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/ Source: TODAY
By Ree Hines

The 2016 CMA Awards are over, but country music's biggest night won't be forgotten thanks to some truly amazing moments.

Randy Travis claimed the first and best showstopper of the 50th anniversary event when he took the stage and stole the spotlight by singing just one word.

Randy Travis
In a moving moment, Randy Travis sang the last line of the opening medley at the 50th annual CMA Awards on Nov. 2, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.Gustavo Caballero / Getty Images

Travis, who suffered a debilitating stroke three years ago, stood alongside legends Charley Pride, Reba McEntire, Charlie Daniels and more as they ended the evening's opening medley with his hit "Forever and Ever, Amen." But it was Travis who had the last word — by singing the final "amen" to a cheering audience.

RELATED: Randy Travis stuns at Country Music Hall of Fame with 'Amazing Grace' performance

That brief performance set a high bar for the evening, and these memorable moments maintained it:

Hello, Dolly!

Dolly Parton received a well-earned Lifetime Achievement Award Wednesday night — and heaps of praise from her peers.

Dolly Parton poses in the press room with the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award during the 50th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.
Dolly Parton received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award following a star-studded tribute.Evan Agostini / AP

Parton's "9 to 5" co-star, Lily Tomlin, told the crowd that "Dolly is country music," and McEntire, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Nettles and Pentatonix proved it by belting out her hits.


Beyoncé may not be the first name that comes to mind when fans think of country, but the pop and R&B superstar established her place in the genre.

Beyonce performs onstage with Emily Robison, Natalie Maines, and Martie Maguire of Dixie Chicks at the 50th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 2, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Beyonce wowed the country music crowd with a performance alongside the Dixie Chicks.Rick Diamond / Getty Images

She put on a heel-kicking performance of her track "Daddy Lessons" with the Dixie Chicks.

Alright, alright, alright

The star-studded night even saw Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey hit the stage to present an award, but he put on a performance of his own in the audience.

The actor couldn't keep his boots still for that "Daddy Lessons" number.


Taylor Swift made an unannounced appearance that stunned the crowd.

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift made a surprise appearance at the Bridgestone Arena Wednesday.Charles Sykes / AP

The two-time Entertainer of the Year Award winner presented this year's award to Garth Brooks.

RELATED: 'Forever Country' brings singers from past and present together for epic video

Feel the love

Brooks didn't simply accept an award at the CMAs — he and wife Trisha Yearwood delivered a love letter to fans — with a medley of heart-tugging country classics.

Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood made sure everyone felt the love at the CMA Awards.Charles Sykes / AP

From "Golden Ring" to "Rose Garden" to "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man," the couple made beautiful music together.

Follow Ree Hines on Twitter.