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Live blog: 2011 CMT Music Awards

by Brandy McDonnell Published: June 8, 2011
Shania Twain (AP file)
Shania Twain (AP file)

7:00 p.m.: As promised we’re starting with Shania Twain and Taylor Swift’s pre-taped parody of “Thelma & Louise.” It’s so great to see Shania back, even if it’s in a cheesy movie spoof, and hearing Kenny Rogers sing “The Gambler” is never a bad thing. I do wish that we could drive Kid Rock off a cliff. OK, that’s a little harsh, but if he could never host this awards show again, that’d be fine with me. Explain to me again the country connection, here, please?

Kid Rock (AP file)
Kid Rock (AP file)

7:04: Kid Rock is opening the show with his usual Kid Rock thing, and Wynonna is performing an intervention. Never been so glad to see one of the Judds, and this from a woman who tried to delete the OWN channel as soon as it appeared on the Cox cable guide. “This ain’t MTV, this is CMT,” she says. Now, she’s shilling her new single for seemingly forever before she finally starts belting and twanging. It’s all just a setup to give Kid Rock time to change into a duded-up cowboy hat, fancy red pants and white button-down shirt. “Hell, yeah, I’m country,” he and Wynonna declare in song. Still not convinced, but at least the Kid is acknowledging the debate.

Toby Keith (AP file)
Toby Keith (AP file)

7:08: Now, here comes something country: Oklahoma country music star is playing his new single “Made in America.” I heard a lot about the song from Toby when I interviewed him last month, so my interest is definitely sparked. It’s a big vocal performance from Toby, who’s now officially the only artist to play the CMT Music Awards every year they’ve been existed. That’s 10 years in a row. I like the pyrotechnics, and I really like the song. Definitely hit potential here.

7:10: Teen girl squeal! Just got the first look at Justin Bieber in the crowd. He’s sitting next to his country collaborators Rascal Flatts, which includes Picher-bred guitarist Joe Don Rooney.

7:11: Oh, good grief, here comes Tulsa-bred actor and live wire Gary Busey, along with “Celebrity Apprentice” winner John Rich and Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon. Hope one of them has a tranq gun in case Garey sees some oogres.

They’re going to present the best duo video award. Oklahoma has a dog in this fight with newcomers Thompson Square. Husband-and-wife duo Thompson Square includes Miami, OK, native Keifer Thompson. Here are the nominees:

Duo Video of the Year

• Steel Magnolia – “Last Night Again”

• Sugarland – “Stuck Like Glue”

• The Civil Wars – “Barton Hollow”

• The JaneDear Girls – “Wildflower”

* Thompson Square – “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not”

Sugarland (AP file)
Sugarland (AP file)

7:14: Winner: Sugarland. Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles are praising the CMT’s as the most fun awards show and praising their fans.

7:15: Speak of the devil. The first up-and-coming band on the Nationwide Insurance side stage is Thompson Square playing their No. 1 “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not.” That song has so grown on me. I’m eager to see what else this edgy country couple comes up with.

7:20: Kid Rock is announcing the five final nominees for the top award, video of the year. The voting will continue until the tail end of the show on CMT.com.

Jason Aldean, “My Kinda Party.”

Kenny Chesney, “The Boys of Fall.”

Miranda Lambert, “The House That Built Me.”

Sugarland, “Stuck Like Glue.”

Taylor Swift, “Mine.”

I love hearing the big cheer for Miranda. Go Ran! Of course, Taylor’s fans are in full voice.

7:22: CMT performance of the year nominees Martina McBride and Pat Monahan of Train are talking about good and bad collaborations, and we have our first Weiner joke. They’re going to give out the collaborative video award, and I Belieb it’s gonna go to the Flatts and Bieber. Noms:

Justin Bieber (AP file)
Justin Bieber (AP file)

Collaborative Video of the Year

• Jason Aldean with Kelly Clarkson – “Don’t You Wanna Stay”

* Justin Bieber featuring Rascal Flatts – “That Should Be Me”

• Kid Rock featuring Sheryl Crow – “Collide”

• Aaron Lewis featuring George Jones and Charlie Daniels – “Country Boy”

* Loretta Lynn, Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow – “Coal Miner’s Daughter”

Rascal Flatts (AP file)
Rascal Flatts (AP file)

7:24: Winner: EEEKKKKK! It’s Justin Bieber and Rascal Flatts. Hear the girls squealing, and the crowd is giving them a standing ovation. Bieber is giving it up to the Flatts, his mom, his vocal coach and the fans. This kid could be a country singer. Jay DeMarcus says it was an honor to have Justin bring ‘em the song, Gary LeVox thanks God and their families and the the Biebs for letting them be part of “the haircut the shocked the world,” and Joe Don declares “We got Bieber fever!” So do the CMT’s, apparently.

arrives at the 38th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
arrives at the 38th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

7:26: Rockers Paramore are introducing another young band, hot country trio The Band Perry. The family band is doing “I Love the Way You Lie,” which I actually prefer to their breakout hit “If I Die Young.” It’s got more life to it, which sort of makes sense.

7:37: Cheryl Hines and Melissa Peterman – “the two funniest women on TV” – are taking the stage, and Melissa is saying “Didn’t I tell you that Nashville is the greatest place in the world?” They’re detailing all the things that make the men manly: hats, belt buckles, etc., and Cheryl adds handcuffs. “I think I had a different night than you,” she quips to Melissa horrified/befuddled look. “I think ya did. I worry about you,” Melissa replies.

Luke Bryan
Luke Bryan

Jokes aside, they’re introducing Luke Bryan performing his new single “Country Girl (Shake It for Me).” I didn’t care for it when I heard him play it back in March at the Rascal Flatts OKC show, but I’m digging it more here. It does make ya wanna shake it. Not as much for me as his background dancers, but still, fun. Love Lady Antebellum dancing in their seats, and him killing (metaphorically) the dancers at the end.

7:42: Pittsburgh Steelers receiver and “Dancing With The Stars” victor Hines Ward and Green Bay Packers’ linebacker Clay Matthews are facing off, and Hines is showing a few of his winning dance moves. He is sexy even doing a goofy joking dance move. They’re going to give out the CMT performance of the year award, and as always, I’m rooting for Reba.

CMT Performance of the Year
(musical performance on a television show, series or variety special on CMT)

• Martina McBride and Train – “A Broken Wing” from CMT Crossroads: Train and Martina McBride

* Reba McEntire – “If I Were a Boy” from Unplugged: Reba

• Darius Rucker and Adele – “Need You Now” from 2010 CMT Artists of the Year

• Keith Urban and John Mayer – “Sweet Thing” from CMT Crossroads: John Mayer and Keith Urban

• Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffett – “Margaritaville” from CMT Crossroads: Jimmy Buffett and Zac Brown Band

ZBB (AP file)
ZBB (AP file)

7:44: Winner: ZBB and Buffett. Zac Brown is thanking the absent Jimmy Buffett along with all the Parrotheads in Margaritaville, while fiddler Jimmy De Martini thanks the fans for “accepting us for who we are.”

7:46: “CMT’s Next Superstar” finalists Matt Mason and Steven Clawson are performing Dwight Yoakam’s “Fast as You” on the side stage. The reality TV show’s finale is Friday night; Broken Arrow native/Broadway star/Emmy winner/emerging country artist Kristin Chenoweth is set to perform on the live finale. She has a new country single called “I Want Somebody (Bitch About)” that I’m warming up to; it is so weird to hear her sing country even if she is from Oklahoma.

7:51: Kid Rock is telling us that tonight’s show is going out on the American Armed Forces Network. I love the way the country music awards shows always remember to give it up to the troops.

And get ready for more Bieber fever: This time the pop star has been teamed with comic Ron White to introduce Rascal Flatts’ performance of a song about needing somebody. “Everybody needs someone, and for me, that someone is Justin,” Ron quips. “No, no it’s not,” Justin deadpans.

Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts (AP file)
Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts (AP file)

The Flatts are playing their latest hit “I Won’t Let Go,” which they also performed as part of the star-studded “Oprah Winfrey Show” finale. What a beautiful, touching ballad, and as usual love the harmonies and Joe Don’s guitar.

8:02: I’m telling you, Oscar winner Mary Steenburgen, Reba and Martina McBride ought to start a forever youthful club. I’d be any one of them when I grow up. Mary is noting that there’s a new “Footloose” movie and soundtrack coming out, and duo Big & Rich are going to be on it. They’re starting their performance of “Fake ID” at the legendary Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge down the street and then bringing it into the arena. It’s their first live TV performance in three years, but it doesn’t show. And I like seeing Gretchen Wilson up there belting with them.

BTW, did you know that the original 1980s movie “Footloose” was loosely based on true events that took place in Elmore City, OK. True story.

Big Kenny declares “The boys are back in town.” Also a true story.

8:06: Luke Bryan is back onstage and encouraging everyone to give it up one more time for Big & Rich. Now “simmer down, simmer down,” he says with a grin to the screaming ladies. He’s got a killer smile and super-snug jeans; they’re not gonna stop screaming.

He won the USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year Award last year, and he’s gonna give it away this year. Again, Thompson Square represents Oklahoma.

USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year

• Lee Brice – “Love Like Crazy”

• Aaron Lewis – “Country Boy”

• Jerrod Niemann – “Lover, Lover”

• The Band Perry – “If I Die Young”

* Thompson Square – “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not”

The Band Perry
The Band Perry

8:08: And the buckle goes to: The Band Perry, which isn’t a big surprise considering the skyrocketing trajectory of this trio this year. They’re thanking CMT for putting their faces with the song, and they’re thanking the fans “for putting your arms around us,” along with their Big Machine team.

8:10: Kid Rock has dispensed with the fancy Western shirt for a black T, and he’s introducing country-rapper Colt Ford, who is performing “Country Twang” on the side stage. “Why the hell would anyone want to combine rap and country?” the Kid says with a wry smile. “That’ll never work.” OK, so the guy has a sense of humor, I’ll give him that.

8:13: So there’s some interesting tidbits in the commercials: Can’t wait to hear Brad Paisley’s contributions to the “Cars 2″ soundtrack. I have my doubts about that movie, but Pixar bringing back Brad is not one of them. Also, I believe I heard earlier that Oklahoma native Vince Gill and Sting will do an episode of “CMT Crossroads” this summer. Gotta hear that!

Kristin Chenoweth (AP file)
Kristin Chenoweth (AP file)

8:16: Oklahoma native Kristin Chenoweth wins the fashion award for the night in her pretty, interesting lacy dress. She’s sharing the stage with towering Jason Aldean, and she’s saying he’s a very handsome man but he wears his hat so darn low. She’s sure the winner of female video of the year is gonna want to look deep into his eyes. He’s showing her they’re baby greens, and she replies “Oh, yeah, girl you could go swimming in there.” She’s so cute and he is the hotness. They’re going to give the award to female vocalist, and Oklahoma has three ladies in this fight:

Female Video of the Year

• Sara Evans – “A Little Bit Stronger”

* Miranda Lambert – “The House That Built Me”

* Reba McEntire – “Turn On the Radio”

• Taylor Swift – “Mine”

* Carrie Underwood – “Undo It”

Miranda Lambert (AP file)
Miranda Lambert (AP file)

8:19: Winner: Miranda! Kristin tells us with a big smile, “Miranda couldn’t be with us because she’s on tour in Connecticut. But I’ll make sure she never gets this award. Because I’m gonna keep it.”

8:20: Sugarland notes that country music loves it with gals and guys pair up for vocal duets, and they’re introducing … Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow. I’ll give the Kid a break and just listen as they croon “Collide,” since I think it’s a pretty country(ish)-rock ballad. And now they’re slow-dancing through the closing guitar solo. Awww … Awkward … Sheryl squeezes Kid’s booty at the end. Suspected it was coming; didn’t need to see it.

8:31: We’re getting a look at the video of the year finalists, and I’m just still loving Ran’s “The House That Built Me.” Kid Rock is now all Detroit-ed out in his usual duds. He’s introducing ZBB and noting how much weight their frontman has lost. He says “Somebody get him a bucket of chicken,” but I think he looks quite handsome. It’s “Knee Deep,” another breezy, beachy song from ZBB, with an elaborate seashore set (glad I’m not doing this outloud with that alliteration). It definitely makes me wish I could be sitting on a beach chair by the ocean – heck, by a river somewhere -around this time of day. They’ve got the crowd clapping and daydreaming along. I love ZB pulling on goggles for the big finish. So much fun happening up there.

8:36: On the side stage, The JaneDear Girls are performing their “Shotgun Girl.” I love to see these sassy girls following in Ran’s footsteps.

8:37: Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a recorded segment just gave out the Nationwide Insurance On Your Side Award to country music’s best new live act, as determined by the fans. Nominees were Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Colt Ford, The Band Perry and Josh Thompson.

Winner: The Band Perry.

8:41: Ricky Shroder and Laura Bell Bundy, the co-stars of the upcoming CMT original movie “To the Mat,” are sharing the stage. She’s revealing that he’s won a CMT Music Award for directing the “Whiskey Lullaby” video for Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss. And she’s rattling off a whole list of gut-wrenching things that will have to happen for him to live his fantasy of becoming a country star. After a high-five, he decides to stick to acting/directing.

After all that, they’re gonna give the group video award. I think the odds are nil that Lady A won’t win this.

Group Video of the Year

• Lady Antebellum – “Hello World”

• Little Big Town – “Little White Church”

* Rascal Flatts – “Why Wait”

• The Band Perry – “If I Die Young”

• Zac Brown Band – “Colder Weather”

Lady Antebellum
Lady Antebellum

8:44: Winner: Lady A. With the super-hot trio out of the video of the year, it was pretty much a lock. Hillary Scott says that country music has the best fans, and Charles Kelley reveals what they were going for: “We said we wanted to make a Rascal Flatts video. We wanted to make people cry like every Rascal Flatts video has made me cry.” That gets a laugh from Joe Don and his pretty wife Tiffany Fallon.

winner  runner-up of the latest "American Idol" competition, appear on the NBC "Today" television program in New York Thursday, June 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
winner runner-up of the latest "American Idol" competition, appear on the NBC "Today" television program in New York Thursday, June 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

8:45: “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina, who are both of the country persuasion, are talking about all the devastation caused by severe weather across the South. Sugarland are donating proceeds from the downloads of a special version of the anthem “Stand Up” to disaster relief, the “Idol” youths tell us.

Sugarland
Sugarland

8:47: Jennifer comes onstage waving a white flag emblazoned with “love” and a peace song, and they’ve got the whole crowd waving smaller versions. I happen to love this song since it features both Jennifer and Kristian prominently on vocals. I adore it when they really sing together.

8:52: I’m reading online that Sugarland reunited the Gilbert family from Joplin, Mo., for the performance. Children Tiffani and Lexi, who shared the stage with duo, hadn’t seen  their parents Amy and Eric since May 22. The kids had been staying with other family members while the parents examined the wreckage left of their house left by the tornado and bought a new home. Sugarland released a live version of “Stand Up,” performed with Little Big Town, called “Stand Up For Tornado Relief.” It is available on iTunes and proceeds go to the Red Cross for tornado relief in Alabama and Joplin. Also love LBT, so sounds like a good song for a good cause.

Keith Urban (AP file)
Keith Urban (AP file)

8:55: Speaking of Little Big Town, here is the quartet introducing – in perfect harmony, naturally – a performance by Aussie hottie Keith Urban. He’s barely started performing “Long Hot Summer,” and he’s already redefining the jean jacket for me. Such a gorgeous guitarist, and he’s got Melissa Peterman clapping along in the crowd.

9:00: Lee Brice is on the side stage performing “Love Like Crazy,” which I’ve really come to enjoy. Nice power ballad.

9:01: And we just heard that the voting is now closed for video of the year. We’ve got 30 minutes left, and lots of people still set to appear. We’ve got Lady A performing, Jason Aldean doing his special duet with Ludacris and Shania making her appearance. Still a lot to pack into this thing.

9:06: Sheryl Crow is saying that she’s “good, clean, family entertainment.” Apparently, Twitter has been abuzz that when she stood up during her Kid Rock performance that her short skirt revealed her underwear. Co-presenter Sara Evans says “At least you were wearing underwear,” which leads to the “good, clean, family entertainment.”

Sheryl seems to be making up for the gaffe with an ankle-length flowing white dress, and Sara’s short, elegantly draped royal blue frock is a cool contrast.

Lady A
Lady A

They’re introducing Lady A’s performance of their new song “Just a Kiss.” It will be on their new album “Own the Night,” due out in September. It’s maybe my favorite of theirs since “Need You Now.”

9:09: Oh, now, this is fun. Charles Kelley is getting on the drums, and the trio is segueing into a bouncy rendition of Prince’s “Kiss.” Please say this mash-up version will be available on iTunes. Dave’s guitar was smoking, and Charles’ and Hillary’s vocals were rock-awesome. Love, love, love. Favorite moment of the show.

9:11: Kid Rock has a drink in hand, and he comments that when someone goes “Woo” it’s a redneck mating call. In response, some classy lady threw red panties at his head. “Hey, take it easy, it’s a country show,” he says. Well, he asked for it.

9:12: Kid is kicking it to Shania Twain, who slips and falls on the entrance ramp on her way out to make her big special appearance. After a wide-eyed look of shock, she gets up and strides coolly back on the stage with an amusing “all right, then.” Way to suck it up, and the crowd is acknowledging with applause. She’s going to give the best male video award, and Oklahoma has two guys in this fight:

Male Video of the Year

• Jason Aldean – “My Kinda Party”

• Kenny Chesney – “The Boys of Fall”

* Toby Keith – “Bullets in the Gun”

* Blake Shelton – “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking”

• Keith Urban – “Without You”

THE VOICE -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Blake Shelton -- Photo By: Matthew Rolston/NBC
THE VOICE -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Blake Shelton -- Photo By: Matthew Rolston/NBC

9:15: Winner: Blake Shelton! Of course, Blake isn’t there because he’s in L.A. shooting the hit TV show “The Voice” (love, love, love). But they get him on a video screen, and he’s thanking all the usual suspects, then adding, “My gosh, I can’t believe Shania Twain gave me an award.”

Go Blake!!

9:21: Good grief, it’s yet another wardrobe change for Kid Rock. He’s setting a steep pace for Carrie Underwood if she co-hosts the CMA Awards again this fall. Of course, her outfits won’t be accessorized with trucker caps and cups of booze. I hope.

Anyway, it’s time for the top award of the night, video of the year. Go Ran!

• Jason Aldean – “My Kinda Party”

• Kenny Chesney – “The Boys of Fall”

* Miranda Lambert – “The House That Built Me”

• Sugarland – “Stuck Like Glue”

• Taylor Swift – “Mine”

9:23: Kid says “No way, man, unbelievable,” which is exactly the opposite of what he should be saying since the winner is the young sensation Taylor Swift, who is in Milwaukee, Wisc., on her “Speak Now Tour.” She’s appearing live via video feed and was apparently coming to “Mean” in her set because she’s got her ganjo in hand as she gushes about how excited she is. She is commenting that she “doesn’t know what I ever did to deserve you guys” to her fans, and she’s thanking all the little kids in the video. The feed goes out on us, and Kid asks “ever heard of eBay” before assuring the crowd – which didn’t seem to appreciate that crack – that he will take care of her buckle.

Ludacris
Ludacris

9:24: Kid is kicking it to the big finish, in which Jason Aldean will show off his country-rap skills with his “Dirt Road Anthem.” He’s really handling those rapid-fire lyrics on the country-blues hits. And on the second verse, Ludacris makes a big entrance sporting sunglasses and a party attitude. “History has been made right here,” Ludacris exclaims at the end of the performance. Jason didn’t really need Chris Bridges to rock that song, but it certainly upped the cool factor. And at this point, surely all the country purists have already switched off the set.

9:28: “I’m honored and humbled to be a part of this music that we all love, and that’s country,” Kid comments, looking much more sober than he did at the end of last year’s show. Gotta appreciate the sentiment.

Jason Aldean
Jason Aldean

Kid calls on Jason to “Come on, take me to the river.” And Jason’s gonna take us out with his smash “My Kinda Party.” It’s a rollicking big finish for the night.

Well, that’s the end of the annual BAM’s Blog CMT Music Awards live blog. Thank you for following and good night!

-BAM

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by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
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