Country music's biggest night was a night of firsts. The 46th annual CMA Awards broadcast was arguably the most unpredictable in years, as it wasn't all the usual suspects who graced the stage to thank country radio, fans and God.

Blake Shelton leads the pack of 2012 winners with three trophies to add to his mantle. The country powerhouse and coach of "The Voice" shared his first win with wife Miranda Lambert, as co-writers of her touching single, "Over You," which was inspired by Blake's older brother who died in a car accident more than twenty years ago.

"Later in life when I decided I wanted to be a country singer, my dad always told me, 'Son, you should write a song about your brother," Blake said upon accepting their trophy. "I lost my dad in January, and it's amazing to me that tonight, even after he's gone, he's still right! I just needed the right person to sing this song with and the right person to sing it."

That person, Miranda, left the acceptance speech up to her husband, as she was too emotional to speak, tears welling in her eyes.

Next, Blake held onto his reign as Male Vocalist of the Year, winning that honor for the third year in a row. And for the first time in his career, the Oklahoma native won the CMA's top honor, Entertainer of the Year -- beating stiff competition in the category: Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney and 2010-2011 Entertainer champ, Taylor Swift.

(See a full list of 2012 CMA Awards winners below.)

"Entertainer of the Year? What are you talking about?!" Blake exclaimed upon accepting Entertainer honors. "When I moved to Nashville in 1994, I had two goals: one was to someday have a gold record and one was to someday be a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Entertainer of the Year ... what is this? I know I'm not out there on the road as much, so I don't know how this happened but I freakin' love it. I try to represent country music as best I can with everything I do, whether it's television, 'its touring, it's a lot of things. I love country music more than anybody in this room."

Flip Through CMA Red Carpet Photos


Blake and Miranda are once again the toast of the CMAs. Mrs. Shelton is, like her husband, a three time vocalist winner. She also shares Song of the Year honors on "Over You."

The first two televised awards of the night went to two first-time winners. Little Big Town has been nominated 12 times for a coveted CMA trophy and finally have their first wins: Single of the Year for their chart-topping, infectious "Pontoon," and a win for Vocal Group of the Year. The quartet's win in the latter category dethrones Lady Antebellum from the title for the first time in four years.

"We always kept showing up, believing and dreaming ... and it happened for us!" Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild said of the group's monumental win, after 15 years of making music together.

Erika Goldring, Getty Images
Erika Goldring, Getty Images

Thompson Square has also upset a long-running CMA reign. Keifer and Shawna Thompson have their first CMA trophy, taking home CMA Duo of the Year. Sugarland has won the honors the past five years.

Largely considered the second biggest honor of the night, Album of the Year also went to a newbie. Eric Church's critically-acclaimed, million-selling Chief gives the North Carolina native his first career CMA win.

"I spent a lot of my career wondering where I fit in ... too country, too rock," said Eric in his heartfelt acceptance speech. "I want to thank you guys for giving me somewhere to hang my hat tonight."

See a full list of 2012 CMA Award winners and nominees below. (*Winners in bold)

Entertainer of the Year

Jason Aldean

Kenny Chesney

Brad Paisley

*Blake Shelton - WINNER

Taylor Swift

Female Vocalist of the Year

Kelly Clarkson

*Miranda Lambert - WINNER

Martina McBride

Taylor Swift

Carrie Underwood

Male Vocalist of the Year

Jason Aldean

Luke Bryan

Eric Church

*Blake Shelton - WINNER

Keith Urban

Vocal Group of the Year

The Band Perry

Eli Young Band

Lady Antebellum

*Little Big Town - WINNERS

Zac Brown Band

Vocal Duo of the Year

Big & Rich

Love and Theft


The Civil Wars

*Thompson Square - WINNERS

New Artist of the Year

Lee Brice

Brantley Gilbert

*Hunter Hayes - WINNER

Love and Theft

Thompson Square

Album of the Year

Luke Bryan, Tailgates and Tanlines

*Eric Church, Chief - WINNER

Miranda Lambert, Four the Record

Dierks Bentley, Home

Lady Antebellum, Own the Night

Song of the Year (Award goes to songwriters)

Eli Young Band, "Even if It Breaks Your Heart" - written by Will Hoge and Eric Paslay

Blake Shelton, "God Gave Me You" - written by Dave Barnes

Dierks Bentley, "Home" - written by Dierks Bentley, Dan Wilson and Brett Beavers

*Miranda Lambert, "Over You" - written by Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton - WINNERS

Eric Church, "Springsteen" - written by Eric Church, Jeff Hyde and Ryan Tyndell

Single of the Year (Award goes to artist and producer)

Jason Aldean, "Dirt Road Anthem"

Blake Shelton, "God Gave Me You"

Dierks Bentley, "Home"

*Little Big Town, "Pontoon" - WINNERS

Eric Church, "Springsteen"

Musical Event of the Year

"Dixie Highway," Alan Jackson and Zac Brown Band

*"Feel Like a Rock Star," Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw - WINNERS

"Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die," Willie Nelson featuring Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson and Jamey Johnson

"Safe and Sound," Taylor Swift featuring the Civil Wars

"Stuck on You," Lionel Richie and Darius Rucker

Music Video of the Year

Eric Church, "Springsteen"

Kenny Chesney, "Come Over"

Miranda Lambert, "Over You"

Little Big Town, "Pontoon"

*Toby Keith, "Red Solo Cup" - WINNERS

Musician of the Year

Sam Bush

Paul Franklin

Dann Huff

Brent Mason

*Mac McAnally - WINNER