Provided you like country music, the CMAs are the best awards show on TV, beating the Grammys by a good country mile. They’re fast paced and heavy on the music, the jokes are actually funny, and the focus on one genre means more cohesion all around.
We were lucky enough to score tickets to this year’s festivities in Nashville, which meant we got to see country stars co-mingling in between commercial breaks, and watch the production crew tear down and build up sets in the blink of an eye.
In the spirit of last night, let’s give out some awards to the CMA Awards.
Best guitarist: Brad Paisley, whose casual acoustic picking during an Andy Griffith tribute was enough to make any player jealous.
Biggest rock star: Album of the Year winner Eric Church drew the biggest reaction from the crowd, earning a standing ovation for the “Born To Run”-quoting “Springsteen.” Plus, he wears his sunglasses indoors.
Loudest female vocalist: Faith Hill
Loudest male vocalist: Jason Aldean
Best speech: Blake Shelton. Early in the evening, he won Song of the Year with his wife Miranda Lambert for “Over You.”
As Lambert looked on with tears in her eyes, Blake said, “I lost my brother in a car wreck when I was 14-years-old, and later in life when I decided I wanted to be a country singer, my dad always told me, ‘Son, you should write a song about your brother. I lost my dad in January, and it’s so amazing to me that tonight even after he’s gone, he’s still right.”
Later on, he picked up the award for Male Vocalist of the Year with these words — What? Why?” The adding “I’ll be honest I had a few drinks since my song of the year speech.”
Blake also gave out the most hugs during the commercial breaks.
Runner up best speech: Miranda Lambert’s onstage celebration for winning Female Vocalist of the Year.
New Lady Antebellum: Little Big Town. Tonight was their night. They also win the award for best staging, and the prize for most exuberant speech. “Y’all, this has been a 13 year journey. Thank you mommies and daddies and Jesus! And all the children. And Jesus!”
Next Justin Timberlake: Hunter Hayes. Ladies love him.
Highest guy in the front row: Willie Nelson.
Weirdest/ best cover: Brad Paisley singing a snippet of Jay-Z’s “New York” (and throwing in “New Jersey too” for Hurricane Sandy victims). He also gets the nod for most interesting country lyrics, for the open minded “Southern Comfort Zone.”
Funkiest, most Halloween-worthy outfit: Miranda Lambert, who reportedly went a as Honey Boo Boo for Halloween, for “Fastest Girl In Town.”
Least “country” country song: Taylor Swift (“Begin Again”) or Carrie Underwood (“Blown Away.” )
Most Preggers: Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles.
Coolest hair cut: Marty Stuart.
MVP: Little Jimmy Dickens, Nashville’s living legend.
Here’s a list of the big winners:
Entertainer of the Year: Blake Shelton
Female Vocalist: Miranda Lambert
Male Vocalist: Blake Shelton
New Artist: Hunter Hayes
Vocal Group: Little Big Town
Vocal Duo: Thompson Square
Single: “Pontoon,” Little Big Town
Album: Chief, Eric Church
Song: “Over You,” performed by Miranda Lambert
Musical Event: “Feel Like a Rock Star” Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw
Music Video: “Red Solo Cup,” Toby Keith
Musician: Mac McAnally