After being announced as the New Artist of the Year, Allen shared a kiss with his wife Alexis, who was seated beside him.
As he entered the stage to accept the trophy, Allen was left speechless and in tears as the crowd showcased their support with a massive standing ovation.
“First, I want to thank my father, who’s no longer with us, for introducing me to country music,” Allen said.
He went on to thank his wife, kids, his mom, team and more. He went on to reflect on his journey to where he is today.
He also gave a shoutout to his fellow nominees Gabby Barrett, Ingrid Andress, Mickey Guyton and HARDY as well as his hometown in Delaware.
The official CMA Award ballot states: “This award goes to the artist, whether individual or a group, who is known primarily as a country artist, who has in the eligibility period demonstrated the most significant creative growth and development in overall consumption or chart activity, live performance and/or national media recognition related to the launch of their career. Any artist who has previously won a CMA Award (except Song of the Year, Musical Event of the Year and Music Video of the Year) or who has twice been a final nominee for the Horizon Award or New Artist of the Year Award is ineligible for nomination.”
The eligibility period for the 2021 show is July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.
The 55th Annual CMA Awards featured performances from Luke Combs, Jimmie Allen, Gabby Barrett, Brothers Osborne, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Dan + Shay, Jennifer Hudson, Miranda Lambert, Old Dominion, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban, and Zac Brown Band.
Additionally, the show included star-studded collaborations by Chris Young and Kane Brown, Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde, Mickey Guyton, Brittney Spencer and Madeline Edwards, Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, BRELAND and HARDY.
Country singers Trace Adkins, Ingrid Andress, Kelsea Ballerini, Deana Carter, Russell Dickerson, Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, Lady A, Scotty McCreery, Darius Rucker, Lainey Wilson, and Trisha Yearwood were on hand to present during the ceremony.
Lauren Daigle, Faith Fennidy, Freddie Freeman, Amy Grant, Dulé Hill, Elle King, Zachary Levi, Hayley Orrantia, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Susan Sarandon, Saycon Sengbloh and Kurt Warner also made special appearances throughout the broadcast.
Hosted by Luke Bryan, the 2021 CMA Awards broadcasted live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 8/7c on ABC.