Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic crowded all the major country awards shows — the Academy of Country Music Awards, Country Music Association Awards, and Country Music Television Music Awards — into the fall. With performance and venue restrictions on top of it all, it was hard for a show to stand out (unless it was for a bad reason, like the COVID-addled CMAs). Now in 2021, the stars and audiences are (hopefully) vaccinated and the shows are back into their regular slots. At April’s ACM Awards, this meant a low-stakes show full of fun live performances and not much else. Two months later, the CMT Music Awards brought more of the same, touting a collaboration-stacked bill full of country’s biggest and brightest (except for Maren Morris and Gabby Barrett, who had to drop out for personal reasons), and a few awards for music videos too. It wasn’t a show to remember, but it was still indeed a show — something that seemed far out of reach last June. Here are the highs, lows, and whoas of the 2021 CMT Music Awards.