Carrie Underwood took home the night's top prize during the 2021 CMT Music Awards on Wednesday night, winning Video of the Year for her collaboration with John Legend, "Hallelujah." The country star was on hand to accept the award, arriving on stage at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena after her pre-taped performance with NEEDTOBREATHE aired earlier that night.
"Fans, thank you so much, fans," Underwood began her acceptance speech for the fan-voted award. "You guys, you are the reason we are all here doing what we do, doing what we love, making music videos." She also thanked Legend, who co-wrote "Hallelujah" and sent her the song while she was working on her 2020 holiday album, My Gift. "John Legend, thank you for sending me this incredible song and agreeing to sing with me on it and making this incredible video that I am so proud of, and congratulations on what I think is your first CMT Award!" she said, also thanking video director Randee St. Nicholas.
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Underwood concluded, "God bless you guys. Thank you so much! Thank you, fans! Thank you, CMT!" After the show, she shared an additional message on Instagram. "Thank you FANS!!!" she wrote. "What an incredible night at the @cmt awards! @johnlegend and I took home #VideoOfTheYear !!! Thank you @randeestnicholas for your beautiful work...what a night!"
Wednesday night's win was Underwood's 23rd CMT Music Award, extending her reign as the show's most-awarded artist of all time, a record she first set in 2014 when she won her 10th trophy. Her first CMT Music Award was Breakthrough Video of the Year, which she won in 2006 for "Jesus, Take the Wheel." Underwood has now won Video of the Year a whopping nine times, an award no other artist has won more than three times. This was the Oklahoma native's third consecutive win, following her 2020 win for "Drinking Alone" and 2019's victory for "Cry Pretty."
In 2019, she talked to Entertainment Tonight about her fans' impressive voting abilities. "My husband was like, 'Oh my gosh, your fans like to vote,' and I was like, 'Well, that's how I'm here in the first place. They've been voting for me since day one. Since I was on American Idol. So they know the drill," she said. "I constantly have people telling me they voted for me on Idol, and that was 14 years ago. So now there's people that are like, 'Ever since I was a little kid, I would vote for you.'"