Perhaps HARDY said it best: "Lainey mania!" Her "wait in the truck" duet partner accidentally coined the phrase, even before Lainey Wilson took home the 2023 Entertainer of the Year trophy at the CMA Awards.
For the second year in a row, Lainey was the most-nominated artist going into Country Music's Biggest Night, even competing against herself with several of her nine nods. In the end, she'd take home five awards: Album for Bell Bottom Country, Female Vocalist, Musical Event and Music Video for "wait in the truck," and, of course, Entertainer.
That made her the first woman to win country music's highest honor since Taylor Swift back in 2011. Lainey wasn't afraid to point out that she'd done the work, touring with both Luke Combs and HARDY, and also headlining her own trek.
The Louisiana native continued to put out a strong string of hits, topping the chart with "Heart Like a Truck," "wait in the truck" and "Watermelon Moonshine." She even grabbed her first hit as Entertainer of the Year with her post-CMAs #1, "Save Me," with Jelly Roll. If you're counting, that's a total of six career number ones in just a couple years.
In a year when she revealed she'd been at home so rarely she could count the nights she'd spent in her own bed, Lainey did find time to squeeze in some personal satisfaction, introducing her boyfriend, Devlin "Duck" Hodges, at May's ACM Awards, where she also collected four trophies.
So what's ahead for country's new superstar in 2024?
She could pick up her first Grammys in February, as she competes for Best Country Album and Country Duo/Group performance. In May, she sets out on her Country's Cool Again tour, after several trips overseas to play Australia, the U.K. and Europe.
Meanwhile, expect her new single to take over the radio, as "Wildflowers and Wild Horses" makes its way up the chart.