When Shay Mooney's standing ovation-earning ending of "Tequila" is a few points down in a list of big moments in a show, it was a busy night. Dan + Shay opened the 2019 CMT Artists of the Year ceremony on a high note (quite literally), but the evening only got bigger from there.

From Breakout Artist of the Year Ashley McBryde to country music icon and Artist of a Lifetime recipient Reba McEntire, CMT's 2019 honorees showed off exactly what makes them each special and deserving of these awards. Artists of the Year winners Luke Combs and Carrie Underwood were not in attendance on Wednesday night (Oct. 17) at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center, but the former received a sweet tribute from a star friend, while the latter took viewers live to her Cry Pretty Tour 360 stop in Cleveland, Ohio, for a peek into her mind-blowing trek.

Back in Music City, the 2019 CMT Artists of the Year ceremony featured a number of tear-jerking moments: an unexpected Kane Brown appearance, a beautiful prayer from Thomas Rhett and pretty much McEntire's entire time onstage. Read on for our five favorite moments from the event:

LOOK: More From the 2019 CMT Artists of the Year Ceremony

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