CMAs crown champs

EntertainmentRonnie DunnBrad PaisleyKeith UrbanVince GillDeathNicole Kidman

Kenny Chesney won entertainer of the year and Brooks & Dunn's inspirational song "Believe" won three trophies, including single and song of the year, at the 40th Annual Country Music Assn. Awards on Monday night.

"This year has in ways been the most emotionally satisfying year and also the most emotionally draining year of my life," said Chesney, who went through a high-profile marriage and split with actress Renee Zellweger last year. "There have been so many ups and downs, it's been like a huge emotional roller coaster ride."

One of the night's more poignant moments came from a winner who wasn't there — Keith Urban. The Aussie country star, who last month entered a rehabilitation center for alcohol abuse, won male vocalist of the year for the second consecutive year.

When Urban's name was announced, he received a standing ovation, and his award was accepted by Ronnie Dunn. Dunn read a letter from Urban in which he thanked his friends and family and wife, actress Nicole Kidman, whom he married this year: "To my wife, Nicole, I love you. I'm looking forward to coming home and seeing you all soon."

Besides accepting the award for Urban, Dunn was busy accepting awards and also hosting the show along with his partner, Leon Eric "Kix" Brooks. The pair also won music video of the year for "Believe" and opened the night by performing "Building Bridges" with guests Vince Gill and Sheryl Crow.

The gospel-tinged "Believe" was co-written by Ronnie Dunn and Craig Wiseman, who also co-wrote Tim McGraw's smash "Live Like You Were Dying." Dunn and Wiseman won song-of-the-year honors for "Believe."

As expected, Brooks & Dunn also won the vocal duo award. The group has owned the category since 1992, winning every year except in 2000, when Montgomery Gentry won.

"American Idol" winner Carrie Underwood won female vocalist and the Horizon Award.

The multi-platinum band Rascal Flatts took the vocal group award, capping what singer Gary LeVox described as an "amazing year."

Brad Paisley, who was shut out last year despite six nominations, won album of the year for "Time Well Wasted."

Before Monday's show, he and Dolly Parton also won musical event of the year for their spiritual song "When I Get Where I'm Going." It was Parton's first CMA award since 1996.

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