CMA Live Blog 2011


Entertainer:  Taylor Swift

Female Vocalist:  Miranda Lambert

Male Vocalist:  Blake Shelton

New Artist:  The Band Perry

Vocal Group:  Lady Antebellum

Vocal Duo:  Sugarland

Song:  “If I Die Young” – Kimberly Perry

Single:  The Band Perry, “If I Die Young”

Music Video:  Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter, “You and Tequila”

Musical Event:  Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, “Don’t You Wanna Stay”

Musician:  Mac McAnally

Correct Prediction Tally:

9:  Tara

6:  Ben, Dan

5:  Jonathan, Kevin, Leeann


10:02 – It’s been fun.  Thanks for being my live blog buddy this year, Leeann!

10:00 – Leeann:  Thank you for reading and participating. And thanks especially to Ben for doing such a great job of leading the live blog this year.

9:59 – Thanks for joining us, y’all!  This was so much fun!  See you at the ACMs!

9:59 – I’m happy for Taylor.  I love how she acts like a happy little kid.

9:58 – Leeann:  I think Brad and Carrie did pretty well this year. Brad stepped it up this year by not seeming as stiff and Carrie’s actually been decent to good all along.

9:58 – Tara wins the correct production tally by a landslide with nine correct predictions.

9:57 – Leeann:  Okay, I’m totally tuning in for CMA Country Christmas.

9:55 – ENTERTAINER:  Taylor Swift

9:55 – Leeann:  Whoa, Entertainer already? Will they end early?

9:54 – Carrie’s dress was AWFUL.

9:52 – I so want to see that new Dolly Parton movie.  Not that I expect it to be good.

9:49 – “Seriously??”  Miranda is so cute.  Nice little acceptable speech.  You can tell she genuinely did not expect this.  Taylor looked a little disappointed though.

9:48 – Leeann:  Aw yes…Country music’s power couple. Glad they don’t seem as tumultuous as past power couples though.

9:47  – FEMALE VOCALIST:  Miranda Lambert

9:47 – Will it be Miranda?

9:46 – Oh gosh, now they’re plugging Revenge too.

9:42 – I’d like to muster up more enthusiasm for Faith Hill’s return, but a OneRepublic cover was so not what I was hoping to hear from her right now, especially with it having been so long since she’s released any new music.  She’s singing well though.

9:42 – Leeann:  Fun that Carrie Underwood gets to introduce Faith Hill.

9:40 – The Glen Campbell tribute is easily the show’s best moment.  I suppose I could add a qualifying “…so far,” but I just might not.

9:34 – Leeann:  Not to be a total sap, but this takes on a certain significance for me because mygrandfather died from Alzheimer’s last month. He used to be the bass singer in a barber shop quartet, but he had to stop early on in the disease.

9:35 – My seven-year-old sister says “Is this still the CMA Awards?  ‘Cause it looks really old.”

9:32 – Leeann:  So far, the tribute is even more than I hoped it would be.

9:32 – I’m digging the retro vibe of this performance. (My parents are watching with me andsinging along)

9:29 – Leeann:  I have high hopes for the Campbell tribute. Yeah! There’s Vince Gill. I miss him as host.

9:29 – The Glen Campbell tribute.  This… is… beautiful.

9:28 – I heard it too, Leeann!  We’d better pinch ourselves just in case.

9:26 – Leeann:  Hark! Can it be that I heard them say that Vince Gill would be coming up soon?

9:25 – Am I the only one who, as soon as Martina McBride performs, immediately has to check @DrunkenMartina’s Twitter feed?  I can’t believe she’s not tweeting anything right now.

9:20 – Oh gosh, it’s Martina (“One of the greatest femalve vocalists of all time”) with the cancer song.  She is really beating this into the ground.  I’m getting tired of this song.

9:19 – Tara takes the lead with seven correct predictions!

9:18 – MALE VOCALIST:  Blake Shelton

9:17 – Hasn’t Reese Witherspoon presented this award before?

9:17 – Leeann:  Why, oh why does Jason Aldean always have to be so arena rock?

9:14 – Jason Aldean with “Tattoos On This Town.”  One of his more interesting songs, methinks, not that “Dirt Road Anthem” is difficult to top.

9:11 – Leeann:  Yes, the McCreery song was  actually tolerable.

9:07 – Pleasantly surprised to see McCreery singing what I thought was one of the most tolerable songs on his album.  Thank goodness it’s not “The Trouble with Girls.”

9:06 – NEW ARTIST:  The Band Perry

9:05 – Presented by Lauren Alaina and Jake Owen?  Are they randomly drawing presenter names out of a hat?

9:03 – Brad and Carrie singing “Remind Me.”  They’re turning in a pretty good engaged performance.  A bit too loud, but so is everything except Chesney and Potter.

9:02 – Checking in with the correct prediction tally (I hope I added this up right).  It looks like me, Dan, and Tara tied for the lead with four, followed by Jonathan and Leeann with two, and Kevin with one.

8:56:  That Chesney win was quite a surprise.  Not a single one of us predicted it.  Glad to see “Tequila” get some recognition though.

8:55: – MUSIC VIDEO:  Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter, “You and Tequila”

8:54 – There’s Kristian, faithfully standing off to the side.  This performance is okay, but The Band Perry was better, IMO.

8:52 – Sugarland with Matt Nathanson.  (Gasp) Was that a steel guitar I just heard?

8:50 – FAIL.

8:50 – VOCAL GROUP:  Lady Antebellum

8:49 – Oh LeAnn Rimes… that dress… oh no…

8:48 – I think so too.  But I like how the mid-song breakdown sounds live.

8:47 – Leeann:  I still think the fireflies verse is odd.

8:47 – With that mouth full of teeth, Kimberly looks like she could be a blonde Osmond.

8:46 – The Band Perry.  Hey, totally sounds like country music!  What are we watching again?

8:36 – He starts singing with Rascal Flatts, and stops sounding country.  Surprise.

8:34 – Aww, Tim McGraw’s singing along!

8:34 – Yay for Little Big Town!  Sounding awesome as usual.

8:33 – And the award for Most Audible Steel Guitar of the Night goes to… Lionel Richie. #Irony

8:31 – …And we have the requisite Little Jimmy Dickens cameo!  As Little Justin Bieber.  This I did not see coming, but it’s hilarious.  “It Ain’t My Baby, Baby” – Ha!

8:25 – Whoa, Detroit’s Edwards and Lee won a Radio Personality award.  I actually used to listen to them.  Back when I lived in Michigan.  And listened to radio.

8:24 – Ditto to that, Leeann.  I really enjoyed the simplicity of that performance.  Thank God he didn’t do “Reality” instead, though.

8:24 – Leeann:  I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone with Kenny Chesney and Eric Church being among my favorite performances so far

8:23 – First performance to have me actually starting to sing along, though Church came fairly close.

8:21 – Ah, “You and Tequila.”  This I can totally take. (LOL, Leeann)

8:19 – Crud!  My prediction hot streak comes to a grinding halt.  I had Swift pegged for this.

8:18 – ALBUM:  Jason Aldean, My Kinda Party

8:18 – Leeann:  Ha about Miss Piggy, Ben. You sound like an old man now. It’s his birthday today, btw, y’all!

8:17 – From the comments:  “Miss Piggy being there made my night. Anyone who doesn’t like The Muppets is a bad person.” – Brian :)

8:15 – Lady A is owning the night.  Bathroom break, anyone?

8:14:  “Hi-yah!”  Hilarious.

8:13 – Miss Piggy.  I heart Miss Piggy.  Even though she’ll never be the same without Frank Oz.

8:08 – MUSICIAN:  Mac McAnally

8:06 – Dumb as the song is, I find myself involuntarily bobbing my head to it.  Help.

8:05 – Joy.  Luke Bryan in a twanged-up spoof of Flashdance.

8:04 – Did Carrie recycle that dress from the video shoot for “Cowboy Casanova”?

8:01 – I don’t recognize the song, but I daresay this is one of Taylor’s less-grating live performances.

8:00 – Am I the only one half-expecting Taylor Swift to rip off that pink sweater halfway through the song?

7:59 – I just happened to pop over to the Engine 145 live blog, and I must say, Karlie and Juli are hot tonight!

7:54 – Chris Young.  Why “Voices”??  Why not “Tomorrow”??

7:52 – Shawna has a pretty voice, but other than that, I get nothing out of “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not.”

7:51 – If so, Leeann, I’ll just have to turn my badge in along with yours.  The performance had an infectious energy to it.

7:50 – Leeann:  Is it wrong for me to think that the Eric church performances is one of the better performances of the night? Do I need to turn in my critic badge?

7:49 – Eric Church’s shades just kill me.  How bright can it be in there?  You’d think he’d gone blind.

7:48 – “Outlaw” Eric Church singing “Drink In My Hand.”  This song was made for a live setting.

7:47 – So I knew it was never going to the Civil Wars.  But I can dream, right?

7:46 – VOCAL DUO:  Sugarland (Surpise!  Not)

7:45 – ABC is wasting no opportunities plugging their programming here.  Do these award presenters even like country music?

7:43 – Enter country legend Natasha Bedingfield singing with Rascal Flatts.  Wearing a roll of pink fuzzy carpet, no less.

7:41 – Still worth noting that this is one of the few times in recent years when Kenny’s recorded an award-worthy song.  Gotta love Matraca Berg and Deana Carter.

7:40 – Leeann:  Oops!! That’s right about song of the year. My bad.

7:38 – Agreed, Leeann!

7:37 – Leeann:  Zac Brown Band doing “Georgia”is a highlight, as their performances tend to be at these things.

7:36 – (Song of the Year goes to songwriters, not artists)

7:35 – Leeann:  Good for the Band Perry, but it’s probably the first time I’d been pulling for Chesney to win an award.

7:32 – SONG:  Kimberly Perry, “If I Die Young”

7:32 – Kellie Pickler – always presenting, never receiving.

7:20 – Still don’t like the lyrics of “Baggage Claim,” but I’m finding myself digging the arrangement, and Miranda sure is sounding good tonight.

7:28 – “So, Carrie, been reading anything interesting lately?”  “Nope!”  HA!

7:22 – Sara Evans and the acrobats.  I did not see that coming.  I really like this song though.

7:22 – From the comments:  “i think keith was not supposed to perform because he is having surgery, something about his throat.” – Andie (Good point)

7:19 – Leeann:  Keith isn’t sounding as good as normal tonight to me.

7:18 – We’re at dress number two for the Carrie Count (I think).  At my house we always guess how many outfit changes she’ll do.  My guess this year is eight.

7:18 – Keith Urban with “You Gonna Fly.”  Not my favorite song of his, but it just keeps growing on me.

7:15 – Yo, if Leeann and I are boring you (hope not), be sure to check out the live blogs over at Roughstock and Engine 145!  Or check ’em out just because.

7:13 – I approve!

7:12 – SINGE:  The Band Perry, “If I Die Young”

7:11 – Leeann:  Brad does seem less nervous this year so far.

7:10 – Ooooh, no supper for Brad tonight!

7:09 – Leeann:  The Tim and Faith Barbie skit was kinda funny.

7:08 – The Tim and Faith Barbie bit was hilarious.

7:07 – Leeann:  They haven’t cared about Hank in years, but now they’re showing their support?

7:06 – I did not see the Hank cameo coming.  Cute though.

7:05 – Leeann:  Hmmm…the​y’re really getting political on Hank’s side?

7:05 – Okay, I am laughing my butt off at this Hank, Jr. parody.  “You can’t compare the president to Hitler!”

7:03 – Overall a pretty good performance.  Now here come Brad and Carrie!

7:03 – Leeann:  Blake sounds better here than on the recording.

7:02 – And here comes country legend Kenny Loggins.

7:01 – How about turning up that mic a bit?

7:00 – Blake Shelton opens the show with “Footloose.”  I can hardly find him among all those dancers!


  1. Maybe it’s just because Baggage Claim is way more interesting than anything else on the radio, but I kinda feel like people gave it a bad rap a little too early on. It’s not the strongest metaphor to carry on through a song, but I think it’s pretty good.

    And performance was pretty great.

  2. I don’t think politically they were really backing Hank Jr. At this point it is a bit of a joke how stupid he was in that and they basically pointed out the obvious stupidity in what he did.

  3. Yea, Chris Young should’ve done “Tomorrow.” I agree with Church; he genuinely seems to want the crowd to be as jacked as he is to be there, which is always good to see.

  4. Young probably went with “Voices” because it works better in a quick setting.

    I don’t think bringing out Hank Jr. immediately means they are backing what he said. I think the country music community was sticking up for one of their own which for the most part they tend to do. Even the Dixie Chicks had supporters when they said what they did and guys like Vince Gill took grief for it.

  5. Brian,
    I wasn’t even sure what their intention was. You’re robably right though. I was just surprised that they addressed it at all. I don’t personally care what Hank said; I just know that The Dixie Chicks would have gotten even worse treatment if they had said it about Bush. They certainly wouldn’t have been backed up at the CMA’s opening skit.

  6. Miss Piggy being there made my night. Anyone who doesn’t like The Muppets is a bad person.

    Paisley accidentally touching Piggy where he did was funny but they clearly didn’t have a monitor for the performer to see what was happening.

  7. I like that Lady A song and I think the melody is really catchy. The lyrics are nothing new and the scenario being painted is a tried and true one but there are enough little differences (the one line chorus, and the sing along “Whoa” at the end) that it works.

  8. So, ABC showed Steel Magnolia instead of Thompson Square. Embarrassing. But, don’t worry, Shawna and Kiefer, you’ve got at least two more chances to be nominated for CMA New Artist of the Year and for ABC to make it right!

  9. You’ll be hard pressed to find a bigger Blake Shelton fan than myself, but I just don’t think he deserved that. Had Red River Blue come in during this eligibility period, I’d be okay with it.

  10. She doesn’t win a darn (really want to say something stronger here) award for anything that has anything to do with country music … album, vocals, song, songwriting … but she wins Entertainer of the Year. Can someone please explain this to me?

  11. Ha, thanks. Is it really a good thing though? I would have preferred to be wrong on a few of those. Missed the show but will watch it tomorrow on DVR…sounds like it was semi interesting! Great job on the blog.

  12. I like this comment from hitFix about the CMA awards.

    The inferiority complex that continues in country music. It seems like every fading pop artist decides to try his or her hand at country, whether it’s Jessica Simpson, Bret Michaels, Aaron Lewis or dozens of others (Darius Rucker is the only true success story in the list). This year, it’s Lionel Richie, who has recorded a duets album of his hits with country artists. So the CMA Awards gave him a huge plug and allowed him to perform three tunes with three artists, including a wretched version of that country chestnut, “Dancing on the Ceiling” with Rascal Flatts (who were having a really off night in both their Richie performance and their duet with Bedingfield). Some of the cross genre fits were fantastic, like Zac Brown Band playing “Georgia” with Gregg Allman or the aforementioned Chesney/Potter duet (which is our favorite song on Chesney’s album). But Sugarland’s pairing with Matt Nathanson (who copped some serious Bono moves) to play “Run” from his album, seemed like a abuse of country fans’ time, even though Nathanson and Nettles had wicked hot chemistry, and was downright cruel to the seldom seen Kristian Bush (yeah, he’s the other person in the duo), who’s been marginalized enough.

  13. …apart from lady a. winning over zac brown band, it looks to me that this years cma’s are a pretty good picture of the state of affairs in country music in 2011. nice win for kenny chesney, which hopefully encourages him to take a few more artistic risks in the future too – just love that video and song. not recognising the zac brown band’s impact on the genre is borderline-ignorance, but why should life become fair all of a sudden and particularly so at the cma awards.

  14. It’s a shame the Zac Brown Band didn’t win any awards, especially despite all those well-deserved nominations. They certainly made some great music this year. Oh well, there’s always the ACMs…

  15. I kind of had the feeling that Taylor would win EOTY, and I said as much both on Tuesday and yesterday.

    On a good note, it was a fine way to pay tribute to Glen Campbell…especially seeing he was the only person on that entire show who can claim to have worked with both Phil Spector and Brian Wilson (LOL).

  16. I would have given the FVOTY to Sara Evans. I think even if Miranda had more radio hits, and probably more sales, the return of Sara is more impactful than what Miranda has done for the past year. It would have been a really nice story. I really thought Sara would take it since she had a lot of goodwill around the industry, and all of them seemed genuinely happy she’s back.

  17. I think Sara would have had to come back with a much better album and single to deserve female vocalist after being gone so long. Just coming back isn’t enough for me, especially if Miranda had had a better year.

  18. In my ideal version of reality, Sara Evans would have won a Female Vocalist trophy back in the Real Fine Place era (which she did at the ACMs, but not at the CMAs). She definitely didn’t have the biggest year of the nominees, but I would have been happy for her anyway had she won, even if the recognition didn’t come necessarily at the perfect time. (The same could have been said for Brad winning Entertainer last year)

  19. @leann: Of course, coming back is not just enough. But for me, Sara didn’t just come back, put out an album and a single and called it a day. Sure, the album could have been better, and there should have been stronger songs for Sara’s caliber, but it still cannot be denied that ALBS is one of the biggest singles the past year, and if I’m not mistaken, may end up as one of Billboard’s top singles at its year-end charts. That’s pretty amazing considering radio’s allergic reaction to women older than 35 years old. This comeback may all have been a moot point had radio not played Sara, had listeners not wanted to hear her and had her album not sell decent numbers. Then she’ll just be another footnote like Trisha Yearwood was with her last album.

    Miranda may have had a better year, numbers-wise, or hits-wise, or maybe even Taylor. But Sara fought against the odds, and made a pretty successful comeback by standards for women her age. And that’s for someone generally considered a tier below her peers like Martina and Faith. For me, that’s FVOTY-worthy.

  20. I agree with Vance. She is the fartherest from being a country act than anybody. Take a look at all the people she had joining her on stage…mostly pop artist and the songs she covered are mostly pop too! She’s won all the awards possible, now go on over to the pop world. She only hangs with artist in the Pop industry. Nothing country about her….just her label!

  21. I wanted Evans to win for prosperity’s sake, and I would’ve understood if she’d won this year as an acknowledgement of her entire career.

    But I do have to say that this is the first CMA awards in memory where I wasn’t actively rooting for anybody to win any category. It was kinda like watching election results come in for a foreign country.

  22. The only category where I was rooting for someone to win was for either Zac Brown or Band Perry to win in the group category. Not for the award title itself, they don’t matter, but to witness the first signal that Lady Antembellum has run their course. Are we still caring about them? Let’s move it along and get their success over with. I feel they’ve entered Rascal Flatts mood, it’s going to be the same bland music for the next 10 years and their marketers will be doing all the work. Bombarding us with greatest hits, greatest hits live, limited edition hits, year long anniversary celebrations and tours, new record labels that promise new sounds, but it will always be the same exact formula trying to recreate Neeed You Now. We just went through this with Rascal Flatts and here we go again. At least Ricochet sensed when it was time to go away, but these bands today keep clinging on.

    What people forget is the CMA’s are first and foremost an entertainment special, award show second. The main objective is to get the most viewers possible, the awards are just a tactic to get the artists to show up. The marketers come up with nominations that will attract the most viewers. This year they used Blake Shelton to sell the show. He was the most popular so he had to have the most nominations regardless if he deserved them. His name had to have the most nominations on the press release so they went down and filled him in all eligible categories. The disconnect is he didn’t become popular this year because of his music, and there’s no categories for twitter feeds. Musically he had out a 6 pack and Honey Bee. If Craig Morgan released Honey Bee, do you think it would have been nominated? No. You’re not supposed to win awards for judging a singing competition or marrying Miranda Lambert but this is country music and we do.

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