NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) - Florida Georgia Line and newcomer Kacey Musgraves were the early winners on Wednesday at the Country Music Association awards, one of the industry's most coveted honors.
Florida Georgia Line's love song "Cruise" beat out competition from Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Darius Rucker and Musgraves for the single of the year, and the band also won for best vocal duo of the year.
Musgraves, 25, took home the award for new artist of the year on the success of her album "Same Trailer Different Park," her fourth studio album but first with a major record label.
It was the first CMA wins for both Florida Georgia Line and Musgraves.
Florida Georgia Line, which has ridden the success of their 2012 album, "Here's to the Good Times," also helped kick off the awards show from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.
The group emerged from the audience to help entertainer of the year nominee Luke Bryan open the telecast, singing "Cruise" and Bryan's hit "That's My Kind of Night."
The song of the year award, which honors songwriting, was given to Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington and Jimmy Yeary for "I Drive Your Truck" and performed by Lee Brice.
Hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley gave the awards ceremony a tongue-in-cheek tenor with an introduction that poked fun at feuding artists. The two singers also played comedic renditions of the 1975 pop hit "Why Can't We Be Friends?" by War and pop singer Robin Thicke's 2013 hit "Blurred Lines."
Crossover star Taylor Swift and Musgraves lead CMA nominees with six nods each. Husband-and-wife singers Blake Shelton and Lambert each picked up five nominations.
Jason Aldean, George Strait, Shelton, Swift and Bryan are the nominees for entertainer of the year, the night's top prize.
(Reporting by Vernell Hackett; Writing by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Eric Beech)