Luckily, PEOPLE was at the show to catch all the fun. Here are 7 of the night’s best unseen moments.
1. STANDING O’S
The celebrity section tends to offer a much more generous share of standing ovations than the rest of the audience at these events – and that held true Wednesday night.
Still, the most spontaneous reaction of the night had to come during the Oak Ridge Boys‘ performance of “Elvira,” which got the celebs on their feet at the sound of its first familiar notes. No one seemed more excited than Underwood, who danced and sang every word with a passion that left you thinking she’d been doing this since she was a little girl.
2. A WAY WITH WORDS
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3. PUPPY LOVE
But Fairchild underplayed the odd encounter.
During a commercial break, Leslie Mosier, owner of Internet sensation Doug the Pug, wove her way over to Bryan, his wife, Caroline Boyer, Urban and Kidman with her well-dressed portly pooch in her arms. After the foursome showered a little affection on Doug, Mosier plopped him down in their laps so she could get the pic.
Be on the lookout for one adorable celebrity shot floating around cyberspace (The pooch already shared this priceless shot with Blake Shelton.)
4. UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
The fans packed onto the floor had to stand the entire night, but their reward was intimate off-camera encounters with the stars.
When Bryan hung out on stage for several minutes as he awaited his cue, he slapped hands with the crowd, threw a guitar pick, shook his famous booty, and struck an Elvis pose – complete with curled lip.
Before Shelton levitated onto the stage on a concealed lift, he waded into the crowd and took the time to sign autographs, shake hands and extend knuckle bumps.
5. HERO WORSHIP
Stapleton is an industry favorite, and when he took the stage to perform “Parachute,” the reactions in the celebrity section revealed some of his biggest fans: Rhett, McGraw and Brett Eldredge.
Rhett and Eldredge both swayed and vigorously bobbed along to the music, and at one point McGraw was pounding out the beat with his fist.
Esposito, the president and CEO of Warner Music Nashville, good-naturedly wiped the wetness off as Weaver could be seen apologizing profusely – and no doubt feeling relieved that Cam is a Sony artist.
7. HELLO, TIM, YOU MIGHT WANT TO GET OVER TO THE ARENA
McGraw took “fashionably late” to extremes when he arrived in his seat over an hour and a half after the show’s start, with 17-year-old daughter Maggie as his date. Less than 45 minutes later, he accepted the night’s biggest prize, the fan-voted Video of the Year, for “Humble and Kind.”