The first awards of the evening went to Little Big Town's "Pontoon" for Single of the Year. The quartet got the award from Lisa Marie Presley. Kimberly Roads and Karen Fairchild thanked host Brad Paisley who cracked a joke about their "motorboating" lyrics earlier in the show. They later returned to the stage to sing the winning song and of course the famous "motorboating" line.
Next, Thompson Square won Vocal Duo of the Year, beating the likes of Sugarland, The Civil Wars, Love and Theft as well a Big & Rich. "Ever since I was about five years old, I used to practice in the kitchen with one of my mama's mason jars for this moment," said Shawna Thompson after she and her partner Keifer Thompson accepted the award from presenter Jana Kramer.
Darius Rucker and Kellie Pickler presented Song of the Year prize to married couple Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton for their song "Over You". "I lost my brother in a car wreck when I was 14 years old," he said. "And later in life, when I decided I wanted to be a country singer, my dad always told me, 'Son, you should write a song about your brother.' "
The singer/songwriter added, "And I lost my dad in January, and it's so amazing to me that tonight, even after he's gone, he's still right. I just needed the right person to write this song with, and the right person to sing it." His wife cried as he told the star-studded crowd the inspiration behind the song during his thank-you speech.
Later on the show, Blake returned to the stage to collect his second prize as Male Vocalist of the Year. He beat Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Eric Church and Keith Urban. His wife followed his footsteps by winning Female Vocalist of the Year, pushing aside Kelly Clarkson, Martina McBride, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.
Album of the Year was given to Eric for his latest effort "Chief". He said, "I've spent a lot of my career wondering where I fit in -- too country? too rock? I want to thank you for giving somewhere to hang my hat." Another winner was Hunter Hayes. He got New Artist of the Year trophy from last year's champ, The Band Perry.
Other winners were Mac McAnally for Musician of the Year, Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw for Musical Event of the Year ("Feel Like a Rock Star"), and Toby Keith for Music Video of the Year ("Red Solo Cup"). Little Big Town joined Blake and Miranda to claim a double victory by taking home Vocal Group of the Year.