It was a night to remember in country music that included Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood doing the ‘Gangnam Style’ dance, singing ‘Moves Like Haggard’, a musical tribute and lifetime achievement award presented to Willie Nelson, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton crying and kissing on-stage, the discovery of the meaning of ‘motorboating’ and Taylor Swift giggling when she was complimented and looking totally unamused the rest of the time. It included Blake Shelton winning the biggest accolade of Entertainer Of The Year and the news being so unexpected for him that he’d taken off his jacket and started getting drunk by the time he went to collect the award.
There was a tribute to Bruce Springsteen from Eric Church’s performance, another classic Tim and Faith duet and a mini guitar solo battle between Keith Urban and Zac Brown. Of Carrie’s outfits there were many (10?), and virtually every one of them was absolutely gorgeous, while some performances were plain, simple and unimaginative and were contrasted by Taylor Swift’s efforts to create a period narrative out of nothing.
Neither Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum nor Carrie Underwood won any awards this year, which was a shock for me and I imagine many others that these music giants were snubbed, yet the entire show was a reminder that country music will fight back against the ever-increasing reign of pop. As well as the 5-song tribute to Willie Nelson, the fact that the formerly-mentioned performers didn’t win any awards is perhaps a testament to their commercial elements, particularly Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum. And somehow I think country music will be just fine.
There were rockers, there were ballads, there were fantastic vocals and poor vocals. It was a good show, not amazing, but there was a lot to think and talk about. I decided this year I was going to give my own little award to who I deemed the ‘Star of the CMAs 2012’ and I think everyone will have a similar idea of who deserves this award. It is, of course, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, jointly. The married couple took home 4 awards together, Song Of The Year (for their co-write of ‘Over You’), Female Vocalist Of The Year, Male Vocalist Of The Year and Entertainer Of The Year. Their acceptance speech for Song was both heartwarming and beautiful, and Miranda was crying yet it wasn’t excessive blubbing that has a tendency to turn everything into a cheesy cry-fest. They had written the song about the death of Blake’s brother when he was young, and the fact that they won this award, then went on to win the other three, was so perfect and if you haven’t seen their acceptance speeches, they’re here: Song Of The Year, Male Vocalist Of The Year, Female Vocalist Of The Year and Entertainer Of The Year.
That’s all I can really say for this year, it was a great celebration of country and I love that everyone involved still comes together a few times each year to pat each other on the back and say “well done for an awesome year”. It’s kind of like employee of the month, but cooler. I know we’re all subject to the shoqbiz industry, but there’s something about country music that still feels a little more sincere than the rest. I’m probably being naive. But hey, that’s the appeal, right?
You can continue to watch repeats of the CMAs on CMT throughout November, check your local listings for more details. See you next year?