The Album of the Year trophy was handed out to Luke Combs at the 2022 CMA Awards, for Growin' Up, edging out contenders Maren Morris' Humble Quest, Miranda Lambert's Palomino, Lainey Wilson's Sayin' What I'm Thinkin' and Old Dominion's Time, Tequila & Therapy. This award is given to both the artist and the producers of the project.

The 32-year-old North Carolina native appeared shocked by the announcement. After giving a kiss to his wife, Nicole, he shook hands with fellow friends and artists while making his way up to the stage alongside his co-producers, Chip Matthews and Jonathan Singleton.

“Oh, man. I was not expecting this,” Combs began. “I don’t want to waste too much of your time. I’m thankful anytime I get to stand up here. But the real people to be thankful for are these two gentlemen standing behind me, Chip Matthews and Jonathan Singleton. These guys worked their tails off on this album. Chip might have slept only two hours since we put this record out.”

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Combs then handed the trophy over to Matthews, who shared a short message of thanks. “I’ve been here a long time and I owe a lot of people in this room a lot of gratitude, but mainly Luke, Johnathan, Kathy, SONY, and my mom, thank you.”

Growin' Up, Combs third full-length studio project, debuted at No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart upon its June release, and that's not all: The record set a new benchmark for country albums in 2022, selling more equivalent album units than any other album in the genre so far that year during its opening week. Its track list includes a megawatt Lambert duet, plus two (and counting) chart-topping singles.

The 2022 CMA Awards air live from Nashville on Wednesday night (Nov. 9) on ABC. Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning are the co-hosts for the show.

Country Stars Walk the Red Carpet at the 2022 CMA Awards

Country stars flocked to Nashville on Wednesday, Nov. 9 for the 2022 CMA Awards. The artists also brought their best looks to the red carpet. Carrie Underwood brought the drama with a long blue gown, top-nominated Lainey Wilson opted for a velvet version of her classic bell bottoms and hosts Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning looked snazzy in suits. Here are some of best dressed, and biggest stars, that graced the CMA Awards red carpet.

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