2021 CMA Awards: Chris Stapleton, Luke Combs win big

November 10, 2021

by Carla Hay

With four prizes, Chris Stapleton was the biggest winner at the 55th Annual CMA Awards, which were presented at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on November 10, 2021. ABC had the U.S. telecast of the ceremony, which was hosted by Luke Bryan. Stapleton received the awards for Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year, Single of the Year and Song of the Year—all for “Starting Over.”

Other winners were Luke Combs (who was named Entertainer of the Year) and Kelsea Ballerini, who won two prizes for “Half of My Hometown” (featuring Kenny Chesney): Musical Event of the Year and Music Video of the Year.

Other winners of the 2021 CMA Awards included Old Dominion (Vocal Group of the Year); Brothers Osborne (Vocal Duo of the Year); Carly Pearce (Female Vocalist of the Year); and Jimmie Allen (New Artist of the Year). Eric Church, who was tied with Stapleton with the most nominations (five) going into the ceremony, ended up winning no CMA Awards this year.

Performers at the ceremony included Bryan, Stapleton, Church, Combs, Allen, Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, Gabby Barrett, Brothers Osborne, Dan + Shay, Jennifer Hudson, Miranda Lambert, Old Dominion, Carly Pearce, Ashley McBryde, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Chris Young, Kane Brown and Zac Brown Band. All-star team-ups included Mickey Guyton featuring Brittney Spencer and Madeline Edwards, as well as Dierks Bentley featuring Breland and Hardy.

Presenters included Trace Adkins, Ingrid Andress, Ballerini, Deana Carter, Lauren Daigle, Russell Dickerson, Faith Fennidy, Florida Georgia Line, Freddie Freeman, Amy Grant, Dulé Hill, Alan Jackson, Elle King, Lady A, Zachary Levi, Scotty McCreery, Hayley Orrantia, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Darius Rucker, Susan Sarandon, Saycon Sengbloh, Kurt Warner, Lainey Wilson and Trisha Yearwood.

The 55th Annual CMA Awards ceremony was a production of the Country Music Association. Robert Deaton was the executive producer. Alan Carter was the director, and David Wild was the head writer.  

The following is a complete list of winners and nominees for the 2021 CMA Awards:

*=winner

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

  • Eric Church
  • Luke Combs*
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Carrie Underwood

SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Award goes to Artist(s), Producer(s) and Mix Engineer(s)

  • “Famous Friends” – Chris Young with Kane Brown
    Producers: Corey Crowder, Chris Young
    Mix Engineer: Sean Moffitt
  • “The Good Ones” – Gabby Barrett
    Producers: Ross Copperman, Zach Kale
    Mix Engineers: Chris Galland, Manny Marroquin
  • “Hell Of A View” – Eric Church
    Producer: Jay Joyce
    Mix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce
  • “One Night Standards” – Ashley McBryde
    Producer: Jay Joyce
    Mix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce
  • “Starting Over” – Chris Stapleton*
    Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton
    Mix Engineer: Vance Powell

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Award goes to Artist(s), Producer(s) and Mix Engineer(s)

  • 29 – Carly Pearce
    Producers: Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and Jimmy RobbinsMix Engineer: Ryan Gore
  • Dangerous: The Double Album – Morgan Wallen
    Producers: Dave Cohen, Matt Dragstrem, Jacob Durrett, Charlie Handsome and Joey MoiMix Engineer: Joey Moi
  • Heart – Eric Church
    Producer: Jay JoyceMix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce
  • Skeletons – Brothers Osborne
    Producer: Jay JoyceMix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce
  • Starting Over – Chris Stapleton*
    Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris StapletonMix Engineer: Vance Powell

SONG OF THE YEAR
Award goes to Songwriter(s) 

  • “Forever After All”
    Songwriters: Luke Combs, Drew Parker, Robert Williford
  • “The Good Ones”
    Songwriters: Gabby Barrett, Zach Kale, Emily Landis, Jim McCormick
  • “Hell Of A View”
    Songwriters: Casey Beathard, Eric Church, Monty Criswell
  • “One Night Standards”
    Songwriters: Nicolette Hayford, Shane McAnally, Ashley McBryde
  • “Starting Over”*
    Songwriters: Mike Henderson, Chris Stapleton

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

  • Gabby Barrett
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Ashley McBryde
  • Maren Morris
  • Carly Pearce*

MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR  

  • Dierks Bentley
  • Eric Church
  • Luke Combs
  • Thomas Rhett
  • Chris Stapleton*

VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR

  • Lady A
  • Little Big Town
  • Midland
  • Old Dominion*
  • Zac Brown Band

VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR

  • Brooks & Dunn
  • Brothers Osborne*
  • Dan + Shay
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Maddie & Tae

MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR 
Award goes to Artist(s) and Producer(s) 

  • “Buy Dirt” – Jordan Davis and Luke Bryan
    Producer: Paul DiGiovanni
  • “Chasing After You” – Ryan Hurd with Maren Morris
    Producers: Aaron Eshuis, Teddy Reimer
  • “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” – Elle King & Miranda Lambert
    Producer: Martin Johnson
  • “Famous Friends” – Chris Young with Kane Brown
    Producers: Corey Crowder, Chris Young
  • “Half of My Hometown” – Kelsea Ballerini (featuring Kenny Chesney)*
    Producers: Kelsea Ballerini, Ross Copperman, Jimmy Robbins

MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR 

  • Jenee Fleenor, Fiddle*
  • Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar
  • Aaron Sterling, Drums
  • Ilya Toshinskiy, Banjo
  • Derek Wells, Guitar

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR 
Award goes to Artist(s) and Director(s) 

  • “Chasing After You” – Ryan Hurd with Maren Morris
    Director: TK McKamy
  • “Famous Friends” – Chris Young with Kane Brown
    Director: Peter Zavadil
  • “Gone” – Dierks Bentley
    Directors: Wes Edwards, Travis Nicholson, Ed Pryor, Running Bear, Sam Siske
  • “Half of My Hometown” – Kelsea Ballerini (featuring Kenny Chesney)*
    Director: Patrick Tracy
  • “Younger Me” – Brothers Osborne
    Director: Reid Long

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR 

  • Jimmie Allen*
  • Ingrid Andress
  • Gabby Barrett
  • Mickey Guyton
  • HARDY

The presentations of the following CMA Awards were not televised:

*=winner

“THE 55th ANNUAL CMA AWARDS” – FINALISTS FOR BROADCAST PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR (by market size):   

Weekly National

  • “American Country Countdown” (Kix Brooks) – Westwood One
  • “Country Countdown USA” (Lon Helton) – Westwood One*
  • “Country Gold” (Terri Clark) – Westwood One
  • “The Crook & Chase Countdown” (Lorianne Crook and Charlie Chase) – iHeartMedia
  • “Honky Tonkin’ with Tracy Lawrence” (Tracy Lawrence and Patrick Thomas) – Compass Media Networks

Daily National

  • “The Big D and Bubba Show” (Derek Haskins, Sean Powell, Patrick Thomas and Carsen Humphreville) – Compass Media Networks
  • “The Bobby Bones Show” (Bobby Bones, Amy Brown, “Lunchbox” Dan Chappell, Eddie Garcia, “Morgan #2” Huelsman, “Raymundo” Ray Slater, “Scuba Steve” Stephen Spradlin, “Mike D” Rodriguez and “Utility Hillary” Borden) – Premiere Networks
  • “CMT After Midnite” (Cody Alan) – Premiere Networks*
  • “The Lia Show” (Lia Knight) – Westwood One
  • “The Music Row Happy Hour” (Buzz Brainard and Ania Hammar) – Sirius XM Satellite Radio


Major Market

  • “Angie Ward” – WUBL, Atlanta, Ga.
  • “Double-L” (Lois Lewis) – KNIX, Phoenix, Ariz.*
  • “Hawkeye in the Morning with Hawkeye and Michelle” (“Hawkeye” Mark Louis Rybczyk and Michelle Rodriguez) – KSCS, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas
  • “The Morning Bull: George, Mo & Cowboy Dave” (George Lindsey, “Mo” Monica Lunsford and “Cowboy Dave” Bayless) – KILT, Houston, Texas
  • “Tampa Bay’s Morning Krewe with J.R., Launa and Kevin” (“J.R.” Jon Jaus, Launa Phillips and Kevin Ebel) – WQYK, Tampa Bay, Fla.

Large Market

  • “Jesse Tack” – WUBE, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • “Jim, Deb & Kevin” (Jim Denny, Deborah Honeycutt and Kevin Freeman) – WFMS, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • “Lexi & Banks” (“Lexi” Elena Abatgis and “Banks” Jared Danielson) – KUBL, Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo, Utah
  • “Ridder, Scott and Shannen” (“Ridder” Shaun Ridderbush, Scott Dolphin, and Shannen Oesterreich) – WMIL, Milwaukee-Racine, Wis.*
  • “The Wayne D Show” (“Wayne D” Danielson and Taylor Rosenberg) – WSIX, Nashville, Tenn.

Medium Market

  • “Brent Michaels” – KUZZ, Bakersfield, Calif.
  • “Ellis and Bradley Show” (Bill Ellis and Beth Bradley) – WSSL, Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.
  • “Julie and DJ in the Morning” (“Julie K” Kansy and “D.J. Thee Trucker” Dale Sellers) – WPCV, Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.
  • “Mo & StyckMan” (“Mo” Melissa Wagner and “StyckMan” Greg Owens) – WUSY, Chattanooga, Tenn.*
  • “Steve & Gina In The Morning” (Steve Lundy and Gina Melton) – KXKT, Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb.-Iowa

Small Market

  • “Barrett, Fox & Berry” (Bill Barrett, Tim Fox and Tracy Berry) – KKNU, Eugene-Springfield, Ore.
  • “Dr. Shane and Tess in the Morning” (Shane Collins and Tess Connell) – WPAP, Panama City, Fla.
  • “KTTS Morning Show with Nancy & Rick” (Nancy Simpson and Rick Moore) – KTTS, Springfield, Mo.
  • “Liz & Scotty in the Morning” (Liz Del Grosso and Scotty Cox) – KCLR, Columbia, Mo.
  • “Steve, Ben and Nikki” (Steve Stroud, Ben Walker and Nikki Thomas) – WXBQ, Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, Tenn.-Va.*

“THE 55th ANNUAL CMA AWARDS” – FINALISTS FOR RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR (by market size):   

Major Market

  • KNIX – Phoenix, Ariz.
  • KNUC – Seattle-Tacoma, Wash.
  • KYGO – Denver-Boulder, Colo.*
  • WNSH – New York City, N.Y.
  • WXTU – Philadelphia, Pa.
  • WYCD – Detroit, Mich.

Large Market

  • WFMS – Indianapolis, Ind.
  • WMIL – Milwaukee-Racine, Wis.
  • WQDR – Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
  • WSIX – Nashville, Tenn.
  • WUBE – Cincinnati, Ohio*

Medium Market

  • KATM – Modesto, Calif.
  • KXKT – Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb.-Iowa
  • KUZZ – Bakersfield, Calif.*
  • WQMX – Akron, Ohio
  • WXCY – Wilmington, Del.

Small Market

  • KCLR – Columbia, Mo.*
  • KTTS – Springfield, Mo.
  • WBYT – South Bend, Ind.
  • WXBQ – Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, Tenn.-Va.
  • WXFL – Florence-Muscle Shoals, Ala.
  • WYCT – Pensacola, Fla.
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