Welcome to “Country music’s biggest night,” this month.
Cause nothing gets me ready for the impending 9 months of winter quite like watching performances of my favorite country songs about boozin’ in the summer. Looking past that fact though I think everyone in America can agree that we can divide last night’s awards show into two categories: BJT & AJT. Before JT and After JT. Also note to future country singers hoping to sweep the awards: bring your buddy Justin Timberlake. But more on that below…here are the hits and misses of the night’s bits, performances & audience reactions.
No, Thank You:
-Hey, I get that Star Wars is making a hot comeback this year but did we need to start shoving it down America’s throats like 5 months early? I’m out on Star Wars. So as you can imagine, the opening bit with Brad as Guitar Solo, Carrie as Carrie Fisher and Garth Vader turned Luke Vader didn’t do it for me.
-Obviously fresh on everyone’s brains (because we’re reminded of it every five minutes) is the Blake/Miranda divorce and it needed to be addressed. Unfortunately, Carrie & Brad started with “the breakup we can’t ignore” and then tossed it over to Miss Piggy and Kermit. I’m actually more fired up about the Muppets taking over than I am with Star Wars. Enough with the puppet publicity.
-Related to my last point but not a part of the show, Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani waited until right when the show was beginning to have their reps officially announce they’re a couple, making it red carpet fodder. DOUCHE move. Seriously, #TeamMiranda all the way.
-William Shatner got drunk (I assume) came onstage in a storm trooper costume and shat all over the joint.
-Zac Brown Band sang off key a whole lot.
-Brett Eldredge never performed and yet he has a brand new album…how does this add up CMA?! HOW?!
-Carrie performed “Smoke Break” looking like a smoke, obv.
-Every year they throw pop acts into the mix and hope for musical magic and every year there’s duets that crash and burn.(Wink.) This year was Fallout Boy with Thomas Rhett. They did “Crash & Burn” first followed by “Uma Thurman” where essentially both of them held back their natural style of singing while red-lipped body suit ho’s gyrated around them. It was inspiring.
– Luke Bryan performs a slow number without his backwards hat. WHY EVEN PERFORM? #DesertSandstormUndies
-Miranda rocks the shit out of her performance of “Bathroom Sink” and ABC acts supes mature and doesn’t once give us a reaction shot from Blake. BOOOOO. I want to see the regret in his eyes.
-I was forced to eat all the nice words I gave Kacey for her red carpet look when she did too much outfit and special effects-wise for her performance. There were literal My Little Pony graphics parading in the background.
-Carrie Underwood’s crack in the monologue about “some dude” calling women in country tomatoes and the camera pans to three men in the audience with stone cold expressions who probably hate women…and tomatoes.
-John Mellencamp & Keith Urban were the opening hair cr3w. John sported some fluffy locks and Keith had his usual mom going through a mid-life crisis haircut so putting the two of them together was top entertainment for me. Also they sang “Ain’t that America”, which always slays. MURICA. HOME OF THE HAIR.
-Brad invented the phrase “Sam Hunting” to refer to the art of talking and transitioning to song. Thank GOD someone ribbed on him for this because it’s not okay. Talking mid-song sucks and Sam abuses the privilege just because he’s swoonworthy.
-JT got mad screen time right off the bat when Brad shouts it out to him then hopes for a performance of “that song about Christmas that he just can’t put his finger on.” I’ll put my finger on it. If it’s cool with Jessica, of course. But seriously, show Justin’s pretty face as much as possible.
-Little Big Town slayed Girl Crush as per usual (but please start performing another single, I’ve seen this one a lot) and blondie gave me silver skirt goals.
-Eric Church channeled a sunglasses-wearin Beyonce and dropped a surprise album mid-show, which was much more exciting than either of his performances.
-Chris Stapleton owns the MF’ing night. Had quite literally no idea who this bearded fellow was before last night and suddenly he’s the stuff and also BFF’s with Justin. Just as long as he doesn’t try to take JFal’s place I’m cool with it. But seriously according to me and EVERY SINGLE OTHER PERSON at the awards show his collab with JT was the performance of the night. Tennessee Whiskey was first, followed by Drink You Away and they tore that shit wide open. There was a girl also singing with them but her name isn’t Justin Timberlake and therefore she remained in the shadows, literally I don’t think she had her own spotlight. (Re-watch full performance here.)
-Follow up to the actual performance, which was bananaland good, the country stars in the audience could not even with JT and it made me feel so much better about sitting completely still on my couch grinning at the TV. Specific shout out to Keith Urban whose undies were probably more soaked then mine…he cheered & danced and screamed like a fangirl with an I ❤ JT poster all while filming the whole thing on his iPhone. One guy had actual tears. Most of the girls just drooled openly. It was amazing to see everyone lose their cool for JT and the Tennessee Kids duetting with the largest beard I’ve seen in a while.
-Even though it didn’t matter what the hell FGL did because they followed Chris & Justin, I still had to throw a little fashion appreciation their way because it made me laugh out loud. Gone were the vests that I have plagued for years and the replacement was Brian wearing a harness and a feather necklace. No hang on, necklace is overstating it. He was wearing an actual full feather hanging off a string.Upon second glance there was a feather in his back pocket as well. I don’t know what I expect from two men who live in actual treehouses but it still gets me every time.
-Pentatonix does a quick accapella country ditty and the audience lost their shit over it. Everyone was all in on their 2 second performance and it was really cute and well deserved cause this group is more talented than the Barden Bellas. They even got a standing O.
-Miranda wins Female Vocalist and you can tell she’s not sure how to handle the cameras but Luke swoops in and hugs her. What a gentleman. I almost forgive him for his lack of hip gyrations. In Miranda’s thank you she says, “I appreciate it, I needed a bright spot this year.” YOU GOT THIS GRRRRRLLLLL. KILL ‘EM.
-Chris Stapleton wins his third award of the night and tears up. He’s humble and sweet and grateful and we need more of him in America. Also it’s very clear that all the top country artists were rooting for him which gives me even more of the warm & fuzzies. Also not for nothing he has some pretty luscious locks that curl better than my own.
-Luke thanks his “baby” and they show Garth Brooks. LoLz. That cameraman was swiftly fired. Then Luke-no baseball cap-Bryan also shouts it out to the cool kids of country in the front row to remind everyone who isn’t VIP that they suck at life.
Single of the Year- Girl Crush by Little Big Town
Song of the Year- Girl Crush
New Artist of the Year- Chris Stapleton
Vocal Duo of the Year- FGL
Album of the Year- Chris Stapleton, Traveler
Vocal Group of the Year- Little Big Town
Female Vocalist of the Year- Miranda Lambert
Male Vocalist of the Year- Chris Stapleton
Entertainer of the Year- Luke Bryan