2017 CMA Awards Recap

 Posted by at 12:36 am on November 9, 2017
Nov 092017

Here is a play-by-play of what happened tonight on the CMA Awards along with some notes and my thoughts.  If you didn’t get to see them, this will help you know what you missed.  If you did watch them, let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

  • The 2017 CMA Awards kicked off with a darkened room and Eric Church standing in a spotlight singing the beginning of “Amazing Grace.”
  • Darius Rucker and Keith Urban then launched into Hootie and the Blowfish’s “Hold My Hand” – they were soon joined by Lady Antebellum and a choir.  Then a curtain lifted and Thomas Rhett, Tim McGraw, Little Big Town, Reba, Brooks & Dunn, Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, Kelsea Ballerini, and Luke Bryan joined them to close out the song.  Pretty cool moment to see so much star power on the stage at once!
  • Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood then came out as hosts and talked about all of the tragedy American’s have faced this year.  Shootings, terrorist attacks, hurricanes, storms, etc.  They talked about how the show will be true to country music standards and honor those that have been lost, as well as lightning the mood by making you laugh.
  • They then made fun of the failed CMA media guidelines.
  • Then they made fun of President Donald Trump with a jingle based on Carrie Underwood’s single “Before He Cheats” with a song called “Before He Tweets.”
  • Their monologue continued with comments about P!nk, then everyone put on eclipse glasses as they sang a song along about some of the nominees along to “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” but instead the “Total Eclipse of the Garth.”
  • Then, they started making fun of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, who came up behind them on stage to confront them.  It turned into a 10-year anniversary honor for their 10-years of co-hosting the awards with their own custom-made Barbie dolls.
  • The first award of the night was presented by Brittany Snow and Ruby Rose for Single of the Year.  The award went to “Blue Ain’t Your Color” by Keith Urban.  It was Urban’s first ever CMA for Single of the Year.
  • Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley came back from commercial to introduce Thomas Rhett who performed his recent #1 hit single “Unbelievable.”
  • Bobby Bones, Karlie Kloss, Luke Combs, and Brett Young then came out to present the award to Song of the Year (which goes to the songwriter).  The winner was “Better Man,” the #1 hit for Little Big Town that Taylor Swift wrote.
  • There was then a tribute to Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry by Dierks Bentley and Rascal Flatts as they performed “My Town.”  Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts honored Gentry by wearing a Batman shirt, as Gentry was a huge fan of the Superhero.  Then Eddie Montgomery came out to help them finish the song.  Lots of tears both on screen and on this keyboard.  Still can’t believe T-Roy is gone.
  • Brad Paisley came back from commercial to introduce a duet by Kelsea Ballerini and Reba on “Legends,” the current single from Ballerini.  Pretty cool for Kelsea to get to sing this with a real legend!
  • Carrie Underwood introduced Luke Bryan who performed his new single “Light It Up”
  • Another commercial break ended with Brad Paisley introducing a Miranda Lambert performance that started with a heavy dose of steel guitar and a very traditional-sounding country song…two thumbs up for “To Learn Her”!
  • Jason Ritter and JoAnna Garcia-Swisher came out to present the award for New Artist of the Year.  The award went to Jon Pardi.  I still have a problem with this award going to someone who’s been on the charts for the past few years.  It should be to someone who’s first charted song happened within the past year!
  • Paisley and Underwood then introduced Garth Brooks, who performed his current single “Ask Me How I Know”
  • Paisley and Underwood came back from commercial with a skit about “Goat Yoga.”  Then introduced Brothers Osborne who performed their recent hit single “It Ain’t My Fault,” then rolled that into a cover of “Tulsa Time” to honor the late Don Williams.
  • Tyler Perry came out to present the award for Album of the Year.  He started his speech by honoring Charlie Pride and his handling of being a black man in country music, and then called for togetherness and unity.  The Album of the Year award went to Chris Stapleton’s From a Room:  Volume 1.  This is his second CMA Award for Album of the Year.
  • Carrie Underwood introduced Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, who performed “The Rest of Our Life”
  • Brad Paisley came back from commercial to introduce P!nk for a solo performance.  I figured she’d be there to duet with Kenny Chesney, but instead she performed a song called “Barbies” that surprisingly wasn’t something that made me immediately declare “this doesn’t belong on this show!”
  • Carrie introduced Old Dominion who performed “No Such Thing as a Broken Heart” – the song ended with them segueing into the announcement of the “Broadcast Personalities of the Year” award winners.
  • The next commercial break ended by going right into a touching performance by Little Big Town and Jimmy Webb as they honored the recently deceased Glen Campbell with his hit “Wichita Lineman”
  • HOLY CRAP!  Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush came out together as Sugarland and hinted at a reunion!  I wrote about this awhile back thinking it’d never happen!  They then presented the award for Duo of the Year which went to Brothers Osborne.
  • Carrie Underwood then announced that Glen Campbell and Willie Nelson earlier in the day won Musical Event of the Year in an off-camera presentation.
  • They came back from commercial with Brad announcing that Mac McAaaanally won Musician of the Year earlier in an off-camera presentation.
  • Brad and Carrie then introduced Chris Stapleton who performed “Broken Halos”
  • Brad introduced Maren Morris and Niall Horan who dueted on a medley of her song “I Could Use a Love Song” and his song “Seeing Blind.”  The majority of the performance was of his song.
  • Another commercial break ended with another intro into a song.  This time Carrie Underwood performing a Gospel song “Softly and Tenderly” with the entire audience holding up battery-powered candles.  As the camera slowly pans, it ends up on the screen in the background showing images of those that the country music world has lost this year.  Forgive any typos as this had to be typed fast as they flashed across the screen.  The list included Leon Russell, Holly Dunn, Jerry Flowers, Mentor Williams, Tony Martell, Mark Gray, Gordie Tapp, Sam Lovullo, Hayward Bishop Jr, Tommy Allsup, Greg Trooper, Don Warden, Rhubarb Jones, Bob Wootton, Bob Heatherly, Sandy Gallin, Michael Johnson, Gregg Allman, Terry Elam, Tom Petty, Glen Campbell, Don Williams, Jo Walker-Meador, Troy Gentry, Andrew Dorff, Butch Trucks, Kitty Moon Emery, Norro Wilson, Billy Joe Walker Jr, Bob Forshee, Wendell Goodman, Reggie McLaughlin, Kayton Roberts, Geoff Mack, D.I. Menard, Billy Mize, and a few others that either flashed too quickly or were too small to see on the screen.  They then finished the tribute with images of all of those lost in the Route 91 shooting in Las Vegas as Carrie broke down and struggled to finish the song.  Beautifully done.
  • Brett Eldredge, Dustin Lynch, and Leah Michelle came out to present the award for Vocal Group of the Year.  The winner was Little Big Town!
  • Brad Paisley performed his new single “Heaven South.”  If you haven’t heard it yet, it will remind you of the “Mud on the Tires” and “Ticks” era of his career…which is a good thing!  Love this song.  He then brought out Kane Brown to join him on the second half of the song.  When I met Kane a couple of years ago he didn’t have much of a stage presence…he seemed really nervous on stage.  Looks like he’s gotten better at it, too-fast-hand-waiving excluded.  I know his look isn’t what you’d expect from a country singer, and his songs can be a bit bro-country at times, but he does have a great voice.
  • Jon Pardi then performed on a satellite stage in the middle of the crowd with a snippet of his song “Dirt On My Boots” that led into him announcing the winners of the Radio Stations of the Year
  • Kellie Pickler introduced a duet by Lauren Alaina and Dan + Shay as they performed a cover of “Get Together” by The Youngbloods.
  • The next commercial break ended with Keith Urban performing a new song called “Female”
  • Michelle Monaghan and Jimmie Johnson came out to present the award for Female Vocalist of the Year.  The award went to Miranda Lambert for the 7th time in her career!
  • Brad Paisley welcomed Eric Church back to the stage for a performance of “Chattanooga Lucy”
  • Trisha Yearwood came out to present the award for Male Vocalist of the Year, which went to Chris Stapleton.  This was his 3rd time winning this award.
  • Brad and Carrie honored the 2017 Country Music Hall of Fame inductees, including Alan Jackson who came out to perform “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” – he’s still one of my all-time favorites!  Great to see all the other stars singing along as they panned the camera around the crowd.
  • Brad and Carrie welcomed Reba back to the stage to present the award for Entertainer of the Year.  This year’s winner is Garth Brooks!  If you’ve seen his live show on the current tour, you’ll know he deserves it!
  • The show closed with another performance from Alan Jackson as he performed “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” with some help from Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley!

This was one of the better award shows in recent years.  A lot of great tributes, a lot of traditional sounding country music, and a noticeable absence of the bro-country type artists like Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, and Sam Hunt.  Well done CMA, well done.

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