Country Chatter

Favorite and Not So Favorite Moments from the CMA Awards


The 51st Annual CMA Awards brought out the stars for their show last night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The show was hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood for the tenth time, and while they did try to spread the word of ‘unity’ throughout the night, many of the moments from the show have, again, divided the country music world. Their comic timing seems to get a little better each year even if it is a little corny at times. I probably could have done with less of the political commentary and some of the standard fare jokes, albeit the “Before He Tweets” parody was a little funny. I felt a bit awkward during the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill visit during the monologue. The couple brought out Brad and Carrie dolls which just seemed a little weird for all involved.

(Check out the complete list of winners at the 51st CMA Awards here)

Here are some of my favorite and not so favorite moments from the show.

Favorite Moments

Erich Church’s a capella version of “Amazing Grace” was just a stunning way to open the show.

 Alan Jackson was on stage performing – twice. The 59-year-old singer performed his 1990 hit “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” and returned to close the show with Paisley and Underwood on “Don’t Rock the Jukebox.”

 Carrie Underwood’s touching and heartfelt “Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling.” The song was performed during the In Memoriam tribute and a slideshow honored those country stars that we lost this year and also included the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.

Miranda Lambert chose to perform a more classic sounding “To Learn Her.” The recipient of the female vocalist award on the night picked that song even though it is not her current single being pushed to country radio.

Tributes to Troy Gentry, Glen Campbell and Don Williams were beautiful. Dierks Bentley and Rascall Flatts teamed up to sing Montgomery Gentry’s “Our Town” and were later joined by Eddie Montgomery. Little Big Town honored Campbell with their performance of “Wichita Lineman.” The vocal duo of the year, Brothers Osborne performed “It Ain’t My Fault” and segued into Williams’ “Tulsa Time” which spurned Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley to start dancing.

No So Favorite Moments

 While I loved Hootie & The Blowfish in the 90’s, it seemed rather odd to have a pop song included during the opening of ‘Country’s Biggest Night’. It kind of told country fans that this night is about the CMA broadening our appeal by doing whatever it takes to gain new fans, even alienating our old ones. Did the CMA not realize that Darius Rucker has some pretty big country hits – I would have rather listened to “Wagon Wheel”…again.

 The audio on so many performances was terrible. I would think at the biggest night for the genre they would put a little more into the production value and actually make sure the millions of viewers could hear the singers.

 Taylor Swift didn’t show up to receive her award for song of the year for Little Big Town’s “Better Man.” She was in New York rehearsing for Saturday Night Live and her new album comes out tomorrow – and yes she is making sure people know she isn’t a country singer anymore. I guess she is trying to distance herself as far from Country Music as possible.

While performances by Pink and Niall Horan’s were entertaining I can think of a lot of country acts that should have been included on a country awards show – old and new. Pink’s audio during “Barbie’s” was surprisingly so much better than other acts performances. Horan performed with Maren Morris who had to cut her song “I Could Use a Love Song” short before she joined Horan on “Seeing Blind.” I know, Pink had a No. 1 with Kenny Chesney, but she didn’t perform that song and Chesney wasn’t even there.

Garth Brooks’ is in my top 5 of favorite country acts, heck I even voted for him on my CMA ballot. But, to have the entertainer of the year lip-sync during his performance of “Ask Me How I Know” had me a little disappointed. He didn’t even do a good job of selling the lip-syncing, leaving the mic while lyrics were being played.  Brooks later told The Tennessean “We decided to lip-sync it because my voice just isn’t going anywhere, and we wanted to represent country music the best we can.”

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