Urban wins big at CMT Awards – Underwood makes history

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After walking away empty-handed at the Grammy Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards earlier this year, Keith Urban found redemption at the 2017 CMT Music Awards, picking up four honors including video of the year for “Blue Ain’t Your Color.”

The country star also won male video, collaborative video and social superstar of the year at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

“I love making music, I love making videos … who knows how long you get to do it,” said Urban, who also thanked his fans and his actress-wife Nicole Kidman, who sat in the audience.

“I’m just trying to make a connection,” he said.

Urban also performed, singing his disco-flavored hit “The Fighter” with Carrie Underwood, who continued to dominate as the most awarded act in the history of the CMT Awards with 17 wins.

She won female video of the year for “Church Bells” and collaborative video for “The Fighter.”

“Thank you God for so many incredible blessings that we have in our lives … we are so grateful and we are so blessed,” said Underwood, who is married to Mike Fisher of the Nashville Predators, who are competing in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins (Game 5 is Thursday).

“Go Preds,” she said.

Others paired up for collaborative performances throughout the night. Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker, Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum and Derek Trucks kicked off the show with a rocking tribute to southern rocker Gregg Allman, who died last month at age 69. Peter Frampton sang outdoors with Brothers Osborne; The Chainsmokers and duo video of the year winners Florida Georgia Line performed the energetic “Last Day Alive,” which was pre-taped Tuesday; and Earth, Wind & Fire partnered with Lady Antebellum to close the awards show.

Luke Bryan and Jason Derulo, who won CMT performance of the year for “Want to Want Me” from their “CMT Crossroads” special, performed the pop song onstage as well as Bryan’s slow groove, “Strip It Down.”

The CMT Awards didn’t only include singers from other genres; Hollywood stars also attended, including Ashton Kutcher.

Jada Pinkett Smith and Katherine Heigl sported pink sunglasses while Miranda Lambert sang “Pink Sunglasses” onstage. Blake Shelton, Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini also performed during the show. Little Big Town, who also sang, won group video of the year for “Better Man,” their No. 1 hit that was written by Taylor Swift.

Band member Karen Fairchild thanked the group’s fans “for making this such a big hit.”

Lauren Alaina, who placed second on “American Idol” in 2011, won breakthrough video of the year for her No. 1 hit, “Road Less Traveled.”

“Reba McEntire just gave me an award so that’s pretty crazy,” said the shocked 22-year-old singer.

The performance earned a standing ovation Wednesday from the audience at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee, which included country music’s top stars, along with Hollywood actors and musicians from the rock, pop and R&B worlds.

Little Big Town won the first televised award of the night, taking home group video of the year for “Better Man,” their No. 1 hit that was written by Taylor Swift.

Band member Karen Fairchild thanked the group’s fans onstage “for making this such a big hit.”

The Chainsmokers, who taped their performance Tuesday, collaborated with Florida Georgia Line on a song called “Last Day Alive,” off the duo’s album “Memories … Do Not Open,” which came out earlier this year.

“It was a fun challenge,” Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard said Tuesday of working with the Chainsmokers. “We pushed ourselves. There’s a lot of different aspects of this song that we haven’t done before, like different harmonies. We love these guys and we love what they are doing.”

Nominees for male video of the year include Shelton, Aldean, Urban, Bryan, Rhett and Eric Church.

The CMT Music Awards are being hosted by “Nashville” actor Charles Esten. Rising acts will perform on the Firestone Stage, including Alaina, Brett Young, Chris Lane, Jon Pardi and Midland.


* Video of the year: Keith Urban, “Blue Ain’t Your Color”

* Male video of the year: Keith Urban, “Blue Ain’t Your Color”

* Female video of the year: Carrie Underwood, “Church Bells”

* Duo video of the year: Florida Georgia Line, “H.O.L.Y.”

* Group video of the year: Little Big Town, “Better Man”

* Breakthrough video of the year: Lauren Alaina, “Road Less Traveled”

* Collaborative video of the year: Keith Urban featuring Carrie Underwood, “The Fighter”

* CMT performance of the year: Jason Derulo and Luke Bryan, “Want to Want Me” (from “CMT Crossroads”)

* Social superstar of the year: Keith Urban

Pop superstars Shakira and Pharrell Williams announced Wednesday that they will join the first Global Citizen festival in Europe to push leaders to end extreme poverty.

The July 6 concert in Hamburg, a spin-off of the festival that takes place each year in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, comes during a summit of the Group of 20 major economies.

Shakira and Williams, both long involved in charity, will join already announced acts Coldplay, Ellie Goulding and chart-topping electronic duo The Chainsmokers.

Shakira said the concert would press governments to recommit to the UN-backed Sustainable Development Goals which aim to end the worst forms of poverty by 2030.

“As Global Citizens that we are, I believe we can be the first generation to make sure children everywhere have access to quality education, health care and proper nutrition to break the cycle of poverty in which millions of people are still trapped,” the Colombian pop sensation said in a statement.

Williams, creator of the viral hit “Happy,” added: “The next generation deserves a better future. Let’s make sure our leaders commit the resources necessary to bring millions out of extreme poverty across the globe.”

The summit’s message comes at a trying time as US President Donald Trump is a staunch critic of foreign assistance, proposing steep cuts in aid to put “America First.”

Global Citizen distributes tickets for free to supporters who pledge to take actions which include writing their leaders to support foreign assistance.

The festival also expanded in November to India, where 80,000 fans came out in Mumbai for artists including Coldplay and rap great Jay Z.

The Hamburg edition, which will be livestreamed on YouTube, will also feature major German stars including Andreas Bourani and the previously announced Herbert Gronemeyer. (Agencies)

More than 10 percent of people in the world lived on $1.90 or less each day in 2013, although the figure has tumbled by 25 percentage points since 1990 amid concerted global efforts, according to World Bank data. (Agencies)

By Mesfin Fekadu