It’s time for the 2014 CMT Music Awards, live from Nashville! Join us as we live snark, won’t you? The show is streaming live at CMT.com, starting at 8 PM Eastern!
This year’s show will be hosted solo by Kristen Bell, and features main stage performances by Carrie Underwood (with friend Miranda Lambert on their duet “Somethin’ Bad”), Blake Shelton with Gwen Sebastian, and Keith Urban, plus a short performance by Danielle Bradbery from a branded sidestage. Presenters include Carrie again (who will help honor Alan Jackson) and Cassadee Pope, who are both up for 2 awards. Carrie is among the 6 finalists for Video Of The Year (for “See You Again”), the lone category where voting is ongoing at CMT.com.
Additional performers range from the sublime (Lee Ann Womack and Kacey Musgraves honoring Alan Jackson) to the ridiculous (Florida Georgia Line with Luke Bryan and Jason Derulo will perform a medley of Derulo’s “Talk Dirty” and FGL/Luke’s “This Is How We Roll,” which is about to be released as a remix featuring Derulo). Hunter Hayes, Jennifer Nettles, and John Legend will team for an arrangement of Legend’s “All Of Me” done by Hayes. Also look for Little Big Town’s TV debut of their new single “Day Drinking” and full performances by Eric Church with Halestorm’s Lizzy Hale, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum, Jake Owen, and Brantley Gilbert. Additional sidestage performers include David Nail (whose current single is cowritten by David Cook).
Please join us for the live stream of the show plus pre-show red carpet talk, and please weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below!
ZZ Top kicks us off before Florida Georgia Line pop out of some infernal hell to perform “This Is How We Roll” (off key, despite the backing track), and are joined by Luke Bryan before Jason Derulo takes over for “Talk Dirty” despite no real musical segue, and then baseball hats are turned backwards and they all break it down for a dance. I like Blake Shelton a little better for his grim face during this performance, though Miranda Lambert is dutifully singing along. Our performers close by letting the backing track do the heavy lifting on “This Is How We Roll.”
Cut to a pretaped package where our host Kristen Bell is sobbing over her previous cohosts Toby Keith and Jason Aldean not joining her this year. She wants a co-host. Malin Ackerman and Cheryl Hines are there for support, and sign her up for the country version of Tindr, Hollr. Um OK. Cue guest appearances from unsuccessful co-host candidates Dax Shepard, Tom Arnold, and Sean Hayes after Kristen already laughed off the possibility of people like Kanye West and Donald Sterling. After a pep talk that snarks on country as a “brozone,” Kristen is all determined to do an awesome job hosting the show by herself.
Now dressed, she heads from her dressing room to the stage. On her way, she gets passive-aggressive “encouragement” from Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum, and Alan Jackson (“you can’t be worse than the girl who cohosted last year!”. As she waits for the elevator to take her to the stage, we find out what’s going on in the elevator. Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard hilariously reenact the Solange Knowles-Jay-Z elevator fight with Luke Bryan trying to separate them. OK, that was a nice gag.
Kristen starts her monologue and after teasing Luke about his recent on stage fall, she picks up on the topic of male domination of country radio. She declares this night to be a ladies night, and then teases the guys of country for their signature tight jeans. She sings a song about tight jeans that rhymes “buckle” with “moose knuckle.”
Brooklyn Decker and Jason Aldean are up to present the CMT Award for Group Video Of The Year…to The Band Perry for “DONE.” They thank the fans, their video director Declan Whitebloom, everybody at their label, including His Dread Lord Scott Borchetta, and more.
Danielle Bradbery takes us to commercial with the chorus of her current single “Young In America.” She sounds very nice, is rocking Carrie Underwood-style circa the 2013 CMA Fest.
Cody Alan and the cast of Party Down South reveal the 6 Finalists for Video Of The Year, including Carrie Underwood for “See You Again.” Voting continues!
Bobby Bones and Lindsay Stirling appear and Bones makes a lame crack about Jake Owen being a woman, introduces a Stirling violin jam, and after plugging her appearance on his syndicated morning radio show, they introduce Hunter Hayes. Hunter is performing his new single “Tattoo.” No lack of energy from Hunter as usual, but dodgy vocals as is his tendency, and his voice seems to cut out at the beginning of every chorus. Catchy tune, but if you like good live vocals, Hunter is not your guy.
Justin Moore introduces Blake Shelton, who is up to present the CMT for Breakthrough Video Of The Year. Will he give it to his Voice protegee, Cassadee Pope? Yes he will! Cassadee is thrilled, and shares a hug with fellow Big Machine Label Group act Brantley Gilbert. She thanks the fans, her mom, her boyfriend, her label, and even remembers her manager Irving Azoff and her reps at CAA.
Carrie Underwood is up to introduce the segment that will redeem this show musically. After mentioning that her 1st ever concert was headlined by this person, Carrie teases us with a few lines of hits like “Chattahoochee,” “Gone Country,” and “Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning” from a legend being honored for 55 videos and 20+ years of music: Alan Jackson. and then introduces the great Lee Ann Womack and Kacey Musgraves singing the Alan hit “Livin’ On Love.” They sound so lovely. Carrie presents Alan with the 1st ever CMT Impact Award, and he gives a heartfelt speech thanking CMT, the fans, his wife, and complimenting Lee Ann and Kacey on their performance.
Kristen Bell re-emerges dressed as 90s era Alan Jackson. Apparently nobody else got the memo. She introduces Kate Walsh to present the CMT Award for Male Video Of The Year. Like last year, the buckle goes to Blake Shelton for “Doin’ What She Likes.” He gives another shoutout to Cassadee for her win, and thanks the fans and mentions he now owes Luke Bryan an expensive dinner.
Tyler Farr takes us to commercial with a slightly wobbly version of his controversial hit “Redneck Crazy,” which depicts a guy visiting/stalking the home of an ex who was apparently cheating on him, and throwing beer cans at the window and generally making a scene (with no physical confrontation).
The guys from ZZ Top Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill are back to introduce Keith Urban, who performs “Cop Car” from the Bluebird Cafe. Or actually the “Bluebird Cafe,” because the walls suddenly open to reveal that he’s in the middle of the Bridgestone Arena. Nice job, Keith. Keeping it simple (just Keith and his electric guitar) makes for a good showcase of the song.
Eric Decker and Jessie James Decker, he of the NY Jets and she of some pop and country singles (and both of them of an E! reality show) introduce Jake Owen to perform his would-be song of the summer “Beachin’.” He’s outside the Bridgestone Arena, on a branded stage. The beach balls are flying.
Jake cues us back into the Bridgestone, where Eric Church and Lizzy Hale perform a track off his current album, The Outsiders called “That’s Damn Rock N Roll.” 2 songs in a row where there’s at least as much if not more talking than singing. This being a song about what makes rock & roll, there’s also some screaming. Give this to Eric Church, he knows how to create a live moment. Too, he’s been happy to showcase women in his performances, whether Valerie June at the 2012 ACM Awards (for a performance of his singl “Like Jesus Does”) or Lizzy Hale here. It’s a strong performance, but obviously not going to be to everybody’s taste.
Thomas Rhett has the moves like (Luke) Bryan when he performs his offensive hit “Get Me Some Of That,” where “that” refers to her “moneymaker” because she’s dancing like “her college major was twistin’ and turnin’ on Friday night.” I mean, I guess it counts as progress for bro country that they’re speculating that a woman would have a college major but…
Kristen Bell is very excited to introduce the very 1st country hologram (except Brad Paisley‘s been doing holograms of Alison Krauss and Carrie for years? Jason Aldean has a Kelly Clarkson hologram too). Anyway, when the “hologram” is revealed, it’s Tom Arnold pretending to be Jason Aldean. Cut to an amused Jason Aldean, who is attendance with former Idol contestant and current girlfriend Brittany Kerr. *AHEM*
Moving on…Keith Urban and Kacey Musgraves plug her upcoming CMT Crossroads performance with Katy Perry before presenting the CMT for Performance Of The Year to Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie for their performance of “Oh No/All Night Long” at last year’s CMT Artists Of The Year.
LeAnn Rimes is up to introduce a Hunter Hayes-arranged performance of “All Of Me” by John Legend with a gorgeously soulful Jennifer Nettles and Hunter on acoustic guitar. They are joined by a cellist, banjo player, and a few other instrumentalists for a very classy performance.
Cassadee is back, saddled with Twitter Tracker duties, but doing her job with aplomb.
After a gag about gift bags (during which Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard makes what I assume is an unscripted dash out of his seat to go…somewhere else), Kristen Bell introduces Dierks Bentley who performs his hilarious single “Drunk On A Plane,” complete with a troupe of stewardess dancers. Yes, this song is about a party and alcohol on a plane, but it’s also a heartbreak song, and it’s actually pretty witty. I could’ve done without the gimmick of the dancers, but whatever.
Sara Evans and Motley Crue’s Vince Neil are up to the present the CMT Award for Collaborative Video Of The Year to Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan for “This Is How We Roll.” They thank God and they thank the fans, whom Luke says inspired the (really cheesy) video treatment with the fire and the motorcyles.
Cole Swindell takes us to commercial with a chorus from his hit single “Chillin’ It,” and though his moves like Bryan are slightly improved from his painfully awkward video for the song, dancing is just not his thing.
Stone Cold Steve Austin introduces Brantley Gilbert, he of the recent 211k 1st week album sales, to perform his recent #1 single, “Bottoms Up.” Not much muscle in his vocal, and not much energy in his performance until he does a backflip off his drummer’s platform. Seriously, the screams of the individual people whose hands he’s slapping are coming through more clearly than his voice, and it’s not because the screams are that overwhelming.
Kristen Bell introduces Dan+Shay to take us to commercial, and they belt out a clip from their hit “19 You & Me.” Pretty good use of their 30 seconds, I think.
Kip Moore is joined by Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio to introduce Luke Bryan performing his current #1 hit “Play It Again.” He walks through and works the crowd. I think his music is beyond mediocre but to give credit, Luke knows how to please a crowd. And given the kind of lust I saw the 1 time I was curious/brave/stupid enough to check his mentions, he’s a brave man to walk through a crowd. Good vocals. Wish they were on a better song. Huge hit though. Carrie and her husband Mike Fisher got caught looking uninterested. So does Danielle, and that cap is getting more than 1 RT right now (this makes me like you even more Danielle!!!!). EDIT: A meme is born!
Beth Behr of CBS’s 2 Broke Girls costarred in the Lady Antebellum video for “Downtown,” and introduces them to perform their new single, “Hey Bartender.” Hillary Scott has a tendency towards pitch problems live but this is a good performance from them of a song that based on its early Itunes sales looks like it’ll be a hit for them.
James Van Der Beek is up to present the CMT Award for Female Video Of The Year, which goes for the 4th straight year to Miranda Lambert, this time for “Automatic.” She hugs Blake, kind of mid-fives Carrie, and thanks the fans her video director Trey Fanjoy. She’s all about the love to everybody.
David Nail takes us to commercial with spot-on vocals on his #1 single “Whatever She’s Got.” One of country’s very best vocalists, he makes a great impression in 30 seconds.
Eli Young Band introduces Little Big Town for the TV debut of their new single out this week, “Day Drinking,” which seeks to build on their breakout smash “Pontoon.” Everybody, including drum line, is clad in all white, and as usual, Little Big Town is nailing this vocally. Karen Fairchild sings lead, as she often does on LBT singles. Their performance is punctuated by exploding paint, Holi-style! The paint presumably doesn’t reach the celebs, just the fans up front. LBT and their band is drenched in paint, and laughing it up at the end of the song.
The Band Perry introduce Blake Shelton who is performing “Boys Round Here,” because he hates me.
We’re back inside, where Kristen Bell introduces Rascal Flatts, who make a crack about all the drinking songs making them see “duo” or maybe “trio.” Heh. They present the CMT for Duo Video Of The Year to Florida Georgia Line for “Round Here.” A performance of “Boys Round Here” into an award for “Round Here.” The song remains the same. They thank the fans, video director Peter Zavadil, etc.
Brett Eldredge takes us to commercial with a 30 second performance of “Beat Of The Music.” Another strong rising singer, he is sounding better here than he did at the ACM Awards. Good impression.
Kristen Bell is joined by husband Dax Shepard for some kind of lame sex banter, and introduce Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood to perform their new duet from Miranda’s new album Platinum, “Somethin’ Bad.” The rocker is really not the greatest song, and well below their massive talent levels, but Miranda and Carrie and their big hair are having fun and it’s nice to see the 2 biggest ladies in country music today on stage together. They both alter the melody to avoid some of the phrase ending low notes that sounded garbled at the Billboard Music Awards debut of the song, and this performance is overall quite a bit stronger than that one. The reaction in the arena appears to be huge.
Lionel Richie presents the CMT Award for Video Of The Year…to Carrie Underwood for “See You Again”!!!! Well done, Carrie fans, this is her 3rd consecutive year winning Video Of The Year (her 5th in that category, 3 out of Carrie’s 4 videos from the Blown Away era won Video Of The Year!), and her 11th win overall at the CMTs. After high-fiving an adorably happy Miranda, Carrie breathlessly thanks the fans, and director Eric Welch for making the vision she had for the message of the song a reality. Oops, there’s a shot of husband Mike clapping but looking kind of stone-faced after her speech (during which she didn’t mention him, so this is probably going to become a stupid tabloid thing, right? Even if he was smiling big just a few moments before). But anyway, congrats again to Carrie and her fans, and let’s all escape before they inflict this thing called “Party Done South” on us. Until the next country awards show!
[That’s in November, in case you were wondering.]