Urban beat out Chris Stapleton, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney for the prize.
The Australian performer said he wished his dad was alive to see him win.
The 2018 Country Music Association Awards have started with Garth Brooks leading a solemn tribute to the 12 people killed during a shooting at a Southern California country music bar last week.
Brooks said the victims were “lost too soon” and urged viewers and the audience to “celebrate their lives.” He then took off his hat and asked everyone to join him in a moment of silence. The names of those killed were shown on a black screen for television audiences.
Authorities are still trying to determine what led a former Marine to attack the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks on Nov. 7 during a country music dance night that drew area college students and other young people.
After the moment of silence, the show began with a rousing performance of Luke Bryan’s song “What Makes You Country.”
Carrie Underwood will be working triple-duty at the 2018 Country Music Association Awards as co-host, performer and nominee.
The singer, who is hosting the show alongside Brad Paisley for the 11th time, is pregnant and will hit the stage Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee.
Underwood says it will be interesting to try to sing with her baby bump. She says, “I can make it through one song.”
The CMA Awards will also feature performances by Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha.
The show may also pay tribute to the 12 people who were killed at a Southern California country music bar last week. Paisley says the producers will figure out an appropriate way to honor the victims.