"Why does Chris Stapleton always win?"
That was until Keith Urban surprisingly won the top prize - entertainer of the year - moments before the three-hour show wrapped Wednesday night. Carrie didn't let down her fans: After Paisley begged for a hint as to whether she is expecting a boy or a girl, she finally declared, "Oh my gosh, Willie".
'I wish my dad was alive to see this, ' Keith said during his heartfelt speech.
Garth Brooks opened the show with a minute of silence for the 12 people shot dead last week at a bar in Southern California that was popular for country line dancing.
"Tonight, let's celebrate their lives", Brooks said.
"God, I love country music, man", said Combs. "God bless country music".
Elsewhere on broadcast, most shows held about even with their prior week performance.
Carrie was joined onstage by co-host Brad Paisley, who joked, "Remember last time, when I accidentally revealed the gender of your baby?"
Both Brooks, 56, and Yearwood, 54, got emotional during his performance.
Kelsea Ballerini also impressed with her first live performance of new track Miss Me More, and Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line hit the stage to sing their worldwide hit Meant To Be. "I know that you root for everybody, you're glad that everybody's there, you're glad your friends are nominated for things, but I just try to think who's killing it, who's crushing it this year". "His songs are not better than the other artists", one Twitter user wrote.