Country music stars Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley on stage at the Country Music Association awards poked fun at the organization's quickly retracted restrictive media guidelines and President Donald Trump’s Twitter habits.
The musicians sang a parody of Underwood's 2005 hit "Before He Cheats" to riff on Trump's tendency for controversial tweets around North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who the president took to calling "Little Rocket Man" after provocative missile tests and a nuclear test.
"And it's fun to watch, yeah, that's for sure, 'till Little Rocket Man starts a nuclear war, and then maybe next time he'll think before he tweets," the pair sang.
Underwood told Paisley that producers required the show to be a "politics-free zone" before making jokes at expense of key figures in both political parties, as well as President Donald Trump.
Paisley, strapped with his guitar, then playfully asked if that meant he'd be barred from performing such songs as "Hold Me Closer, Bernie Sanders" and "Stand By Your Manafort."
The Country Music Association initially asked journalists covering the show to refrain from asking musicians about recent shootings or political happenings. Artists and journalists balked at the restrictions, which were quickly lifted.
The pair began on a solemn note. They dedicated Wednesday’s telecast to the victims of recent mass shootings and hurricanes.
The 10-time hosts opened the show at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena with Underwood naming the cities of Las Vegas, Charlottesville, Virginia, New York and Sutherland Springs, Texas. She said the past year has been one marked by tragedies that affected "countless lives, including many in our country music family."
She said that, like a family, they would "come together, pray together and sing together."
Paisley dedicated the show to "all those we've lost and all those who are still healing," saying they would never be forgotten.
Country crooner and guitarist Glen Campbell, who died in August, was honored at the CMA Awards during a touching performance of "Wichita Lineman" by Little Big Town and Jimmy Webb, who wrote the song.
Campbell also won an award: He posthumously won musical event of the year for "Funny How Time Slips Away" with Willie Nelson.
Rascal Flatts and Dierks Bentley also paid homage to Troy Gentry, one-half of the popular country duo Montgomery Gentry, who died in a helicopter crash in September. Eddie Montgomery later joined in for the performance of "My Town," as some audience members sang along with tears in their eyes.