urban, "'Til Summer Comes Around."
Female Video of the Year: Miranda Lambert, "White Liar."
Group Video of the Year: Lady Antebellum, "Need You Now."
Duo Video of the Year: Brooks & Dunn, "Indian Summer."
USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year: Luke Bryan, "Do I."
Collaborative Video of the Year: Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins, "Hillbilly Bone."
CMT Performance of the Year: Carrie Underwood, "Temporary Home."