The 50th CMA Awards on Wednesday night was the best awards show we’ve had in a long time. Here’s five reasons why.
1. It Stayed Away From Politics
With only five days to go until Election Day, political fatigue is real. Fortunately, the CMA Awards managed to stay away from politics for most of the night. Aside from a few obligatory light jabs at both presidential candidates from the hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood coming out of the gate, the show was all about the music all night long.
Earlier in the day, Beyoncé hater Tomi Lahren tweeted her annoyance the “Lemonade” singer would take the CMA Awards stage.
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) November 2, 2016
Lahren’s tweet implied country music fans wouldn’t be receptive to Queen Bey if she used her performance slot on the CMA Awards stage to advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement or decided to wear an outfit akin to an iconic Black Panthers getup — which she did at the Super Bowl earlier this year. Fortunately, however, there were no political meltdowns.
There’s something to be said about an awards show that is just that instead of a platform for celebrities to shove their unwanted political views down everyone’s throats. Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I watched an awards show that didn’t have a massive political controversy surrounding it, or a celebrity going off the reservation to make a partisan statement. The CMA Awards provided some much-needed zen in a time of political insanity that’s corrupted even our awards shows.
2. Award Recipients’ Speeches Stayed Sane
None of the winners went on an insane political diatribe while accepting their awards. There was no whining or interrupting or celebrity cat-fights. In short, none of the award recipient’s remarks will make it into tomorrow’s edition of The Skimm, but that’s what made it awesome. They actually used the opportunity to thank the people who’ve helped them along the way — their managers, publicists, family, friends, and God.
Lori McKenna’s Song of the Year award acceptance speech for Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” was particularly touching. She revealed the song was based on a prayer she wrote for her five children.
“Tim [McGraw] took a little prayer that I wrote for five kids,” she said. “I wrote them a little prayer one day, and he took it and made this moment of it, and I thank him so much.”
3. Dolly Parton
Just before presenting Dolly with an award for a lifetime of achievement, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Kacey Musgraves, Jennifer Nettles, and Carrie Underwood sang a touching tribute to the “Jolene” singer and it was AMAZING.
Seriously, just watch.
While accepting her award, Parton made a joke about the award’s namesake, Willie Nelson, and it was hilarious.
“For me to be receiving the Willie Nelson award, this is an absolute high for me,” she quipped.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) November 3, 2016
Dolly has had an amazing career — this year, her latest album “Pure and Simple” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Album’s chart. Throughout her lifetime, 25 of her songs have hit No. 1, and 41 of her albums have reached the top 10 on Billboard’s country chart.
Also, can we talk about her fantastic yellow dress? Dolly has never been one to shy away from sequins, a choice I respect.
4. Surprise! The Dixie Chicks
Beyoncé surprised everyone by bringing The Dixie Chicks along to perform a mashup of “Daddy Lessons,” from her “Lemonade” album and The Dixie Chicks’ “Long Time Gone.” The band’s performance on the CMA stage was a huge surprise — as they weren’t announced or even introduced prior to appearing onstage alongside Queen Bey. The group has largely been shunned by the country music scene since their lead singer Natalie Maines spoke out against then-President George W. Bush in 2003.
The compilation was was awesome.
5. Maren Morris Brings Down The House
Best New Artist winner Maren Morris brought the entire audience to their feet with her song “My Church.”
Between Dolly Parton, Beyoncé, and Maren Morris, women dominated the evening, and they did so with class. There were no jokes about wearing tampons or complaints about the so-called wage gap or menstrual cramps — it was just all about the music, and that’s what made it so much fun to watch.