Bless the CMT Music Awards, which always seem to be less about who wins and more about the party, which host and country dabbler Kid Rock gleefully kicked off with a very loud "Cowboy."
Sure, the two-and-a-half-hour telecast found time to hand out eight buckles for the best music videos as chosen by the fans, but it was really a performance showcase for the reigning kings and queens of country, including Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Carrie Underwood and Lady Antebellum.
Underwood won a leading two awards, including the night's top honor, Video of the Year, for "Cowboy Casanova," and CMT Performance of the Year.
But lately country music been all about dispelling any preconceived notions of Nashville, from Keith Urban's Kiwi accent and Hollywood wife to Underwood and Taylor Swift topping the pop charts to tonight's appearance by Jersey Shore's Snooki and The Situation, who gave copresenter Paula Deen her own nickname, Mama Ho Cakes.
"I like it!" Deen exclaimed.
Well, maybe that last one—not to mention the cast of "Grown Ups" comparing whose life was more like a country song—was more about drawing some eyeballs to the screen than anything else.
"Baby girl, I love you so much," Urban, whose "'Till Summer Comes Around" was named Male Video of the Year, thanked always-in-the-audience Nicole Kidman before teaming with the pretty uncountry John Mayer for a performance.
Miranda Lambert's "White Liar" won for Female Video of the Year, and in her acceptance speech she commented that she hoped her next wedding went better than the one in the video.
Her fiancé, of course, being Blake Shelton, who shared the buckle for Collaborative Video of the Year with Trace Adkins for "Hillbilly Bone."
Here's the complete list of winners from the 2010 CMT Music Awards:
Video of the Year: "Cowboy Casanova," Carrie Underwood
Male Video of the Year: "'Til Summer Comes Around," Keith Urban
Female Video of the Year: "White Liar," Miranda Lambert
Group Video of the Year: "Need You Now," Lady Antebellum
Duo Video of the Year: "Indian Summer," Brooks & Dunn
Collaborative Video of the Year: "Hillbilly Bone," Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins
CMT Performance of the Year: "Temporary Home (from Invitation Only)," Carrie Underwood
USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year: "Do I," Luke Bryan
Director of the Year: Shaun Silva
(Originally published June 9, 2010, at 8 p.m. PT)
Check out the crossover appeal of the crowd in our 2010 CMT Music Awards gallery.