CMT Music Awards 2021: Carrie Underwood holds on to record as Gladys Knight and HER put on star performances

Stars of the country music genre congregated in Nashville on Wednesday to fete the year's best works

Carrie Underwood has another reason to rejoice – she extended her record as the most decorated artist in the history of the CMT Music Awards, thanks to her song Hallelujah.

The music video for the singer's hit, a collaboration with John Legend, was named Video of the Year at Wednesday's show, which aired from Nashville, Tennessee.

Underwood, who now has 23 CMT Awards, thanked her fans while accepting the honour: “You're the reason we're all here doing what we do, doing what we love [and] making music videos."

She also acknowledged Legend, particularly for sending her the song, which appeared on her first holiday album My Gift.

“Congratulations on what I think is your first CMT Award!" she said.

Scroll through the gallery below to see pictures from the CMT Music Awards red carpet:

Though Underwood owned part of the night – she also performed with rock band Needtobreathe – other female stars, some outside country music, took over the awards show honouring the year's best country music videos.

Grammy-winning R&B star HER and fellow guitar slayer Chris Stapleton gave the night's best performance. They joined forces for a rendition of Hold On, coming off like a veteran duo.

The legendary Gladys Knight won over audience members during a performance of Friendship Train with Mickey Guyton.

Guyton, who was nominated for two awards, also presented the CMT Equal Play Award to Linda Martell, one of the pioneering black acts in country music and the first black woman to perform solo at the Grand Ole Opry.

Martell, who had a country hit with the song Colour Me Country 50 years ago, experienced racism while performing onstage and was shunned by the music industry as a mainstream country performer. Her record label shelved her album and she was prohibited from finding a new deal.

“Hearing Linda sing makes it very clear that she had all the talent to be a huge star but her career was cut short for one reason: the colour of her skin," said Guyton, who made history this year as the first solo black woman nominated for a country Grammy Award.

“I would not be standing here today without you, and none of us would be here without you, so thank you."

Martell, 86, didn't attend the awards show but CMT said she was watching the show from her home in South Carolina.

Lady A kicked off the show with Carly Pearce and Lindsay Ell, Ingrid Andress sang with pop singer-songwriter JP Saxe, while Miranda Lambert performed with Jack Ingram and Jon Randall.

Hosts Kane Brown and Kelsea Ballerini also performed onstage and won awards.

See the full list of winners for the CMT Music Awards 2020 below:

Video of the Year: Carrie Underwood and John Legend, Hallelujah

Female Video of the Year: Gabby Barrett, The Good Ones

Male Video of the Year: Kane Brown, Worship You

Duo/Group Video of the Year: Little Big Town, Wine, Beer, Whiskey

Breakthrough Video of the Year: Dylan Scott, Nobody

Collaborative Video of the Year: Chris Young and Kane Brown, Famous Friends

CMT Performance of the Year: Kelsea Ballerini and Halsey, The Other Girl (from the 2020 CMT Music Awards)

Best Family Feature: Taylor Swift, The Best Day (Taylor's Version)

CMT Equal Play Award: Linda Martell

Updated: June 10, 2021 12:55 PM

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