CMA Awards 2016 Photos

CMA Awards 2016: Beyoncé, Billy Ray and More Best and Worst Moments

The CMA Awards turned 50 Wednesday night, and the annual country-music accolades’ birthday was a real star- rhinestone-studded affair.

The telecast, broadcast live on ABC from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, mined its rich history to create a three-hour ceremony full of nods to the past mixed with contemporary country hits.

Even if you’re the most casual of country fans, chances are you recognized several of the songs and faces that showed up (Reba!) during the ceremony. (And then there were Olympic gymnasts, Jennifer Garner, Matthew McConnaughey and a little-known, up-and-coming artist called Beyoncé for everyone else.)

But yeah, there’s a good chance you weren’t even tuned into the CMAs. We hear there was a baseball game or something going on Wednesday night, too? Fear not: Like a coat of many colors, we’ve got you covered.

Click through the gallery at right to see our picks for best and worst moments from the three-hour event, then hit the comments: What were your favorite (or least favorite) parts of this year’s CMAs?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Jss says:

    I thought overall they were pretty great.

    Was kinda struck at the imbalance of honoring men and women in the history of country music (the Dolly tribute aside)

  2. Jen says:

    Thank you for your comment about the Oak Ridge Boys they were done a great disservice!

  3. chuckiechk says:

    no reason for Beyoncé to be there, she was horrible

    • Jamie says:

      She had a country song on her album, so they invited her to perform. Lmao people will find any reason to be salty.

    • Tara says:

      I so totally agree with you that was horrendous!

    • tbone says:

      Completely horrible performance and she looked like she kept wanting someone to tell her she was great at the end. Natalie Manes sang her but off and Beyonce looked very jealous that she was singing beside her. Beyonce’ being there had no purpose. Her singing was horrible and noone at the CMA’s cares about someone shaking their A__ which seems to be her whole act. NEVER BEYONCE

  4. Is there some sort of law that Beyonce has to be everywhere now?

  5. Melanie m says:

    This was actually one of the best shows the CMAs have put on in a long time. Great mix of traditional and contemporary country, some stellar performances, and unpredictable award winners. Plus virtually no bro-country. Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and FGL were actually the weakest performances of the night.

    Oh, and the Dixie Chicks and Queen Bey absolutely slayed

    • Gena says:

      Agreed. (I was also ticked at Thomas Rhett winning for Single Of The Year — literally ANY other song in that category would’ve been preferable. :p )

  6. RedReddington says:

    Garth and Trisha are #relationshipgoals 😍

  7. Gena says:

    My favorite moments:
    – Opening medley
    – Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood
    – Dwight Yoakam & Chris Stapleton
    – Eric Church & Rhiannon Giddens
    – Dolly Parton tribute
    – Tim McGraw’s performance of “Humble & Kind”, as well as the song’s writer Lori McKenna winning Song Of The Year
    – Stapleton winning Male Vocalist (as well as Video Of The Year for the powerful “Fire Away”)

  8. I thought the CMAs were great tonight except I have one little complaint..why wasn’t Brantley Gilbert not nominated for any awards again or why wasn’t he even singing a song off his new album. Come on people, he has a new album to promote so he deserves to sing something and his “Just As I Am” album is still going strong and he deserves awards for it, the night before he got one for One Hell Of An Amen so why not be nominated for anything else. This kind of makes me mad and upset!! Oh well, one day he will get his awards…believe me he will,I got FAITH!!

    • CountryQueen says:

      Hi Tammy, I’m a country DJ, and I’m guessing he wasn’t nominated because he hasn’t had a song out most of this year. The Weekend just dropped. He’s been on the down low on country radio with new stuff as he tours and works on new material. I think he would have had a chance to sing The Weekend if it was any other year but the 50th. The new songs that were performed were all pretty well established. Just As I Am, at 2 1/2 years old, is too old to be up for any award. One Hell of An Amen would have been an amazing performance though. Love that song. Many artists don’t get nominated like they should, and my fave, Zac Brown Band, can never seem to win, even when the last 2 years for them have been amazing. But one of these years they will, believe me, I got Faith too! :D

  9. Scott says:

    Reba messed up for three seconds and rebounded quickly, her vocals were amazing so I really wouldn’t put her in the worst slot. Show a little respect to a legend. If you want someone to put in the worst slot you can put Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, etc.

    • CountryQueen says:

      And it was an adorable mess up caused by her looking at Dolly. How awesome that a legend gets starstruck by another legend? That was an awesome moment really.

  10. TVFan says:

    I was so disappointed that they made Dolly cut her acceptance speech short because the show was already over time. She was receiving the Life Time Achievement award. Give her the respect she is due & let her talk!

  11. jr. says:

    Pentatonix is always so much better in their videos. IMO When they perform live, they always seem afraid or stiff. But glad to hear Pentatonix is going to have their own NBC Christmas special this year ( i.e. according to what I read on their twitter)!

  12. Collette says:

    Totally thrilled that Garth got EOTY award. He’s one of a handful of actual superstars left in country music. Can’t get into Jason Aldean who is IMO the equivalent of trailer trash grunge.

  13. Mr. Smith says:

    WHY was Beyonce there???

    • Collette says:

      A sop to the diversity vigilantes because she had one country song on her album. Otherwise the CMAs would have Kanye all up in their business.

  14. Here You *Come* Again. #ironic

  15. ekolint48 says:

    I wish they would get Hill to do the SNF theme again. She had the best version.

  16. Andrea Miller says:

    I enjoyed ALL the tributes to the legends, with Garth Brooks and Trish Yearwood’s duet being my favorite. I was ticked that they cut off the Oakridge Boys singing “Elvira” for a commercial. It was just getting good!

    However, I expected more female country legends to get more attention than they did.

    Frankly I would have been happy with nothing but a giant tribute show and no new stuff set around the award announcements. There’s so much that deserved more attention.

    And how dare they cut off Dolly!!!! That is the true worst moment of the whole show!!!

    I’m not a Beyonce fan and have a bit of Beyonce fatigue, but I don’t hate that she was there. I think the performance was pretty good and I could hear the country influences in it, more so, I might add, than I could in Carrie Underwood’s “Dirty Laundry” song. If you’re going to complain about one song not being country enough, then that Underwood song deserves some complaint too.

  17. j king says:

    It was the worst trash not happy with cma

  18. Brenda Dabbs says:

    I am so disappointedwith the show never watching it again can’t believe there was nothing all not even rip about Joey Feek her poor husband mother father was sitting there and nothing said after all the hell that family has went through and nothing said can u please give me answer always throught it was like family but guess not so shock about country music his really break my heart so sad but u know what goes around well coming around my God Bless who ever fault this was

  19. RM says:

    I have no complaints about the music, singing live is hard work! However, I think they cheated Dolly out of her fair due. I personally turned the awards on to see her and see her get her award. For them to hurry her along was rude and discourteous. The awards ALWAYS run long, always. So why not start them an hour earlier or push the news back a half hour? They do that for football nights now so why not music awards?