After an unforgettable ceremony packed with high-octane performances, tear-jerking tributes and surprise appearances, it was time for the most prestigious award of the evening.
Lainey Wilson was crowned the 2023 CMA Entertainer of the Year, with the ‘Heart Like A Truck’ songsmith triumphing over Chris Stapleton, Morgan Wallen, Luke Combs and Carrie Underwood.
Lainey emphasised her gratitude in a heartfelt and understandably emotional acceptance speech, “It finally feels like country music is starting to love me back - I love it with my whole heart”.
The Louisiana native went on to suggest that “nine must be my lucky number”, with it being the year she wrote her first song, the year she got her first pair of bell bottoms, the year her mother and father brought her to Nashville for the first time, as well as - crucially - being the number of 2023 CMA nominations she racked up.
The country megastar concluded her speech by sharing, “Every time [my dream] started bucking I held on...thank y'all for letting me be me, and for giving my this opportunity”.
The CMA Entertainer of the Year has always been the title that country artists crave, with the honour being awarded to the person who's lit up the genre the most over the past twelve months.
It was a hugely successful evening for Lainey Wilson, with the singer-songwriter also taking home the gongs for 2023 CMA Album of the Year and CMA Female Vocalist of the Year. Ahead of the ceremony, Lainey and HARDY were awarded Musical Event of the Year and Music Video of the Year for their dark duet, ‘wait in the truck’.
Prior to the big announcement, viewers and attendees were able to witness a plethora of incredible CMA Awards 2023 performances, with the likes of Megan Moroney, Old Dominion, Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen, Chris Stapleton and Post Malone all taking the stage.
For Holler's full CMA Awards coverage, head here.
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Featured photo by Sarah Cahill