CMA 2012: Live Blog


Entertainer: Blake Shelton

Female Vocalist: Miranda Lambert

Male Vocalist: Blake Shelton

Vocal Group: Little Big Town

New Artist: Hunter Hayes

Vocal Duo: Thompson Square

Musician: Mac McAnally

Album: Eric Church, Chief

Single: Little Big Town, “Pontoon”

Song:  Miranda Lambert & Blake Shelton, “Over You”

Musical Event: Tim McGraw & Kenny Chesney, “Feel Like a Rock Star”

Video:  Toby Keith, “Red Solo Cup”


9:59 I enjoyed Shelton’s acceptance speech, nodding to his “other” jobs but maintaining his commitment to the genre. And hey, at least it wasn’t Jason Aldean. Thanks SO much for sticking with us, everyone; we promise to iron out the technical difficulties come spring award season. -TS

9:57 Say what? -TS

9:57 Entertainer of the Year: Blake Shelton

9:56 Here we go. An always-glowing Reba McEntire and Tim Allen presenting Entertainer of the Year to … -TS

9:49 Willie Nelson starts singing “On the Road Again,” and it’s like a big sigh of country relief. -TS

9:40 This Willie tribute is pretty solid so far, methinks.  I’m liking Tim and Faith’s take on “Good Hearted Woman.” -BF

9:47 Faith Hill and Tim McGraw singing onstage together for the first time in a while. Very cute. -TS

9:46 Huge ditto to that last comment, Tara. -BF

9:45 I typically would not expect Hillary Scott to fare well on a Patsy Cline classic, but I daresay she acquitted herself nicely on that. -BF

9:43 If they stop winning every damn award, I think there’s still hope they’ll be inspired to step up their game, Ben. -TS

9:43 It’s lovely to hear Lady Antebellum singing a truly great song for once.  It makes me think of what could have been :( -BF

9:42 This is the soulful, organic Lady A I used to love. But Willie’s all like, who are these peeps? -TS

9:42 “If there’s a Mt. Rushmore for country music [Willie’s] on it.”  Totally agree, Brad! -BF

9:36 It’s nice to hear Miranda say some kind words for her fellow nominees.  It almost feels like a subtle antidote to all the Carrie – Taylor – Miranda fanwar nonsense. -BF

9:34 Lambert says she doesn’t necessarily deserve the award. I tend to agree, but since this is the night of retroactive awards (Little Big Town), whatevs. Love that she personally acknowledged every single female in the category. -TS

9:34 Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert

9:33 The ABC star cameos generally bug me, but at least they’ve mostly dialed back on that this year, and this one is somewhat country music-related. Panetierre needs to turn off the fake Southern drawl. -BF

9:33 The ladies of “Nashville” presenting the Female Vocalist of the Year award to … -TS

9:31 I would take “Wanted” over this as well. -BF

9:30 I don’t love “El Cerrito Place,” but I would have preferred to hear it over “Come Over.” -BF

9:28 Kenny Chesney singing his previous boring single. Reader poll: What’s better – “Come Over” or “Wanted”? I vote the latter. -TS

9:21 Repeat Male Vocalist of the Year win for a tipsy Blake Shelton. Expected. He had a solid year, I’ll admit. -TS

9:20 Male Vocalist of the Year: Blake


9:20 I would have liked to hear a little more of Vince, but Kelly nailed it.  Plus this actually has some country flair to it.  Is that a steel guitar I hear? This is definitely in the running for my favorite performance of the night. -BF

9:17 Hey, I can actually hear Kelly’s vocals! -BF

9:16 And K. Clarkson’s stylist is still MIA. But if those aren’t two of the greatest voices of our generation… -TS

9:15 I’m hoping that her Female Vocalist nod (unwarranted though it may be) will give Kelly a nudge toward finally making that country album. -BF

9:11 I almost forgot about the K. Clarkson / Vince Gill performance. Stoked, y’all. -TS

9:08 Oh my… I just about rocketed out of my chair when they announced the Little Big Town win! -BF

9:06 And Lady A goes down. Very happy for Little Big Town. -TS

9:06 Vocal Group of the Year: Little Big Town

9:06  Ben:  Not Lady A, not Lady A, not Lady A… -BF

9:05 Definitely one of my favorite Underwood singles in recent memory.  It’s just so COOL. -BF

9:05 Ouch. Underwood did not nail that falsetto. But the rest of the performance was solid, per usual. Kind of glad “Blown Away” has run its performance course. -TS

9:03 So far this is actually sounding better than I expected.  The vocals are coming through pretty well, but then again, this is Carrie we’re talking about. -BF

8:59 Side note – I’m still trying to decide how much I like “Nashville,” but this version of “Telescope” is stellar. -TS

8:56 I want to be excited about Carrie’s performance of “Blown Away,” but all I can think about is how lousy the sound is going to be. -BF

8:51 Kind of wish that could have stayed an acoustic performance. -BF

8:50 I really do think there’s something special about “Southern Comfort Zone.” This acoustic version drives that home for me. -TS

8:48 Hunter Hayes wins New Artist of the Year. Alright. -TS

8:47 New Artist of the Year: Hunter Hayes

8:46 It was so great to see Connie Smith get a moment of recognition, brief though it may have been.  Loved hearing Carrie sing “Once a Day.” -BF

8:44 I dig this ZBB / Keith Urban song. Might be my favorite performance so far, outside  of Carrie and Brad’s tribute to Connie. -TS

8:41 We experienced technical difficulties and will now be “old school” live-blogging. Chime in via comments – our apologies, y’all. -TS


  1. Said this in the predictions thread:

    “Feel like a Rock Star” won because I think voters took the idea of “musical event” to heart this year. Two of the biggest stars of this generation of country music finally coming together to sing a duet is a pretty big deal. Yes, the song was a huge mess and never really had them putting their vocals together but still as far as events go this was big.

    For me, this is a big night for my love of the genre. I will always have a soft spot for country music so I will never completely leave it off my radio but they are pushing limits with me. I am a huge Eric Church fan and have been since he started. This feels like the perfect meeting of events where they have an act that genuinely had a huge year both within the genre and outside the genre. He became a big star this year and flew onto the radar of the pop spectrum. Chief is a big hit as an album and pays tribute to the past while mapping his vision of the future. The CMA’s should reward that tonight and they have the ability tonight to solidfy his place among this current crop of acts. Hopefully, they don’t screw that up

  2. Dear Country Universe…several of us are locked out of your live blog. Help! (I pretty much have no life and look forward to this every year)

  3. So sorry, y’all. We’ll look into it. If you add your comments to the comment thread, I’ll be happy to do my best to insert them myself…

  4. Ugh Brantley…this is easily the worst performance of the night…I just really hate his material and can’t wait to see him fade away.

  5. I have no idea what’s happening, but I will share that I’m very happy to see Eric Church won Album and I’m bummed that the Civil Wars went home empty-handed. The CMA I grew up with would’ve showered them with trophies.

  6. Brantley is never going to shake his reputation doing songs like this. His newest single isn’t that bad. Would have rather heard that over a song that’s two singles old already.

    If you took away the wallet chain, brass knuckles, tattoos, and earrings, handed him an acoustic guitar and had him sing songs from his first album, he’d suddenly become this low-key, singer-songwriter with a sensitive side. I’m just annoyed by the played up douchiness.

  7. Really liking this acoustic version of “Southern Comfort Zone.”

    And as soon as I got done typing that, the nasty electric guitar kicked in. Ugh…

  8. No one would really argue that Blake’s released super strong material the last year (or 3 years, really). But he’s had 7 straight number one singles (and 9 of 10 singles have been number one going back to 2008). He’s doing the TV thing and is extremely well liked and popular on that front. As a BS super fan, I just hope he gets back to releasing some stronger, more country material.

  9. Anybody ever notice some of the worst award presenters are the actors? Connie, Hayden and Kim were really akward up there doing their little acting bit…

  10. seriously… nashville let the miranda/blake love fest go… so annoying there where people in both those categories that deserved those awards more

  11. In all honesty, I do love Miranda, but what does it take for Carrie to win a CMA nowadays? I really thought she deserved this more than anyone else

  12. Really. Carrie had a bigger year. Right now, all I can think of is, what ever she will do in the future in every year, won’t matter anymore. She can’t even get an Entertainer of the Year nomination.

  13. at least the ACM’s have fan voting for EOTY so if carrie gets a nom in that she will win (im going off the fact she beat taylor the last time they went head to head) because the industry has shown they can’t ever seem to get it right at the right time

  14. Not sure Faith and Tim ever got the treatment the CMAs have given Blake and Miranda. Good night all. Some surprises, some disappointments, and well…it’s just the CMAs.

  15. Hey guys, my server went out on me near the end of the snow (which is why my comments dropped off after Tim and Faith), but just wanted to say thanks to all for joining our live blog, and for sticking with us through the technical troubles. Big thanks to Tara for saving our live blog after the host went kaput! It was a fun night, y’all. See you at the Grammys!

  16. Correct prediction tally, if anyone’s interested:

    Ben and Jonathan: 6
    Tara: 5
    Kevin and Leeann: 4
    Dan: 3

    They sure pulled out some interesting surprises this year. I did not see the Blake Shelton Entertainer win coming at all.

  17. I thought all and all the show was good. Sure wish Carrie had won Female Vocalist though. Her performance was really good. I was so thrilled for Thompson Square and LBT!! Totally shocked about entertainer…but so glad Taylor nor Kenny got it. Why does Taylor always have to have a mini play on stage when she performs…maybe to distract from her weak voice. I notice her backup singer sings an awful lot. So sorry to her fans, but she irks me the way she acts. I felt she looked out of place at the show compared to everyone else and their performances. Did ya’ll notice Faith had braces on her teeth???

  18. I am without power here in NYC, and am so mad that I missed the awards last night. I am at a workstation now, and have some random thoughts on the award results.

    I really wanted to see Little Big Town win!

    I am thrilled for Eric Church.

    I actually understand Shelton’s win for EOTY. I mean, I wish he would record better material. But he is a throwback to Mel Tillis, Roy Clark type guys who has a presence beyond country music. For me, that award is about the person who is an ambassador for the genre. I mean, it’s not given for musical quality. If it was, then the entire list of nominees would have been different.

    Seeing someone like Jason Aldean win EOTY would have puzzled me. I know he’s huge in country music, but still does not have that cross genre household name quality that I think makes someone EOTY. Blake climbed the charts for years before reaching this point.

    I am surprised to see how much backlash there is for Miranda and Blake. Quite frankly, Faith never made the quality of music Miranda makes. And Tim McGraw never had the same level of household name status as Blake.

    I know that I will play into the Carrie/Miranda/Taylor debate, but I don’t find Miranda’s win completely unjustified. People seem to forget that Carrie won a huge number of awards right out of the gate. She has not been overlooked by any of the awards, charts, or media. She is a mega-star beyond country music. She has not been overlooked. In the past, she has also won awards when up against people who put out far superior material.

    Miranda has set the bar very high for herself. People often refer to Carrie’s new album as solid and showing that she is moving in the right direction and is growing as an artist. People let her off the hook alot by focusing on her potential. Because of the critical reception and artistic expectations, Miranda is expected to come up with original, complex, artistically driven-yet radio-friendly material. I mean, Four The Record is not a disaster. Also, Pistol Annies was a critically successful side project. It took her years to get airplay. And while I don’t love her recent singles, they are very different from anything else on radio. I just don’t get the backlash. Perhaps the fact that there are so few women being played, makes this conversation so common.

    Little Big Town!!! They have paid their dues. So thrilled for anything good that comes their way!

    And I love Country Universe!!! A beacon of light during darkness in NYC.

  19. Listening to Carrie do “Blown Away” and Hunter horribly struggling through “Wanted, makes me realize what singing night after night on tour does to your voice. OH Carrie got the big notes, but that one high note and the low notes were nonexistent. Even her “Once A Day” tribute to Connie Smith was acceptable but not as good as she normally would have done.

  20. I’m with Martin on Shelton as EOTY. I mean, it still weirds me out to think of Blake Shelton – who not so long ago had to re-release Pure BS with a cover of a pop song for it to sell – as the public face of country music. But maybe he is now. I dunno; I don’t watch The Voice, and I don’t live in Middle America. In any case, I’d be surprised if he won it more than once.

    “Quite frankly, Faith never made the quality of music Miranda makes.”


    (Exhibits A, B, C)

    I do have higher expectations for Miranda than Carrie, though, yeah – maybe unfairly. It’s disheartening to see the same woman who blazed through the CMAs with the badass and meaningful “Gunpowder and Lead” a few years ago deliver a frantic, meaningless derivative like “Fastest Girl in Town.” That performance was hard for me to even watch. On the flip-side, I wouldn’t call “Blown Away” a revelation like “Gunpowder” was (it’s basically “Independence Day” with a tornado), but it certainly shows that Underwood is stretching herself. And I do think she’s become a much better interpretive singer, finally starting to live up to her technical gifts. Better to reward growth than stagnancy, in my mind.

    That said, I did absolutely love Miranda’s acceptance speech last night. She gets it: there are too few female country singers having success for there to be in-fighting among the gang – or their fans. Hopefully we’ll have Kacey Musgraves (yay) and Jana Kramer (yay…?) in the pool soon, too. I just wish Miranda had been rewarded when she was making great music as opposed to poor-to-pretty-good music, that’s all.

    And yeah, seeing Little Big Town nab it was awesome. There again, I think they should have won Vocal Group six or seven years ago, during the The Road to Here era, and not for “Pontoon.” But even their performance of that was seriously good.

    Anyway, loving all the thoughtful comments, y’all!

  21. I think there is something to the thought that with so few women on country radio, we all tend to debate the same ole stuff all the time. We pick Carrie, Taylor, even Miranda and Reba apart about what they wear, a note they miss, or a song they choose. Equal time should be given to the awful way some of the men dress, how lousy some of them sound live, and how annoying some of their songs and lyrics are.

  22. I really have to agree with Dan about Carrie Underwood. I have noticed some significant vocal growth with Carrie Underwood. While Blown Away is a little too overblown with its production for me in general, her performance of the song impressed me last night, not to mention her Connie Smith tribute. I would have been very happy for her if she had won Female Vocalist and I do think it’s ridiculous that she wasn’t nominated for Entertainer.

    I liked Taylor Swift’s performance overall last night too.

    And Miranda Lambert’s acceptance speeches were classy. I thought her FVOY speech was especially thoughtful.

  23. Actually, Cory’s questions piqued my curiousity, so I did a little puttering around Wikipedia, and it looks like the last Entertainer of the Year who did not have a platinum album was Barbara Mandrell in 1981, but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

  24. I agree with that.

    I am very puzzled with Shelton as the entertainer-especially when he was the nominee i would of bumped out of the category for the entertainers who were snubbed. Carrie for example.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.