2013 CMT Music Awards – Live Blog & Discussion!

Welcome to our 2013 CMT Music Awards Live Blog!

You can stream the CMT Music Awards live on CMT.com!

Jason Aldean, Lenny Kravitz, and a whole lot of flashing lights kick us off with “American Woman.” Is it my stream or is Jason Aldean’s enunciation muffled? Is he singing through a vocoder for effect? He drops through a wormhole, into what turns out to be a group therapy session for his anxiety over cohosting the CMT Awards.

His therapist? Dr. Kristen Bell. But wait! It’s a group therapy session, where Vince Vaughn shames Jason for his fears, Blake Shelton wants to know if he can turn around his chair to face the group before telling Jason that cohosting doesn’t require any help, Reba reminds Blake about just how much she had to coach him as ACM cohost, Luke Bryan wants some love from Blake, Carrie Underwood reminds Jason that he has to walk the fine line between having fun with the celebs in attendance and having too much fun with them, Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Melfi tries to help out, Dr. Drew Pinsky shows no shame for his Celebrity Rehab track record, and Kelsey Grammar as Dr. Frasier wants to hook up with Kristen Bell. Vince Vaughn closes with pep talk that name-drops his new movie, The Internship.

Well, somehow Jason is now ready, and he and Kristen go through a magical outfit changer-upper that glams up Kristen and changes absolutely nothing about Jason. I don’t know if that sent the message they meant it to send?

Well, Jason and Kristen are on stage together now. Kristen threatens to rip into everybody. Jason is reluctant. She tells him to go after Taylor Swift. Jason talks about how big a star she is and how country music will always be her home. Even though she has no interest in making it her home except when it’s convenient, amirite? Kristen proceeds to go after Carrie Underwood. This is awkward. Kristen concedes she is beautiful but says she never does anything for society, which is of course a pretext for reminding everybody that Carrie donated a million dollars to the Red Cross for disaster relief. Discovering that this dry well of jokes was in fact dry, Kristen and Jason introduce our first presenters.

  • Kellie Pickler and Scotty McCreery are up to present the award for Breakthrough Video Of The Year. Kellie jokes that they were supposed to tango but she can’t dance in her dress. Scotty says he just plain can’t dance. LOL! Can they cohost this next year? They present the Breakthrough Video Of The Year award to Florida-Georgia Line for “Cruise.”

Cassadee Pope takes us to commercial with a chorus from her single, “Wasting All These Tears.” She, like all the other Nationwide Insurance Stage performers, is backed by The Mavericks, who are awesome and whose album In Time everybody should pick up.

After some awkward begging that is meant to be suggestive, Kristen is begging Jason to sing a duet that fans can request online. Tweet your request using #CMTAwards . Not gonna lie, kind of hoping it’s “Gangnam Style.”

The final Video Of The Year nominees include Carrie Underwood for “Blown Away” and…does it really matter who else? OK, OK, the other nominees are Jason Aldean for “1994,” Luke Bryan for “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye,” Florida-Georgia Line for “Cruise,” Miranda Lambert for “Mama’s Broken Heart,” and Taylor Swift for LOLOLOLOLOLOL “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” To vote, text the last name of your pick to 8602!

Anna Sophia Robb and Brantley Gilbert describe Miranda Lambert (who may be a last minute fill-in for George Strait who unfortunately had to pull out of his performance slot after the passing of his father at the age of 91) as a “pink fur coat, wrapped in barbed wire.” Miranda steps up to perform her hit “Mama’s Broken Heart.” She has toned down her phrasing somewhat since her manic (but kind of effective, depending on who you asked) ACM performance. OK, maybe not so much with the toning down on the bridge and last chorus. EDIT: Never mind, I just remembered that Pistol Annies canceled all their June gigs and Miranda stepped in solo instead. This is Miranda replacing the Pistol Annies “Hush Hush” performance.

The Avett Brothers introduce Kacey Musgraves, who is performing her t30 and rising single, “Blowin’ Smoke.” Kacey is dressed casually in denim cutoffs, a denim jacket, Tshirt, and boots. And big hair, of course! For the big singalong bridge, she strolls through the crowd and high fives everybody, which is a cool touch for a song that’s basically about the dissatisfaction of working women who dream of escaping the boredom of their lives but never actually do it.

Awkwardness ensues when Kristen Bell tries to tell a Dog The Bounty Hunter joke but the prompter goes down, and she has to cop to not knowing the rest of the joke. There really wasn’t a punchline, turns out she was just introducing the “stars” of that show, which airs on CMT.

  • Dog and Beth the Bounty Hunter say CMT still plays great music. That’s really credible coming from the stars of one of the many CMT reality shows that are squeezing out music videos from the channel! They present CMT Performance Of The Year to Miranda Lambert for Overrated Overdone “Over You,” from CMT Artists Of The Year whose reign of terror over country awards show has now finally concluded. We hope. (For the record, Miranda has written and recorded some fantastic tunes as a solo act and as part of Pistol Annies. Check out “Dear Diamond” on her album Four The Record, one of her best songs ever and one she wrote by herself.)

Dustin Lynch takes us to commercial with his debut single, t5 hit “Cowboys & Angels.”

House band The Mavericks are sounding great.

Jason & Kristen introduce Florida-Georgia Line, whom we’ve already seen way too much of on this show. They in turn introduce Darius Rucker to perform his smash cover of the Old Crow Medicine Show‘s “Wagon Wheel.” He makes his way through the crowd, high-fiving and hugging fans and artists, including Cowboy Troy, Jana Kramer, Brantley Gilbert, and Carrie Underwood while her husband, birthday boy Mike Fisher sings along. Actually a great idea to celebrate this song with the fans, since it’s been an anthem at bars, clubs, and parties ever since the original version came out. Well, except for how all the walking and hugging is kind of affecting his pitch every now and then. Oh well. Darius really does have a great voice, and he’s just so infectious when he sings this. When he makes it to the stage, we see Lady Antebellum singing backup as they do on the studio version. Erm…everybody’s kind of out of tune on this. But everybody on stage and in the crowd is happy, because this song makes everybody happy. This song’s really more about raising your glass and singing along at the end of the day, and Darius and Lady A recognize this when they actually hold their mics out to the crowd, who is happy to oblige.

Kree Harrison sings us to commercial with a chorus of “All Cried Out,” and sounds great! Handles the big, rangy chorus quite well, and looks gorgeous! Kree should sing many songs with The Mavericks, for the record.

Jason has headed outside the Bridgestone Arena, where an additional stage is set up. From that stage Hunter Hayes performs “I Want Crazy.” Hunter tempts fate by walking through fangirls to the stage. Actually kind of impressed by how he’s smoothly using the space between lyrics to talk to the crowd. He starts out sounding much better than he did at the ACMs, but starts to run out of breath about halfway through. He reminisces about his ACM Stevie Wonder duet with a little scatting. His presence on stage doesn’t flag even though his vocals do, but what people will probably remember from this is Hunter’s energy. And all the girls wearing “Crazy” shades singing along.

Hunter throws to Luke Bryan, who is also not at the Bridgestone (he will be playing the Walmart Shareholders’ meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas tonight). Luke Bryan reprises his Healing In The Heartland performance of “Crash My Party,” but of course his current single is actually appropriate in this setting. Lots of ladies singing along with Luke on this. He sounds strong and works the stage. Luke throws things back to the Bridgestone, where Taylor Swift is up to perform. This is probably a pre-taped performance (Luke’s, not Taylor’s).

Taylor Swift poses her way into “Red,” which is a catchy tune that awkwardly mashes a lot of color metaphors for feelings together. Can I just say that Autotuned bonus hooks are one of my least favorite new trends in country music? I’m talking to you too, Blake Shelton (“Boys Round Here”) and Tim McGraw (“Southern Girl”). Well, she’s less off pitch than usual – Taylor’s clearly had vocal lessons and they’ve clearly helped. Still no depth to her voice though, and her tone isn’t really all that pleasant. Taylor’s dramatic posing goes into her guitarist’s solo, when she is pretty clearly playing one rhythmic chord while she does her signature hair flipping. Meanwhile, a color guard of red marches across the stage behind he and waves red flags. And there is red….stuff….on the screens. And her band has red instruments. Branding, ya’ll.

Cassadee Pope updates the Twitter Tracker, the thankless job Lauren Alaina had last year. Cassadee informs us that there are girls who think Hunter Hayes is hot. Welcome to country music, Cassadee!

Jason plugs the Crown Royale Lounge, and stumbles over his introduction of Larry The Cable Guy. Larry The Cable Guy actually scores some laughs telling Carrie to stop calling him because they’re both married. Carrie plays along, and flirts and blows him a kiss. Mike laughs, but then jumps out of his seat as if to threaten Larry The Cable Guy. Larry says he eats hockey players for lunch! Getting serious again, he tells Carrie to stop calling him. Because really. He also wants Darius Rucker to stop calling him. Heh.

  • Larry The Cable Guy presents Collaborative Video Of The Year to Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Eric Church for “That’s The Only Way I Know.” Eric Church still wears sunglasses inside

The Band Perry introduces Keith Urban, performing “Little Bit Of Everything.” Those lyrics in the verse about wanting a cool chick who’ll cook for him but’ll dance on a bar in her bare feet and do what he wants when he wants haven’t changed :\ :\ :\ He sounds strong on this though, and he’s having fun with it.

Jason Aldean pays tribute to George Jones. This is a nice, sincere moment in the show. The Mavericks perform “The Race Is On.” Not enough of it, but it’s something.

Heyyyy, Pepsi’s been focusing on its Hunter Hayes ad lately but there’s the Tate Stevens “Holler If You’re With Me” Pepsi ad.

  • Jana Kramer and Charles Esten are flattering each other on their success, thinking they make a pretty good duo. Segue into the Duo Video Of The Year, which goes to Florida-Georgia Line for “Cruise.”

Lisa Marie Presley and Ed Sheeran introduce Lady Antebellum, performing the second single off their current album, the anthemic “Goodbye Town.” Charles Kelley is on an elevated stage, while Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood are extreme stage right and extreme stage left respectively. They join each other in the middle. They sound better here than on their “Wagon Wheel” harmonies. By the way, Hillary Scott is probably due soon (not sure exactly when), so props to her for maintaining her energy on stage. Another Carrie and Mike sighting, now they’re bobbing their heads along, and it looks like Mike knows the words to this one too! Carrie and Hillary are real life pals too.

Kristen Bell tries to steal Florida-Georgia Line’s latest CMT buckle award because they’ve already won 2. I would like to take their buckle awards back too, but more because of how their songs and videos are basically all about drinking and partying with hottie women who have no value to them beyond exposed body parts. Them being a thing in country music is one of my least favorite things about mainstream country right now.

Randy Houser takes us to commercial with a chorus of his #1 hit “How Country Feels.”

Kristen Bell is doing vocal warmups to prep her duet with Jason Aldean. He shows her how country singers warm up their voices: by drinking from a flask of whiskey. They sing “Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys,” and there’s no punchline. OK?

  • Lenny Kravitz presents Female Video Of The Year to Miranda Lambert for “Mama’s Broken Heart,” who I think has won this particular category a few years in a row now (EDIT: yes, 4 years in a row). Miranda’s pretty excited to get a kiss on the cheek from Lenny Kravitz.

Keith Urban plugs his tour which will feature the group he introduces: Little Big Town, performing a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain.” They are rocking it out and sounding as great as they always do. Keith Urban comes in for some scorching guitar work. I guess this is a good tour preview, since LBT have been known to play this live in concert.

Cassadee Pope is back to quote Twitter props to Lady Antebellum for their performance, before Love & Theft take us to commercial with their #1 hit “Angel Eyes.”

  • The Bacon Brothers (including Kevin Bacon) and Dax Shepard present Group Video Of The Year to Lady Antebellum for “Downtown.”

Kristen Bell is back outside the Bridgestone Arena introducing Jason Aldean, who rocks out his new single “Night Train.” This is one of Jason’s better vocal performances. He gets actual fireworks towards the end of his performance! And more fireworks when his performance ends!

Ashley Monroe is up on the CMT sidestage to perform the chorus of her funny and suggestive tune from her incredible album Like A Rose, “Weed Instead Of Roses.”

Miranda Lambert presents Male Video Of The Year. For sheer awkwardness, it would be awesome if Eric Church won this (and he did have the best video). But Miranda announces winner Blake Shelton for “Sure Be Cool If You Did” and accepts on her hubby’s behalf, because Blake is off taping The Voice.

Rascal Flatts steps up to talk about the devastation in Oklahoma and introduce Carrie Underwood to sing “See You Again” with a montage of images from tornado-stricken towns and people in Oklahoma behind her. The song is slightly sped up, making it even harder to sing. Carrie’s pretty emotional from the beginning, and to be honest, she’s chasing the music and pitch at times in the chorus as a result. She is joined by the members of the Nashville Christ Church choir for an epic finish. I think I would have gone for a slower, stripped down version in light of the foreseeable emotion. But I always want that from Carrie’s songs, and her sincerity came through here. Standing ovation from the crowd, and information on screen on how to donate to the Red Cross. Carrie mouths “God bless you, Oklahoma” after she finished her performance.

Report from inside the arena is that Carrie was crying as she made her way off the stage. Let the record show that same report says Taylor stopped Carrie as she was walking through the audience crying and hugged her.

  • Sheryl Crow and Kenny Rogers sing bits of “Islands In The Stream”, and present Video Of The Year to Carrie Underwood for “Blown Away.” She thanks her Lord for blessing everybody in the room with their love of music, thanks director Randee St. Nicholas, her label, management, her husband (this buckle is his present!), and fans. I’m sure if her composure were where she wanted it to be, she would have loved to have given a shoutout to her home state, especially considering what the song and video she just won for are about. I bet she’ll talk about this after the show. This is Carrie’s 2nd consecutive win for Video Of The Year, and her 4th win in this category overall.

Jason and Kristen come up with tabloid headlines for the show (Miranda Lambert’s husband was absent, and she kissed another man, Lenny Kravitz! Mike Fisher tried to beat up Larry The Cable Guy!), and then introduce Florida-Georgia Line and Nelly to perform their crossover smash “Cruise.” With break dancers, because country. Obviously a catchy tune and probably pop’s song of the summer, but there’s something so tryhard about these guys. And I still think it makes no sense that the pop remix of “Cruise” is responsible for “Cruise” being #1 on Billboard’s effed up and meaningless Hot Country Songs chart, but Nelly is not credited. Because Nelly setting a record for the longest running #1 ever on the Hot Country Songs chart is exactly the outcome that chart deserves.

But because the CMT producers occasionally know what’s up, they play us out with Darius Rucker’s “Wagon Wheel” from earlier in the show. And that’s a wrap!

About Deb B 432 Articles
Also known as Windmills, I cover country music news and live televised country events, in addition to recapping ABC's 'Nashville.' Additionally, I occasionally do long-form chart analysis that has been cited by Entertainment Weekly, Pitchfork, The Guardian, The New Republic, NPR, and more.