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Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan take top honors at Country Music Association Awards

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NASHVILLE — One of the top moments of this year’s Country Music Association Awards came courtesy of a pop star. Justin Timberlake joined his friend Chris Stapleton on stage for a performance of “Tennessee Whiskey” and “Drink You Away” during the CMAs on Wednesday night in Nashville.

It was a good night for Stapleton, who snagged three awards, including male vocalist of the year.

“About two years ago, I lost my dad, and I made this record thinking about the music he would have liked,” an emotional Stapleton said when he won the album of the year award for “Traveller.” “This is an unbelievable thing for me, and I’m not going to take it lightly.”

The show was hosted again this year by singers Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley. As was to be expected, there were jokes about a high-profile breakup, but in this case, it wasn’t about this summer’s split of the genre’s superstars Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert.

“And of course, we can’t ignore the breakup that rocked our world,” Underwood said as the camera panned to Muppets Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog.

Lambert took home the trophy for female vocalist of the year, and Luke Bryan was named entertainer of the year.