2015 CMA Awards: 12 Best and Worst Moments

From Luke Bryan's before-our-eyes maturation to the funeral of bro country

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Best Acting His Age: Luke Bryan

Best Acting His Age: Luke Bryan

For the first time in his CMA Awards history, Luke Bryan came across as a career artist. Sure, he won Entertainer of the Year last year and has performed numerous times on the big show, but there was always the lingering sense that it could all be over in the blink of an eye — or the shake of a hip. Not so this year. Instead, Bryan cemented his future in country music. Eschewing the pyrotechnics and cheesy production of his peers, the singer shed his bro-country skin and relied on a strong vocal and wise song choice in "Strip It Down." Just as impressive was his graciousness in congratulating upset winner Chris Stapleton, who co-wrote Bryan's "Drink a Beer," in the Male Vocalist race. "Watching Chris Stapleton have this night is so uplifting," Bryan said after his own Entertainer victory, savvy enough to sense the country paradigm was shifting. Bryan will turn 40 next year — and it's already suiting him well. Joseph Hudak

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