Best: Brothers Osborne Begin Their Reign
Walking away with two awards and a brief but well-received performance under their belt, Brothers Osborne were one of the night's biggest surprises, and they may have been more shocked about it than anyone. They came into the evening as early winners – they were named New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year the week before – and then went on to snatch the Vocal Duo of the Year award away from defending champs Florida Georgia Line. Their gracious acceptance speech was an emotional high point of the night, full of bewildered phrases like "What the hell?" and "How is this happening?" And all of the arena tried to match TJ Osborne's booming bass vocal and the supercharged handclaps on "It Ain't My Fault." But as fun as it was to watch the duo experience a career breakthrough on live TV, the best part may be what their double win says about country's future – that ever-bigger production isn't necessarily the only path forward. A back-to-basics approach can still connect. C.P.