LONDON, Ont. –Dallas Smith was the grand winner of the Canadian Country Music Association awards ceremony on Monday night, taking home three trophies, including Artist of the Year in a mind-blowing event live in front of thousands spectators in person.
The 43-year-old man from Langley, British Columbia, who performed his single “Hide From a Broken Heart” for the fully vaccinated crowd at Budweiser Gardens, also won the Male Artist of the Year award and single of the year for “Like A Man.”
Smith won the title of Best Artist for the third consecutive year, beating Brett Kissel of Flat Lake, Alta .; Dean Brody of Smithers, BC; MacKenzie Porter of Medicine Hat, Alta .; and the Reklaws of Cambridge, Ontario.
The party marked the return of the CCMA show to the live events realm for the first time since hosting Calgary in 2019.
Smith, accepting his first prize of the evening, thanked the organizers for “doing what they need to do to bring people back into a building and bring this genre and live music back to life.”
Behind the scenes, he called his Artist of the Year award “the icing on the cake” of a weekend spent with country music fans and the performers in person.
“I had this date on the calendar for quite a while, (it’s) meaning getting back together for a lot of people in the industry,” he said. “Last year we did what we could with the CCMAs… but now we’re more back to normal and where it should be.”
The Reklaws, a brother-sister duo of Jenna and Stuart Walker, took home the best group or duo of the year, thanking their parents – “the first duo to shine in our eyes,” Stuart said in his acceptance speech. and again behind the scenes.
Tenille Townes of Grand Prairie, Alta., Took home two awards, taking home the title of best female artist for the third year in a row and adding an album of the year trophy for “The Lemonade Stand.”
Townes called Monday’s show “surreal,” saying behind the scenes that she felt “honored to be a part of the Canadian country music community” after a week of events also topped off with Patricia’s induction. Conroy to the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.
“I just think of all these heroes, these legendary female artists that I grew up listening to… and thinking to myself, ‘Man, what a dream it would be to follow in these footsteps someday,” ”Townes said. “It’s so surreal for me to be part of chasing that circle and… I don’t even know if it’s deep enough yet.”
Drag queen turned country music diva Priyanka injected some glamor alongside her co-host Lindsay Ell of Calgary after COVID-19 restrictions turned last year’s show into a scaled-down virtual event .
The two kicked off the show with “Canada’s Drag Race” winner Priyanka in an asymmetric blue sequined mini dress, “Let’s Go Girls! And sing the first verse of “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” by Shania Twain. A sequin-draped Ell has joined a partial duet on Bonnie Raitt’s “Something to Talk About”.
Earlier, Priyanka stopped to take photos with fans on the red carpet, showing off a dazzling twist on the Canadian tuxedo – a studded denim bodysuit with a matching fringed jacket, boots and cowboy hat. She said the look was a tribute to the denim dress worn at the 2001 American Music Awards by Britney Spears, which was recently released from a 13-year-old guardianship.
Priyanka, known as Mark Suknanan of Toronto, said attending the CCMA Awards was “a dream come true.”
“I can play, I can host, I can be a drag queen,” she said. “People always say country music is so conservative. So it’s nice to show up, to be accepted and to be loved so that people can see that we’re all in the same boat… I’m very used to being an outcast in a room, but in this room I’m not. “
Priyanka later appeared on stage in a cow print jumpsuit, with long fringes along the sleeves and a head-to-toe black leather ensemble that was ripped off to reveal a multi-colored bodysuit as she performed her recent single. released “Queen of the countryside.”
Her outfits were praised by the Washboard Union, winner of nine CCMA awards and presenters on Monday’s show.
“I’m delighted to see Priyanka here giving us a hard time in the wardrobe department,” said Chris Duncombe, the bearded member of the three-man group, before announcing that Townes was the female artist of the year.
Robyn Ottolini of Uxbridge, Ont., Took home the Rising Star award while Kissel took home the Fan’s Choice Trophy.
Kissel, who was not present on Monday, also won three awards at a ceremony on Sunday night in London, where most of the awards were presented.
He won the award for best video for “Make A Life, Not A Living”, as well as a special live innovation award for his tour, “Brett Kissel: Live At The Drive-In”. His production company won the award for best country or special music program for an hour-long documentary on the tour.
Smith also took home the best-selling album of the year on Sunday’s pre-award show while Ell took home the interactive artist of the year award. Brody and the Reklaws had the best-selling Canadian single of the year with “Can’t Help Myself”.
Monday’s show was broadcast live on the Global TV app and Amazon Prime Video, and an encore presentation airs on Global TV on Friday.
The Reklaws, who capped the show with a performance of their single “What The Truck” with Sacha, had topped the artist award categories with six nominations coming this weekend, while Smith, Kissel and Ell had. each five.
American country star Chris Stapleton, who won six Country Music Association Awards earlier this month, performed “You Should Probably Leave” virtually from Sioux Falls, SD Thomas Rhett and Walker Hayes also performed virtually, both of Nashville.
The CCMA has a vaccination policy in place for all Country Music Week events leading up to and including the awards ceremony. COVID-19 cases increased in Ontario this month, with 788 new infections reported on Monday.
Participants, including performers, presenters, their teams, and guests were required to be fully immunized to participate in the events. Shots of the crowd on the show showed groups of spectators wearing masks, which organizers said numbered around 4,000.
The CCMA awards return to Calgary in 2022, the organization announced on Sunday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 29, 2021.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of Facebook and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.