As a Country music fan, I tuned into the CMA Awards last night and pretty much got everything that I expected the three-hour long telecast to be. First and foremost, I don’t think any Country music fan watches the CMA Awards for the awards, because to be completely honest it’s all a bunch of crap. As much as I dislike the Emmy awards because they’re nominating the same people every single year with the majority going to the same winners, the CMA awards are the exact same thing. But I’ll get into that a little bit later.
The main reason I tune into the CMA Awards is for the musical performances, but I must admit that even this year’s telecast was a bit of a downer. Is it a coincidence that a lot of the Country music stars currently have singles that are ballads? But even if that’s so, couldn’t they play a hit that’s more upbeat to wow the crowd and to get our feet tapping at home? That’s why I thoroughly enjoyed Little Big Town’s “Day Drinking” and Dierks Bentley’s “Drunk on a Plane” last night the most. They’re fun, up-tempo songs that’ll have you singing (or whistling) way after you hear it. Instead, we got “Dirt” from Florida Georgia Line, “Lonely Tonight” by Blake Shelton, “Shotgun Rider” by Tim McGraw, plus many others.
Even the hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, who gave a great opening monologue by the way, performed their ballads “Perfect Storm” and “Something in the Water” respectively. Sure, not every Country song can be about drinking and trucks, but I’d rather have that than songs that I like to listen to while falling asleep. On top of that, the CMA Awards always showcases a number of collaborations, but last night even those suffered the same fate as straight up boring. Country outlaw Eric Church toned down for a duet with George Strait for “Cowboys Like Us.” And also Kacey Musgraves performed “You’re Looking at Country” with Loretta Lynn. It was great seeing collaborations, but neither of them were interesting at all, but at least they avoided the awkwardness of Miranda Lambert singing “All About That Bass” with Meghan Trainor, and Little Big Town’s performance alongside Ariana Grande.
So with a lot of the performances being underwhelming, I guess we have to focus in on the awards that were given out. I don’t mind Miranda Lambert because she does have a great amount of songs, and she has an essence about her that most Country women lack, but five years in a row for Female Vocalist of the Year beating out the likes of Carrie Underwood is just too much. But like I said, it’s just like the Emmy’s. Also, five years in a row for Blake Shelton winning Male vocalist of the Year? Give me a break. The CMA is in love with that married couple and their infatuation hasn’t faded away one bit in half a decade.
There was certainly a lot of Miranda love throughout the evening, but I was glad that she didn’t snag the Entertainer of the Year award. That went to the well-deserved Luke Bryan who has easily been Country’s megastar the past few years. His greatest asset is being completely humble and excited when he still wins these accolades, just as if it were his first song to make it on the radio.
Despite the lack of entertaining performances and diversity of award winners, it was still a good night to be a Country music fan. Like Vince Gill said as he was accepting the prestigious Irving Waugh Award of Excellence, one of the greatest things about Country music is how close all of the artists are with one another and the camaraderie everyone shows. Whether they’re high-fiving each other or singing along to someone else’s song, there is simply no community as close as the Country music one. And as a Country music lover, I can vouch that it evident throughout every Country music concert I’ve attended. It’s a huge lovefest again and again, no matter who you’re watching or who’s sitting next to you. It’s the community that makes the whole experience more than worthwhile.