Keith Urban won video of the year Monday night at the Country Music Television Music Awards for his hit “Days Go By,” while Gretchen Wilson won in the breakthrough and female video categories.
“The fans are a passionate lot, and I love that,” Urban said. “It’s pretty overwhelming when you get that kind of love back from people like I’ve been getting.”
Urban, who was raised in Australia, also thanked his family.
“I’m very fortunate that they’ve always supported my music,” he said. “A lot of kids get the ’Get a real job’ thing and I never had that from them. I’m really grateful.”
Wilson won the breakthrough video award for her smash “Redneck Woman” and female video for “When I Think About Cheatin.”’ Both are from her debut album “Here For the Party,” which has sold 4 million copies.
“I’m an artist that has been extremely lucky. Things came very easy for me with ’Redneck Woman’ being as big a hit as it was,” said Wilson, who joined sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson during the show for a performance of Heart’s classic “Crazy On You.”
Kenny Chesney, dressed in a sleeveless blue T-shirt and jeans, opened the show with his hit “Keg in the Closet” and took a jab from host Jeff Foxworthy.
“Kenny Chesney will take his shirt off at the drop of a hat,” Foxworthy cracked. “I don’t blame him. If I was built like Kenny Chesney, I’d be up here in a thong right now.”
Chesney won best male video for “I Go Back.”
“These things never get old, especially this song. It’s a very personal song about how I lived my life growing up and how much music meant to my life growing up,” Chesney said.
Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss won collaborative video of the year for their duet “Whiskey Lullaby”; Rascal Flatts won best group/duo video for “Feels Like Today”; and Toby Keith won hottest video for “Whiskey Girl.”
Tim McGraw won most inspiring video for “Live Like You Were Dying”; and actor/director Rick Schroder won best director for the “Whiskey Lullaby” video.
Several actors presented awards or appeared on the show, including Dennis Hopper, Jeff Daniels, Andie McDowell, Gina Gershon and Drea de Matteo.
Hopper introduced Tricia Yearwood performing her new single, “Georgia Rain.”
McDowell gushed about sitting near country icon Loretta Lynn.
“I don’t want to bother her because I’m sure she gets bothered all of the time,” McDowell said. “I’m just enjoying sitting three people down from her.”
Lynn, who turns 70 this week, received CMT’s Johnny Cash Visionary Award and was honored by three generations of female country singers: Reba McEntire, Martina McBride and Gretchen Wilson.
“She was brutally honest and challenged the audience to think about the world a little bit differently,” McBride said of the woman who penned controversial songs such as “The Pill” in the 1970s.
Much like the namesake of the Cash award, Lynn has reached a critical peak late in her career, winning two Grammys for her recent album “Van Lear Rose.”
The album, which featured 13 songs written by Lynn, was a collaboration with White Stripes frontman Jack White and made many critics’ top 10 lists in 2004. Lynn and White appeared in music videos for the songs “Portland, Oregon” and “Miss Being Mrs.”
“At an age when most women seem to slow down, it seems Loretta is just getting started,” McEntire said. “Loretta has proven that she still has much to say and no one else can say it like her.”
Lynn cracked a few jokes with her presenters and said simply, “I want to thank you all and say how much I appreciate this award. I really do.”
Performers besides Chesney and Wilson included Keith, Big & Rich, Urban, Alan Jackson, McEntire and Paisley.