Carrie Underwood is queen of the CMT Music Awards — again.
For the third year in a row, Underwood captured the night's most prestigious award, video of the year. At the Wednesday-night awards show, "See You Again" got the winning nod. Underwood is the top winner in the history of the show with 11 trophies total and five video of the year honors.
"Fans, thank you so much, you've been awesome to me," Underwood said. "It's really hard to believe I've been doing this for nine years, but every single second of the nine years has been amazing. Oh, I'm nervous. My heart's still beating really fast."
Florida Georgia Line's genre-bending, laid-back songs have become predictable chart-toppers on country radio. Wednesday night, the tunes — and their videos — were enough to make the duo among the top winners. The duo members Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard won duo video of the year for "Round Here" and collaborative video of the year with Luke Bryan for the video for their duet "This Is How We Roll."
Bryan also picked up two wins during the show, which was televised live on CMT from Bridgestone Arena. In addition to the collaborative category, he and Lionel Richie won CMT performance of the year for their duet on "Oh No/All Night Long" from the 2013 CMT Artists of the Year.
"I'm speechless," Bryan exclaimed from the stage. "I cannot believe I've had the opportunity to hang with his guy and be in his presence and watch him light up a room."
Backstage, Richie called the moment a "milestone."
"I'm so stoked I can't get over it," he said. "We weren't thinking about an award, we were boys hanging out having a good time. We forgot we were on camera."
Fans choose the winners
Actress Kristen Bell this year hosted the fan-voted CMT awards, which are held by the cable network to honor videos. Voting starts weeks in advance, and winners are determined in all categories, except video of the year, before the show starts. About 30 minutes into the live program, the final nominees for video of the year are revealed and fans vote during the program.
The awards show is the unofficial kick-off of CMA Music Festival, which runs today through Sunday and will attract more than 100,000 country music fans to the streets of downtown Nashville. The festival — like the CMT Music Awards — features many of country music's newest stars, established hit makers and country legends.
The CMT Music Awards married all of those categories early in the program when Underwood, Kacey Musgraves and Lee Ann Womack came together to honor Alan Jackson with CMT's first Impact Award.
Underwood introduced Musgraves and Womack who dueted on Jackson's hit "Livin' On Love."
"It's always been about the music to me," Jackson said. "But, CMT has helped bring my music to the people for all these years."
In contrast, the show's opening number was a blend of genres that featured surprise guest ZZ Top, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan and R&B singer Jason Derulo.
Another genre-twisting moment came courtesy of John Legend, Jennifer Nettles and Hunter Hayes, who collaborated on Legend's hit "All of Me."
If country music fans were confused by the multi-genre nature of the country music awards program, the show's co-executive producer John Hamlin said they shouldn't be.
Hamlin said Brad Paisley recently told him Coldplay was on his iPod and explained that was a reflection of country music artists and their fans.
"They are primarily a country music audience, but they love hip-hop, they love classic rock, they love pop," he said. "The lines are blurred."
More stand-out performances came courtesy of Keith Urban, who seemed to be performing "Cop Car" off-site at the Bluebird Cafe and then showed up on stage. Little Big Town debuted its new song "Day Drinking" with a drum line as powdered paint filled the air. And, Underwood and Miranda Lambert rocked out with their duet "Somethin' Bad" from Lambert's new album "Platinum."
Lambert also made a trip to the winner's podium to pick up female video of the year award for her current Top 5 hit "Automatic."
"Thank you so much to the fans for this," Lambert said. "I love this song so much. It's close to my heart. I love the video. I love country music. I love my job. Thank you to the fans for letting us do our jobs."
The Band Perry picked up the night's first win. The group collected the group video of the year award for "Done," a song that has become yet another anthem for the trio's fans.
"We want to thank all the beautiful fans of country music," singer Kimberly Perry told the audience. "You all are country music."
CMT MUSIC AWARDS WINNERS
Video of the year
Carrie Underwood, "See You Again"
Male video of the year
Blake Shelton, "Doin' What She Likes"
Female video of the year
Miranda Lambert, "Automatic"
Group Video of the Year
The Band Perry – "Done"
Duo Video of the Year
Florida Georgia Line – "Round Here"
Breakthrough Video of the Year
Cassadee Pope – "Wasting All These Tears"
Collaborative Video of the Year
Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan – "This Is How We Roll"
CMT Performance of the Year
Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie – "Oh No/All Night Long" from 2013 CMT Artistsof The Year
CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL
The CMT Music Awards show is just the beginning of the country-music party. Today, the four-day CMA Music Festival begins in downtown Nashville, pulling country fans to town for four days of live music on multiple stages, fan club parties and more. The festival's nightly LP Field shows — featuring Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley and more of country's biggest names — have long been sold out. But a variety of free activities and concerts take place on multiple stages around Broadway and Demonbreun, and tickets are still available for Fan Fair X in Music City Center.