45th annual CMA Awards rock Nashville

45th annual CMA Awards rock Nashville

Abbey Seltzer

The 45th annual CMA Awards at the Bridestone Arena in Nashville exploded within the first five seconds of the broadcast – literally. A much-hyped performance of “Footloose” by Blake Shelton and Kenny Loggins featured heavy and explosive pyrotechnics and a swarm of dancers, shimmying along to the countrified version of the cult classic song.

Shelton and his wife, Miranda Lambert, won male and female Vocalist of the Year. The couple has now won the coveted award for two consecutive years.

Entertainer of the Year was awarded to Taylor Swift, the sole female nominee in the category, and was the only trophy she took home that night.

“This is saying to all those fans who filled up all those stadiums and the arenas this year – thank you,” Swift said as she accepted the award. ”You have made my year.”

Swift gave an uncharacteristic performance, choosing a more comfortable route with “Ours” than some of her more memorable performances (“You’re Not Sorry,” “Innocent”). Sitting on a living room couch in a pink sweater, jeans, and sneakers, she comes across as a whimsical young girl, completely gaga over her boyfriend. When the song was over, she sat and hugged the guitar for a few moments.

The award show was hosted by comedic super-duo Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley for the fourth year in a row, the star-studded show featured an unending number of performances, guest stars, and actors, including actress Reese Witherspoon, ESPN announcer Erin Andrews, actor Kellan Lutz, the famous Miss Piggy, and “American Idol” contestant Lauren Alaina, among other stars.

Country star Faith Hill returned to the CMA stage for the first time in five years with her new single “Come Home.” The performance was as spectacular as she was in her heyday and is a strong indication that she is back in the action again.
Other performers of the night include Jason Aldean (Album of the Year), Sugarland (Duo of the Year), Lady Antebellum (Vocal Group of the Year), and Kenny Chesney with Grace Potter.

Sibling trio, The Band Perry won three awards, including Song of the Year and Single of the Year for “If I Die Young” in addition to New Artist of the Year.

Kimberly Perry and her brothers Neil and Reid Perry also performed their current single, “All Your Life.” For all the oomph on their eponymous album, the song came across as flat and without emotion. The only exception was during the bridge, but even then, it was overly dramatized and boring. It was very disappointing for such a great, new band.

Highlights of the night included a medley by R&B singer Lionel Richie, Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, and Darius Rucker, previously of Hootie and the Blowfish fame. Richie is releasing a country CD in March 2012.

The show also included a tribute to legendary singer and guitarist Glen Campbell, who announced he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in June. Vince Gill, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley sang three of Campbell’s songs with composer Jimmy Webb, including “By the Time I Get to Phoenix, “Wichita Lineman” and “Galveston.”

The Country Music Awards were held in Nashville on Wednesday, Nov. 9.