Country Music Awards Nashville 2016: The Best and Worst Moments

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The best and worst moments from the 2016 Country Music Awards in Nashville.

The Best Moments

The best moments of the Nashville Country Music Awards were, first and foremost, the awards themselves. So many of music’s brightest stars converged on Nashville to celebrate the genre, and the winners were all deserving. It was also great to see so many different artists perform, and to see the camaraderie between them all.

Carrie Underwood’s opening performance

Carrie Underwood kicked off the show with a medley of her hits, including “Heartbeat,” “Dirty Laundry” and “Church Bells.” It was a strong start to the evening, with Underwood looking gorgeous in a glittering black dress and sounding great as she belted out her hits.

Keith Urban’s touching tribute to Merle Haggard

One of the best moments of the show was when Keith Urban took the stage to perform a touching tribute to the late Merle Haggard. Haggard, who passed away in April, was a legendary country singer and songwriter, and Urban did an amazing job of honoring his legacy.

“Tonight I want to celebrate one of the founding fathers of country music, Mr. Merle Haggard,” Urban said as he began his performance. “He was a poet, a outlaw, and a true pioneer.”

Urban then proceeded to perform Haggard’s classic song “Mama Tried,” which drew huge applause from the audience. It was clear that everyone in attendance was moved by Urban’s tribute, and it was one of the best moments of the night.

Dolly Parton’s surprise duet with Pentatonix

The best moment of the night came when Dolly Parton took the stage for a duet with Pentatonix, performing her classic hit “Jolene.” It was a true moment of country music history, as two living legends came together to perform one of the most iconic songs in the genre. Parton’s voice sounded as strong as ever, and Pentatonix brought their signature harmonies to the mix, creating a truly magical performance.

The Worst Moments

It was a long show, and country music’s biggest night certainly had its share of highs and lows. Here are some of the worst moments from the 2016 Country Music Awards.

Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani’s cringe-worthy duet

The moment that had everyone talking was Shelton and Stefani’s cringe-worthy duet of “Go Ahead and Break My Heart.” Standing side by side at a grand piano, the two banged out the schmaltzy ballad as images of them frolicking in a meadow played on a screen behind them. It was all too much.

The awkward jokes about Florida Georgia Line’s new album

During their performance of “H.O.L.Y.,” Florida Georgia Line made a joke about how long it’s been since their last album by saying, “It’s been way too long, three years too long.” This wouldn’t be that big of a deal except they just released their new album Dig Your Roots on August 26, 2016. This awkward moment just goes to show that no matter how prepared you think you are, anything can happen at award shows.

The lack of female representation among the nominees

The nominations for the 50th Annual Country Music Awards were announced this morning, and, as expected, there was a lack of female representation among the nominees. Miranda Lambert led the pack with five nominations, followed by Carrie Underwood with four. But both women were snubbed in the top category, Entertainer of the Year, which was dominated by men: Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Garth Brooks, Keith Urban, and Toby Keith.

This year’s awards show will be hosted by Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley for the ninth time.

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