NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Blake Shelton captured album of the year, Miranda Lambert won female vocalist of the year and Taylor Swift was honored with the Pinnacle award for her achievements, but it was George Strait who won the night's top honor at the Country Music Awards - entertainer of the year.
Strait, who is retiring from the road, nabbed his third trophy in the category but hadn't won the prestigious award since 1990.
He capped a night where there was no clear favorite. Shelton, Swift, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line won two awards each.
Associated Press photos
Country singer George Strait performs at the 47th annual CMA?Awards Wednesday night in Nashville, Tenn. Strait won the award for entertainer of the year.
But Shelton won the other big award of the night - album of the year for "Based on a True Story" - besides grabbing male vocalist of the year, his fourth time winning the latter award.
Lambert, his wife, also won her fourth straight female vocalist of the year award.
"I really didn't think this was going to happen this year," Lambert said before thanking each of the other nominees.
47th annual CMA?Award winners
The Associated Press
Winners of the 47th annual Country Music Association Awards presented Wednesday night in Nashville:
Entertainer of the Year: George Strait
Album of the Year: Blake Shelton - "Based on a True Story ..."
Song of the Year: Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington and Jimmy Yeary - "I Drive Your Truck"
Single of the Year: Florida Georgia Line - "Cruise"
Male Vocalist of the Year: Blake Shelton
Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert
New Artist of the Year: Kacey Musgraves
Vocal Group of the Year: Little Big Town
Vocal Duo of the Year: Florida Georgia Line
Music Video of the Year: Tim McGraw with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban - "Highway Don't Care"
Musical Event of the Year: Tim McGraw with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban - "Highway Don't Care"
Musician of the Year: Mac McAnally
The husband and wife have been favorites of the CMA's 6,000 voters for the last three years and Wednesday as no different,
"I had mentioned earlier today that if there was an award that would mean the most to me tonight, it would be album of the year," said Shelton, who won entertainer of the year last year and was in contention for it again this year.
Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley scored single and vocal duo of the year. Their quick tally was more proof the so-called bro country movement is the sound of the moment in mainstream country. FGL kicked off the show performing a fist-pumping medley with Luke Bryan. They very quickly returned to the stage to take the trophy for single of the year.
Kacey Musgraves - who, along with Taylor Swift, led all nominees with six - won the new artist trophy, besting a field that included Florida Georgia Line.
"This first year for me has just been undescribable," said Musgraves, who set a record for nominations for a woman in her first year on the show.
Lee Brice's "I'd Drive Your Truck," about a fallen soldier whose father still drives his truck, won song of the year, and Little Big Town took its second vocal group of the year.
Swift later performed a somber, acoustic version of her hit "Red" with Vince Gill, Alison Krauss and Sam Bush and was given the CMA's Pinnacle Award. The award goes to artists who take country music to a worldwide audience. Garth Brooks is the only previous winner. He won in 2005.
And in one of the night's most anticipated moments, Kenny Rogers received the CMA's Willie Nelson lifetime achievement award and was saluted by Jennifer Nettles, Darius Rucker and Rascal Flatts.
"It's been a hell of a month," Rogers said.