A much-deserving Hunter Hayes took home the honors for New Artist of the Year at the 2012 CMA Awards, beating odds-on favorites Lee Brice and Brantley Gilbert to win the coveted award, just as we predicted.

The 21-year-old musician, who plays multiple instruments and writes his own songs, took to the stage in shock, blurting out, "I don't even know what to do right now!" He thanked God, his family, fans, label, management and crew for the honor, which derived from the success of his No. 1 single 'Wanted' -- which he performed on the show earlier in the evening.

Hayes can look forward to much more success, since he has been hand-picked to open for Carrie Underwood on her enormous Blown Away Tour, which is whirling across the country into 2013.