Recap: American Music Awards, Country Style

It’s hard to imagine a time when the American Music Awards consistently trumped the Grammys in terms of viewing audience while also giving off an air of importance and prestige. Since the days of Dick Clark, the show has struggled for meaning, and the entertainment value is now trumpeted far more than the actual awards. Annie Lennox accepted a lifetime-achievement Award Of Merit trophy for her superior musical career and devotion to charitable causes, but her show-stopping performance of the spare piano ballad, “Why,” only served to highlight the “more style, less substance” attitude of a once-revered awards show.

The prominent winners of last night’s escapade included hip-hop and R & B staples Chris Brown, Alicia Keys and Kanye West (and deservedly so), but country music seemed like an afterthought. Music Row’s award winners last night were basically repeats of the CMA Awards, and Taylor Swift’s performance was the only one by a country artist. Swift provided a surprisingly capable (and in-tune) reading of her new single, “White Horse.” Displaying little of the nervousness that plagued her CMA Awards debacle earlier this month, she captured the gloomy nature of the song with great passion.

American Music Award Winners
Favorite Male Artist: Brad Paisley
Favorite Female Artist: Taylor Swift
Favorite Band, Duo, or Group: Rascal Flatts
Favorite Album: Carrie Underwood, Carnival Ride


  1. I loved Brad’s joke as he accepted his award! He said to the audience “I’ve always wanted to win an American Music Award.” Then he looked at the bottom of the trophy in his hand and added “Made in China??”

  2. Remember when Tanya Tucker came out swinging at the Grammy folks…she was rightfully angry at the producers for treating country like an afterthought…I remember a quote at the time, though may not be Tanya’s; “They treat country music like a bastard at a family reunion”…well said, whomever said it…The American Music Awards have generally been kinder to Country Music – probably thanks to Dick Clark’s respect for the music – Remember the times when a big-haired Reba co-hosted? Or when they gave Tammy Wynette the Award of Merit and actually let her speak – on TV to boot!!
    What someone needs to do is start a respectable country awards show that has the best of both worlds – whats actually “hot”, and whats actually “good”… some of what we dismiss as crap now, might actually sound “country” in a few years, and we might actually grow to like it – but the good – Emmylou, Jamey, Anne, Mattea, Crowell, etc should be given the accolades they deserve for making great music now… And no, Country Weekly Golden Pick and CMT Flameworthy need not apply.

  3. It’s actually a pet peeve of mine when country artists/acts complain about not getting much time on the Grammys and AMA’s (mostly the former.) Country music artists get far more network time than any other genre, with two 3-hour prime time award shows every year. Now they even get the 2-hour summer CMA Music Fest special to boot.

    Given how little overlap there usually is between the AMA’s and the Grammys in terms of performers, I think it’s more than fine that country isn’t prominently featured, especially since the AMA’s are less than two weeks after the CMA’s.

  4. The fact that it wasn’t a banner year for the genre could have contributed to the low profile. The ’90s seemed to feature a few more country performances. My interest in that AMAs has diminished in this decade, so I generally read reviews the next day.

    I understand the logic, Kevin, but one could also consider the reverse. If country music as a genre is strong enough to have two awards shows and a number of other primetime specials, then shouldn’t it be equally showcased on a platform with the other musical genres?

    If a general music fan only watched the AMAs (unlikely, of course) or the Grammys each year to get a glimpse of the music world, then it would be a skewed portrait. Of course, that fan would also believe the future is Miley & the Jonas Bros.

    Thankfully, there were bright spots. Annie Lennox was crazy good last night, fwiw.

  5. That is true country music does have more t.v. time than any other genre. I’m not a huge fan of these awards but there were a few things I did like and didn’t.

    -Liked Brad’s made in China comment.
    -Love Sarah and Pinks performance of Angel they actually sound good togeter.
    -Didn’t mind Taylor’s performance she sounds so much better when she sings softly within her range and doesn’t try to hit any money notes.
    -Really enjoyed Alica Keys, Queen Latifa, and Kathleen Battle, it was a good mix with for a good positive female song, most of all at the end 3:42 mark you see Carrie Underwood’s picture up there with some pretty great women ie. Michelle Obama. I thought that showed alot of respect for her from her peers from other genre’s and that is good for country music.

    -Didn’t like the predictability. All three country artists that were there won in their respective categories. Which is funny cause the voting just ended two weeks ago but TS and RF were both already confirmed to be there before that, its a little fishy.
    -Did not like how Taylor acted like she was shocked that she won, when for months she has been begging for vote, via video blog on myspace w/kellie pickler. At the same time it is nice to see her get recognized for her hard work (we know it isn’t for her voice oops!!!)
    -Didn’t like how they didn’t even announce FCA when they annouced all other genre’s FA.
    -Also this is two awards shows now where the audio was horrible you would think they would have that part perfect considering it is for t.v.

  6. Yes, I actually had this show on as my “background noise” last night. For the most part, I had NO idea who some of these acts were!
    To counter that, I loved me some Annie Lennox and Sarah McLachlan…. so that should give you an idea of my genre. :-)

    I thought Taylor, Brad, and Carrie were all deserving enough. Nice to see Carrie win what she perhaps should have won the CMA for… but I digress.
    I still can’t get into the whole Rascal Flatts thing, tho. Granted, I’m four-square bias for Sugarland… but even if I wasn’t, I just don’t get the RF = Country equation. Believe me, I’ve tried and there’s maybe a song or two, but “Best Group” year after year after year at all the awards? Really?!

  7. Well sugarland is starting to clean up too which is nice to see. They need to make it vocal duo or group, come on there are not that many duo’s to choose from, more that one single artist should be a group.

  8. I need to apologize to Taylor Swift for my comments after the CMAs. Her performance Sunday was quite nice. I think it helped that she sat down for most of it so that she could better control her breathing and pitch. (Big production numbers may not be her thing.) While her voice is kind of slight, it worked for this song. And I have to say, it’s a pretty cool song.

  9. Taylor was good. The song had about four notes, so she nailed it. Can’t believe she’s doing a stadium tour next summer, but that’s what I heard on the radio yesterday.

  10. If Miley Cyrus can fill stadiums, than I guess Taylor’s appeal to the same demographic just may do the trick for her as well.

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