Last week was a big week for country music.
Not only did the CMA Fest rock downtown Nashville for four solid days and nights but major festivities for the weekend started off with a bang—and a bourbon—Wednesday night at CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena.
Kristen Bell, now in her third year hosting, finally ditched the duds (no offense to the Toby Keiths and Jason Aldeans who’ve co-hosted alongside her in the past) and got with a stud. Herself!
Bell took the stage solo and took the reigns on the fan-voted awards show honoring country music videos and TV performances, and she did not disappoint.
Fresh off appearances in the recent variety show The Maya Rudolph Show and lending her vocals in Frozen, it’s safe to say the girl is riding a career high. She added a good sense of humor and plenty of quips at the expense of country music boys and their affinity for tight jeans and Luke Bryan and his affinity for falling off stages, while also making fun of herself some along the way.
The best part of Bell’s monologue (which was all hilarious and filled with A-list guests) came as she was walking backstage, contemplating whom she should ask to host with her.
As she gets into an elevator with Florida Georgia Line boys BK and Tyler and Luke Bryan then steps off, the camera cuts to the elevator camera and a hilarious spoof of the Jay Z/Solange elevator fight from the Met Bell ensues. Classic.
For big storylines, I’ll mostly stick to the performances, the first one of the night to be specific. ZZ Top kicked off the show and was soon joined by Florida Georgia Line, pretty normal, right? Well, here comes Bryan to “crash their party,” pun intended. Still seemingly harmless, though, but then out of nowhere enter Jason Derulo. Next thing I know we’ve got Bryan and the boys rapping to Derulo’s hit “Talk Dirty.” I’ve never been more confused. I guess CMT does pride itself on collaborations and this could have easily been a feature on an episode of CMT Crossroads.
Another crossover featured John Legend performing All of Me with Hunter Hayes and Jennifer Nettles. I’m not saying you could do anything to make that glorious song sound bad, I just didn’t really… I don’t’ know. I plead the fifth.
In a mood to throw back a few? Most of the rest of the performances of the night were about drinking. Shocking, I know, for a country music show. Lady Antebellum sang Bartender, Dierks Bentley sang Drunk on a Plane, Little Big Town sang Day Drinking, Brantley Gilbert sang Bottoms Up, Blake Shelton sang Boys Round Here and Jake Owen sang Beachin’. So cheers, guys!
As far as winners and losers go for the night, if you’ve ever seen the show, or any country music award show really, then you know the staples of how the voting usually goes.
Though the days of old were all about Kenny Chesney, now the male vote is all about Blake Shelton and Bryan. And this year was no different, as Blake took home a bevy of awards and the top male honor.
As for the women, unless you’re Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert or Taylor Swift, (not as much of the latter anymore) don’t expect to take home that big buckle trophy. Again, this year Lambert swept the female category for her fifth year in a row, and Underwood took the big title of Video of the Year, her third in a row and fifth all time.
Though Lambert and Underwood teamed up again later in the show for their new duet Something Bad, something bad is far from what happened to either of them.
Probably my favorite moment and winner of the night, though, had to of come with the Breakthrough Video of the Year, which went to Cassadee Pope. I’m not a huge fan of hers and I didn’t even watch The Voice when she was on it and won, but the icing that made this cake so sweet was that she received her award from coach and mentor, Shelton.
Even an hour later when Shelton won his award for Male Video of the Year he could hardly speak and was still reeling from Pope’s win. Clearly a proud papa and a sure-fire reason his team has won The Voice three out of six times.
Talk about full circle country music fairytale. And for once it didn’t come from a Taylor Swift song.
Caitlin Rickard is a staff writer for The Democrat. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @wilsonnewswritr.