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Miranda Lambert won her third straight female video of the year award for the emotional “Over You,” a song she co-wrote with husband Blake Shelton about the untimely death of his brother. The win marked another emotional moment involving the song and its video, which was shot just weeks after Lambert lost her father-in-law, a close friend and her childhood pet. Video director Trey Fanjoy also lost her father just four days before the shoot.

“Behind the camera and in front of the camera, the whole video was just trying to hold it together,” Lambert said backstage.

Rising duo Thompson Square was nominated twice for duo video of the year and won for “I Got You.” Former “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery took home breakthrough video of the year for “The Trouble with Girls” just hours before his high school graduation ceremony in Raleigh, N.C. Lady Antebellum won group video of the year for “We Owned the Night.”

And Jason Aldean, a multiple nominee in the past, won his first belt buckle, taking home CMT performance of the year for “Tattoos on This Town.”

“This is actually my first one of these, so this is pretty cool,” Aldean said after double-timing it to the stage. “I’ve got to say a big thank you to CMT for still playing videos. Thank you guys so much. It’s such an important part of what we do, and how to get our face (out there), and still connect with our fans.”

The night started with President Barack Obama and his likely Republican challenger Mitt Romney making an appearance in taped video segments.

Like you might expect, neither was willing to offend voters on either side of the aisle in a “dirty politics” debate over who should host the show, Bell or country star Toby Keith.

“This is one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make since I’ve been in office, but I decided I want them both,” Obama said.

Romney then also suggested they work as co-hosts and added, “See, I just put two people back to work.”

With the decision made, Keith and Bell arrived at the stage in a huge replica of a red solo cup, in deference to Keith’s hit song.

The night was filled with several strong performances, but none got quite the reaction of Willie Nelson’s rare appearance to play his new song, “Roll Me Up.”

Keith, Jamey Johnson, Darius Rucker and Zac Brown Band joined him on stage to sing the ode to marijuana as a smoke machine rolled on high in the background.

Lady A singer Charles Kelley sang along, holding his cup in the air, and the performance received a long standing ovation.

In a couple of other notable mashups, Paisley joined Hank Williams Jr. on a new outside stage to perform their collaboration “I’m Gonna Get Drunk and Play Hank Williams” and Journey joined Rascal Flatts on “Banjo” and “Don’t Stop Believin’” to close the show.

Lambert also performed “Takin’ Pills,” with her trio Pistol Annies. If references were counted, Lambert, Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe would have been the big winners.

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