The musical performances may be the big tune-in draw of the CMA Awards each year, but it's the acceptance speeches that often result in water-cooler fodder the next day. Whether they're teary-eyed and endearing or funny and over-the-top, those two minutes or so at the podium can define an entire CMA telecast. As we wait to hear what winners have to say at Wednesday's CMAs, we look back at 15 of the most buzzed-about and unexpected speeches from Miranda Lambert, Loretta Lynn, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson and more.
Entertainer of the Year, 1978
"I had this dress made in case I won. And about five minutes ago I was hoping I wouldn't win because I busted the front of it. My daddy said that's what I got for putting 50 pounds of mud in a five pound bag."
Entertainer of the Year, 1999
"I have to meet Dolly Parton tonight after the show. She's my absolute biggest inspiration of all time, and she can't leave the building until I at least meet her!"
Horizon Award, 1984
Naomi Judd: "Well, slap the dog and spit in the fire!"
Wynonna Judd: "All I wanted was a pretty dress."
Song of the Year, 2012
"I lost my brother in a car wreck when I was 14 years old, and later in life when I decided I wanted to be a country singer, my dad always told me, 'Son, you should write a song about your brother. I lost my dad in January, and it's so amazing to me that tonight, even after he's gone, he's still right."
Female Vocalist of the Year, 2009
"I want to thank every single person in this room tonight for not running up onstage during the speech." (This was clearly in reference to Kanye West's hijacking of her MTV Video Music Awards acceptance speech earlier that year.)
Country Music Hall of Fame Induction during the 1993 CMA Awards
"I really thought you had to die to get here, so I went ahead and dressed up just in case."
Song of the Year, 2007 (for the divorce-inspired "Give It Away," recorded by George Strait)
"I want to thank my ex-wife, Amy…. She surely deserves half of this song and half of this award, too."
Female Vocalist of the Year, 2011
"I don't know what's going on. I just told Blake, 'I think we need to go to church!'" (Husband Blake Shelton also won Male Vocalist honors that night.)
Female Vocalist of the Year, 1987
"I'm gonna tell you something mama said when we first came to Nashville: 'We can go back. We can go back home. You don't have to do this if you don't want to. You'll be doing something that I never could have done.' And it takes a lot of hard work. Any of you young ladies setting at home watching on TV, I gotta tell you, this is a great profession…so work hard and show 'em what you can do."
Male Vocalist of the Year, 1992
This was Gill's second consecutive win in this category. He was also the host of the awards broadcast that year.
"Now I know how Michael Jordan feels to repeat. This is very cool. My only goal tonight was to be a good host, and that really took my mind off these awards, but this puts my mind right back on them. My other goal is to change clothes more times than Reba. I don't know if I'm gonna get it accomplished, but we've got two hours. Watch what happens, kids!"
Entertainer of the Year, 2010
"My hero, Little Jimmy Dickens has a saying: 'If you see a turtle on a fencepost, he had help getting up there'…. It sounds like a cliché when you say thanks to the fans, but the great thing about country fans is when you say 'fans,' I don't even mean mine. You guys are loyal to everyone in this room. This is the most amazing, loyal fanbase in the world."
Male Vocalist of the Year, 1992
"Most of the people that camp out for those tickets, I think you guys are crazy — but I appreciate it!"
Female Vocalist and Male Vocalist of the Year, 2000
"I would rather not have won it if Faith hadn't won it," said McGraw, while Hill was looking for someone to share the moment with. "I feel so alone! My husband's not out here. I don't know who to hug. Can I hug somebody?"
Entertainer of the Year, 1972
"I'm really happy, but the only thing I'm sad about is that my husband has gone hunting and couldn't make it back to share my happiness with me."
Vocal Duo of the Year, 1995
"No doubt, we're the ones watching the greatest show on earth every night. Country music fans, you ought to win Entertainer of the Year every daggum year. It's wild out there!"