Toby Keith took home three awards Wednesday in Country Music Television’s Flameworthy Video Music Awards show, including video of the year for his patriotic song “American Soldier.”
“This is a very important award for me because this is voted on by music lovers all over the place,” Keith said. “I thank you all. ... Don’t forget our brothers and sisters overseas making it free for us tonight.”
Keith said the song is dedicated to the soldiers fighting in Iraq and their families.
“It’s a really nasty thing going on over there right now,” he said. “All the anti-war people are standing around saying ‘I told you so,’ but there were a lot of reasons for them going over there and they had no choice.”
The video for Keith and Willie Nelson’s hit duet “Beer for My Horses” won in the collaborative video and director of the year categories.
Dolly Parton hosted the live fan-voted annual awards show, which included performances by Keith, Parton, Alison Krauss, Sheryl Crow, Alan Jackson and Keith Urban.
Kenny Chesney captured the hottest video award for “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems.”
“I want to thank a bunch of people in the British Virgin Islands for letting us invade for a week,” Chesney said. “I had more fun making this video than any other video shoot, basically because we were in an environment that I loved.”
Chesney also won male video of the year for “There Goes My Life.”
Dierks Bentley won breakthrough video of the year for “What Was I Thinkin’,” while Brad Paisley’s “Celebrity” received the cameo award for appearances by Jason Alexander, Jim Belushi, Little Jimmy Dickens, Trista Rehn and William Shatner.
“I’m surprised. I was beginning to wonder if there was an age limit for nominations and stuff,” cracked Dickens, a longtime Grand Ole Opry star.
The video for Rascal Flatts’ song “I Melt,” nominated for four awards, won for group/duo video of the year. Shot in Miami’s South Beach, it caused a stir because it shows guitarist Joe Don Rooney’s backside, and revealing shower and bedroom shots of a female model.
Shania Twain’s “Forever and For Always” won female video of the year. Twain said she enjoys the behind-the-scenes, creative process of making videos, but not the repetition of being in front of the camera.
“It’s a tough thing to do,” Twain said. “If you’re a live performer it’s tough to do the same thing over and over and over and over again.”
Reba McEntire received Country Music Television’s Johnny Cash Visionary Award. The award was renamed this year in honor of Cash, who died Sept. 12.
The award recognizes an artist’s musical vision, innovative videos and pioneering initiatives. The Dixie Chicks won it in 2002, the first year it was given, and Cash received it last year.
McEntire, a successful singer and actress, said the award has extra meaning because of Cash.
“Johnny Cash was the ultimate visionary for country music,” she said. “He took country music around the world and probably had some influence on every artist in this room.”
Last year’s awards show drew one of the largest audiences in CMT’s history with more than 8.3 million viewers.