By Meg Miller
This year’s Country Music Awards were filled with the usual glitz, glamour and southern drawl of any country award show.
Hosted by fan favorites and veterans Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, we were greeted by funny bits, countless incredible performances and several touching tributes to those who have passed and those still thriving in country music today.
The dynamic duo of Underwood and Paisley started with skits after a crowd-pleasing opening performance by Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line.They started off the show as they have in years past with Paisley playing his guitar and the two singing about events of the past year.
They sang their version of “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” with several allusions to current celebrity feuds, referencing Tom Petty’s hatred of everyone and Julianne Hough’s recent Halloween faux pas, and even sent Kellie Pickler into the crowd to assign different musicians to feuds among themselves.
As a country music show, they made their usual slight to the presidential office, joking about the Obamacare website controversy.
They concluded their opening monologue with a mocking, yet original tribute to Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke’s infamous VMA performance of “Blurred Lines,” by adding their own twist and bringing in the cast of popular television show, “Duck Dynasty.”
Though the title of the show may lead you to believe awards are the focus, the true magic was in the concerts. The night was littered with stellar performances by everyone from Lady Antebellum to Kenny Rogers to Tim McGraw.
Taylor Swift delivered a haunting performance of hit song “Red,” and added a new twist by collaborating with legends Allison Krause and Vince Gill.
Female Vocalist of the Year, Miranda Lambert collaborated with Keith Urban in their performance of “We Were Us,” which had Male Vocalist of the Year, also Lambert’s real-life husband, Blake Shelton, singing along from the crowd.
Controversy has arisen about Breakout Artist of the Year, Kacey Musgraves’ performance of her hit song “Follow Your Arrow,” a song about following your own passions and beliefs, in that ABC censored part of the chorus every time when she said, “When the straight and narrow/Gets a little too straight/Roll up a joint, or don’t/Just follow your arrow/Wherever it points.” The censors bleeped out the word “joint” because of its reference to an illegal drug, but some are saying that it takes away from the message of the song.
However, Luke Bryan’s touching tribute to his brother and sister, who have both passed away, stole the show in his heartwarming dedication of his new song “Drink a Beer.”
More tears flowed as Taylor Swift accepted a great honor, The Pinnacle Award. Legends like George Straight, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Rascal Flats presented the singer with this award for everything she has achieved in country music so gracefully over the past few years.
Greats like Mick Jagger, Carly Simon and Justin Timberlake congratulated Taylor over video, which resulted in her famous awe-struck reaction and teary-eyed acceptance speech.
Another tribute was made for legendary country musician George Jones, with Alan Jackson and George Straight performing his hit “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”
The love and respect that the country community had for Jones was palpable in the audience’s reaction.
Despite usual awards show expectations, it was a pleasant surprise to be serenaded by country music elite instead of bored by long acceptance speeches. The awards were to-the-point and given only for ones that the audience would be interested in.
It was instead a night full of fun and heartwarming performances by those we’ve grown to love.