Though the room was full of A-listers like Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, with their massive hit "Girl Crush," and Chris Stapleton, who has written songs for most of Nashville, owned the 2015 Country Music Association Awards.
Stapleton, who has written for Bryan, Kenny Chesney, George Strait and others, was Wednesday night's big winner with three awards — male vocalist, new artist and album of the year for "Traveller."
Everyone cheered him on, from Lambert to Bryan, who won entertainer of the year.
"Watching Chris Stapleton have this night is so uplifting," Bryan said onstage after he won the top award for a second time.
Stapleton, who was the lead singer of the bluegrass band The SteelDrivers, was on the verge of tears when he won his third prize at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
"About two years ago, I lost my dad and I made this record thinking about a lot of music he would like. … My mom is here tonight. I want to thank my mom," said Stapleton. "I'm not going to take it lightly. … I got to thank my wife again, she always pushes me to be the best I can be. … I gotta thank all my cousins in Kentucky."
'E.T.' screenwriter Mathison dies at 65
Melissa Mathison, the screenwriter who crafted the enchanting worlds of iconic family films including "E.T. the Extra Terrestrial," has died. She passed away Wednesday at age 65 after a bout with neuroendocrine cancer, her sister confirmed. The LA native had a humble but high-profile start — her first credited work was in assistant roles on "The Godfather: Part II" and "Apocalypse Now," before she broke out with her script for "The Black Stallion" in 1979. Throughout her career, she worked with directors like Frank Oz on "The Indian in the Cupboard" and Martin Scorsese on "Kundun." But history will most fondly remember her for fleshing out the story of that friendly, homesick alien E.T. "Melissa had a heart that shined with generosity and love and burned as bright as the heart she gave 'E.T.,' " said director Steven Spielberg.
Hosting: Khloé Kardashian's new talk show has a premiere date. The FYI channel says "Kocktails With Khloé" will start Jan. 20. Taped in a Los Angeles studio, it will be the gathering place for celebrity friends and family, who will join her on a set that replicates a home environment, complete with a dining area and a functional kitchen. There will be eight weekly episodes, FYI said Thursday.