Here's what stood out tonight for better or worse (plus the complete list of winners, of course!):
Winning Intro: The CMTs kicked up some hype for the pairing of Toby Keith and Kristen Bell as cohosts with a video chronicling their fierce battle to be a solo host. Matthew McConaughey, Jon Bon Jovi, "60 Minutes' " Steve Kroft, and no less than President Barack Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney weighed in -- and it was funny!
Best Couple Alert: It's a toss-up between Carrie Underwood and hubby Mike Fisher and Underwood and Brad Paisley. Fisher gave his wife a huge hug and kiss when she and Paisley won Collaborative Video of the Year for "Remind Me" -- and amiably held her purse while she was onstage! Then Paisley thanked "this beautiful woman for being in the video, or else it's just a dork walking through the desert...To my wife at home, there's nothing going on between me and Mike."
"Not yet!" Underwood cracked! We'll call it a cuteness draw.
Most Random Presenters: Admittedly, we can't quite understand why Bell was a cohost, besides the reason she gave ("I love country music!") but we're even more confused as to why Denise Richards was there to introduce a performance by the Band Perry. We kinda get Dario Franchitti (he and wife Ashley Judd live in Nashville and IndyCar is a big deal), but what about Tony Hawk and Hayden Panettiere? And, um, Dax Shepard? "I know a lot of you are probably thinking that my fiance, Kristen Bell, got me this gig, but it was actually my mistress, Tom Arnold," he joked. (Arnold was there, in case you were thinking the randomness had just reached a whole new level.)
Best Performance: Well, it's a toss-up between...um, all of them? Live music is what the CMT Awards (and the CMAs, and the ACMS) are really all about, and the lineup didn't disappoint, from the Pistol Annies, to Kenney Chesney to Lady Antebellum joining forces with Hot Chelle Rae to open the show. But we may have to give it to Willie Nelson, who was backed by the Zac Brown Band on "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die." Any questions?
Most-Deserved Wins: We don't judge. We were perfectly happy to see Underwood win the biggest fan-generated award of the night, Video of the Year, for "Good Girl." Same goes for belt-buckle recipients like Lambert, Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum and all the rest.
- Video of the Year: "Good Girl," Carrie Underwood
- Male Video of the Year: "I Don't Want This Night to End," Luke Bryan
- Female Video of the Year: "Over You," Miranda Lambert
- Group Video of the Year: "We Owned the Night," Lady Antebellum
- Duo Video of the Year: "I Got You," Thompson Square
- USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year: "The Trouble With Girls," Scotty McCreery
- Collaborative Video of the Year: "Remind Me," Brad Paisley with Carrie Underwood
- CMT Performance of the Year: "Tattoos on This Town," Jason Aldean from CMT Artists of the Year