- Entertainer – Kenny Chesney
- Male Vocalist – Brad Paisley
- Female Vocalist – Carrie Underwood
- Vocal Duo – Sugarland
- Vocal Group – Rascal Flatts
- Horizon – Taylor Swift
- Album – George Strait, It Just Comes Natural
- Single – “Before He Cheats” – Carrie Underwood
- Song – “Give it Away” – Bill Anderson, Buddy Cannon & Jamey Johnson
- Music Video – “Online” – Brad Paisley
- Musician – Jerry Douglas (Dobro)
- Musical Event – “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” – Tracy Lawrence, Kenny Chesney & Tim McGraw
No big winners tonight, in terms of numbers. Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley and Kenny Chesney each won two. Best performances: Sugarland, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban and…dare I say it? Kellie Pickler!
Making me feel too old? Taylor Swift. Who’d think that country music would make me feel old at the tender age of 28?
We should go back to one host, or two, and not the slapdash “let’s promote our TV shows” way it was done this year. If you have to pick an ABC star, have Kimberly Williams co-host with a country artist. Or, do the obvious and just bring back Vince!
Thanks to all of you who posted in the comments and hung out with me tonight. You’ve shattered my site traffic record! It’s starting to feel like a real community here at Country Universe!
10:56 He’s giving a wonderful speech, very humble and appreciative.
10:55 Entertainer: Kenny Chesney. Three wins, ties him for second place with Alabama on the all-time wins list in this category. Garth Brooks remains top dog with four.
10:54 Home stretch, and not a moment too soon. I’m just about out of wit!
10:50 Well, alright. That just happened. Next?
10:46 Holy crap. Jamie Foxx is wiping the floor with Gary LeVox. That’s right. Wanda the Ugly Girl is out-singing you.
10:45 Did she just call Ray Charles one of the greatest country singers of all-time?
10:38 Male Vocalist: Brad Paisley. Now Willie Nelson’s all alone as the guy with the most nominations without a win in this category.
10:37 “What the hell am I doing here?” Ha! I was thinking the same thing!
10:36 Okay, Kimberly and LeAnn can co-host next year.
10:34 Give her the props she’s due, though. Pickler’s giving a beautiful performance. Brought herself to tears. Wow.
10:33 On a dull night, one of the only new acts with a real personality is singing a downer song. Unleash your inner Mindy McCready, Pickler!
10:31 “Check her for ticks and you’re dead, tour.” Ha! Let me add that Kimberly standing in front of that orange CMA award silhouette, she looks like a gaudy Virgin Mary statue come to life. Coming soon to a Queens lawn near you.
10:27 Reba’s presenting Entertainer later. Good pick, but it won’t match the emotional punch of her presenting in to Shania in 1999, when Ms. Twain was the first woman to win since Reba herself back in 1986.
10:23 Another great album I haven’t had a chance to review yet. Josh Turner’s the real deal. If he wins Male Vocalist, he better sing, “VIC-tree!”
10:22 Am I the only person who thought when she mentioned “country music is soul music”, that we were about to hear Jamie Foxx, rather than Josh Turner?
10:21 I love the song, but Kenny’s performance is awfully listless for a two-time Entertainer of the Year.
10:18 One foot in East Tennessee and one in the islands. Kenny’s quite flexible.
10:17 Well, at least this ABC star is married to the top nominee. She’s funny.
10:12 In a perfect world, Emmylou would be introducing Vince, Pam would be introducing Mel, and Reba would be introducing Ralph. Sigh.
10:10 Hall of Fame. Smile and wave, old-timers.
10:09 Female Vocalist: Carrie Underwood. I suspect she’ll be getting the Grammy, too, next February.
10:07 Dierks has a crush on Alison Krauss. He likes talent.
10:06 There sure are a lot of places to find Jesus in country music. The Boondocks. Red Dirt Road. Behind the wheel of your out-of-control vehicle.
10:05 Oh, and Mister Announcer Man: “Boondocks” is a classic comic strip, not a classic single.
10:04 Little Big Town have a new album and they’re singing “Boondocks”? Huh?
10:03 I’m amazed Reba was allowed to perform with another country artist. I expected her to have to drag Justin Timberlake back to the CMA’s for a performance slot.
10:02 Reba’s always all up in the grill of her duet partners. Vince used to joke, “Don’t give me those murder eyes. It’s a love song!”
10:01 One of the better songs on the Reba duets project, and here comes Reba herself.
10:00 Just checked my watch and thought, “should be time for the Hall of Fame segment.” Alas, we have Jamie Foxx instead. Yay.
9:55 Remember when we used to bash LeAnn Rimes for acting too adult? I think that’s better than hearing, “This is the highlight of my senior year.”
9:53 Horizon: Taylor Swift. Glittery tears for everyone!
9:52 Carrie’s giving out Horizon, I assume.
9:51: Pre-Show winners: Musical Event – Tracy Lawrence/Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw. Music Video – “Online” (Brad Paisley) Musician: Jerry Douglas (Dobro)
9:49 Is it just me, or is Keith Urban the only guy of the new wave of superstars that doesn’t seem to be faking it? Faking the talent, faking the enthusiasm for being on stage, faking the appreciation for the fans. He just doesn’t seem contrived at all.
9:48 I wasn’t sure if Keith was going to sing. Thank God, he is. And he sounds awesome.
9:47 Martina’s scream at the end had this “I don’t want to do this, but they expect me to” feel.
9:45 Gotta love the black choir lifting up the female diva. CMA tradition, in case you didn’t know. (I’m not being cheeky – Dolly Parton, Pam Tillis and Faith Hill have all done it before.)
9:44 Fun Fact: Leslie Satcher wrote this song after watching Fox News coverage of Rick Santorum’s Senate loss in 2006.
9:43 LeAnn was hilarious when she hosted the ACM’s a few years ago. She was funny now. She should host the show next year.
9:42 Good time to mention, since I haven’t reviewed it yet, that LeAnn Rimes has a great new album out.
9:40 Strange that nobody’s mentioned Hank Thompson at all. Heck, I didn’t mention him yet on the blog yet myself, but his passing is just as big a loss as Porter in many ways.
9:38 Mike says the standing O was started by both Gill and Marty Stuart. Makes sense, as Porter himself said those two are the guardians of the Opry legacy shortly before his death.
9:36 Album: George Strait! Wow! I thought Vince, but George Strait! Fourth time he’s won this as an artist, by the way!
9:36 So Vince not only stands up first for Porter, but then looks back to make sure everyone else gets up, too. He’s the man.
9:35 Dwight Yoakam is paying tribute to Porter Wagoner. The “HI” in the jacket just got me. Beautiful.
9:34 So there have only been two standing O’s tonight, and both go to Sugarland. Wow!
9:33 Okay, performance of the night, just because she didn’t indulge in the cheers, but went right back into the song. No showboating always wins me over!
9:30 Apparently Sugarland wants “Performance of the Night” to go with their Vocal Duo trophy. They’re certainly neck-and-neck with Krauss & Union Station.
9:29 Jennifer Nettles sounds fantastic.
9:28 Dwight Yoakam? Am I hallucinating? And he’s mocking the new digs. God Bless him!
9:26 From the Comments – Bridget: “OMG! Did Ronnie Milsap cut Jennifer Nettles’ hair?”
9:24 Very, very classy of Nettles to acknowledge Brooks & Dunn with such grace.
9:23 Mike, did Brooks & Dunn start walking to the stage from force of habit?
9:22 Vocal Duo: SUGARLAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
9:21 Vocal Duo stronger than Vocal Group by a mile.
9:20 Did Blake Shelton just say he’s presenting the Duo award for Vocal Group of the Year?
9:18 I don’t know what words Jason Aldean is singing, but he sure is singing it LOUD!
9:17 I don’t get it. We sideline all the little categories and the older stars and even the Hall of Famers so we can showcase the genre to potential record buyers for three hours. Then they don’t bother to get the sound right. Nincompoops.
9:14 What’s with everybody being out of breath tonight? I mean, I can understand Gary Levox with all those stairs, but even the fit performers are winded. Weird.
9:13 Brooks & Dunn doing “God Must Be Busy.” I bash these guys a lot but I really do like some of their music, this song included.
9:12 Apparently I got a shout-out on the USA Today blog. Funny!
9:06 Nine months after Rascal Flatts destroyed two Eagles songs on the Grammys, the Eagles show up at the CMA’s and show them what a Vocal Group is supposed to sound like.
9:05 Um….to quote my friend Charlie, “Hey! Don Henley plays drums for the Eagles! Boooo!”
9:04 Vince Gill is here to introduce the Eagles, rather than accept a Hall of Fame plaque. Messed up.
9:03 She got it together and sounded pretty good overall, but there’s no reason a singer that good should be struggling. Something’s amiss with the sound production.
9:01 Correction, she can sing but isn’t showing it tonight. Also, what the hell is up with all of the big backing bands on the stage pretending to play? She’s obviously singing to the backing track. The harmonies are identical to the record.
9:00 Carrie’s wearing a Prom Dress. Thank God she can sing.
8:59 Please welcome the star of Private Practice. Really? There better be twenty country artists presenting at next year’s Emmys.
8:57 Mike from Nashville Now is at the show! I hope him and his friends have a bag of tomatoes and plenty of upper arm strength.
8:54 I like Rodney Atkins, but he sounds strained. I think the sound on stage must be off. Maybe Krauss/Union Station were immune because they’re a self-contained band?
8:53 Wait a minute…Sara Evans was supposed to give that speech before Rodney Atkins, not before Vocal Group. Somehow I doubt she’ll be asked back to host next year.
8:52 The Voice just called country radio their mouthpiece. Is that a compliment? Anyway, he’s looking terrible. Like I said last year, a female act would’ve been told to hit the treadmill eighty pounds ago.
8:51 Vocal Group: Rascal Flatts. Five in a row. This is approaching Brooks & Dunn Vocal Duo ridiculousness.
8:50 Do I hear big cheers for the Chicks? Or is that just wishful thinking?
8:49 Sara Evans is either full of it, or she actually spent her youth watching the CMA awards so she could ogle Lee Greenwood and Ricky Skaggs.
8:48 Are there champagne bottles on the back of Big Kenny’s head?
8:47 Is John Rich dressing that way to reach out to his alienated gay fan base, or is he just color-blind?
8:45 They just gave a shout-out to “The king of bling, the late Porter Wagoner.” Then they started lip-synching to a bad Kid Rock rip-off. Approaches desecration, don’t ya think?
8:45 Big & Rich are going to get “Loud.”
8:43 So I was wondering why Carrie was in a Claritin commercial, then she spun and was on a stage. Weird album commercial.
8:40 Friend asked earlier why Strait didn’t sound great and I mentioned the acoustics are terrible. Then Krauss comes out and sings like an angel, acoustics be damned.
8:39 I [insert enthusiastic expletive]-ing love this song.
8:38 Alison Krauss doing “Simple Love.” Restoring dignity to the evening in the process.
8:37 Is Sara the new host?
8:36 Reality check: TAYLOR SWIFT IS SEVENTEEN. How disgustingly inappropriate.
8:35 Gotta say, that is one lethargic fiddle player in the back.
8:33 I [insert vile expletive]-ing hate this song.
8:32 Sara Evans is looking beautiful these days. And she’s being cut off by a marching band playing “Online.” How very Kanye West.
8:31 Thanks to Jim, I now know the host is the guy from Desperate Housewives. ABC should’ve called in somebody from Ugly Betty instead. Then we’d have some humor.
8:30 Brad’s “Online” coming up next. Good, get the stuff I hate out of the way in the first hour.
8:26 Why does she keep twirling her hair?
8:25 No offense to any Taylor Swift fans out there, but if I wasn’t watching the TV and seeing it with my own eyes, I’d think it was a teenage fan singing along off-key to a Taylor Swift record.
8:24 Good Lord, it looks like MySpace just exploded on the stage.
8:23 They should’ve let Jamey speak at the ACM’s when they won in the spring. He killed!
8:22 Fun facts: Bill Anderson won Song of the Year for “Whiskey Lullaby”, Buddy Cannon co-produced Shania Twain’s pre-Mutt country album and Jamey Johnson wrote “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”.
8:21 “Give it Away” – Bill Anderson and Buddy Cannon pulled it across the finish line. Maybe it will be a veteran’s night after all.
8:20 He just called “Anyway” “Away”. Way too look more ignorant than usual. Feel like catching a bear after the show?
8:19 Montgomery Gentry, giving out Song of the Year. Already?
8:17 I’d like to see George get something tonight for his five nominations.
8:15 Who are you, CMA mystery host?
8:12 Vince Gill just got more screen time in an underwear commercial than he will for his Hall of Fame induction.
8:11 They only left the stage seven minutes ago, and ABC’s already pimping Rascal Flatts’ return to the stage…with Jamie Foxx!
8:09 Single: “Before He Cheats” – Carrie Underwood. Can’t argue with that one.
8:08 So, are there any country artists presenting tonight?
8:07 I wonder if the screaming audience knows she just killed an abusive boyfriend in that song.
8:05 Oh, good. Miranda Lambert. Singing one of her best and looking hot.
8:04 Um. I don’t know who the host is. Is that the host?
8:03 They’re playing against a backdrop of past CMA moments and being outshined from behind. Hilarious!
8:00 Starting out with Rascal Flatts. The first of two performances tonight. God help us.
7:45 Here we go again! I can’t remember the last time I’ve found the CMA’s so difficult to predict – 1998, maybe? It’s a wide open field, and though I’ve made my predictions, there’s a nagging thought in the back of my mind that voters are going to go veteran and the night will belong to George Strait, Reba McEntire and Vince Gill.