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Live blog: 2013 CMT Music Awards

by Brandy McDonnell Modified: June 5, 2013 at 11:25 pm •  Published: June 5, 2013
Lenny Kravitz (AP file)
Lenny Kravitz (AP file)

7:00 p.m.: Country music awards show or not, starting out with Lenny Kravitz is never, ever a bad thing in my opinion. The CMT Music Awards are opening with a rock ‘n’ roll collaboration between Kravitz and tonight’s co-host, country music superstar Jason Aldean, on the Canadian band the Guess Who’s classic hit “American Woman.” Kravitz initially covered this song back in ’99, and even if they don’t seem to have all the kinks worked out up there, he and Aldean seem to be having fun.

The CMT Music Awards have never been particularly traditional in their approach to country music, and it looks like tonight will be no different.

Jason Aldean
Jason Aldean

7:04: We’re dropping into a sketch in which Aldean’s co-host Kristen Bell is leading a group therapy session for awards show hosts for her the Georgia native. Oklahoma natives Blake Shelton, Reba and Carrie Underwood are in on this – naturally they’re the best part – along with Luke Bryan and Vince Vaughn. Now, we’ve got Lorraine Bracco of “The Sopranos,” Dr. Drew and Kelsey Grammer of “Frasier” in on the action, and the obligatory Vince Vaughn pitch for his new movie “The Internship.” Pretty silly, pretty fun, but let’s get on with it, now that Kristen has gone through the magic golden dress machine!

Kristen Bell (AP file)
Kristen Bell (AP file)

7:09: Kristen is promising that the show will be a “no-holds-barred rip-fest,” which the good-natured Aldean seems totally ill-equipped for, and she’s telling Jason that “by awards show law, you have to start with Taylor Swift.” Jason tells Taylor she’s so talented that Nashville will always be her home. “Burn!” Kristen declares. “Wait a minute, that sucked.” Now, she’s trying to pick on Carrie Underwood, and realizing that in person “it’s alarming how beautiful she is.” Breathtaking, Jason agrees, and then when Kristen asks sarcastically “what about on the inside … do you even know what the word charity means?” Aldean then whispers to her that Carrie just donated $1 million to the Red Cross. All in all, it’s pretty cute and actually a nice change from a bunch of allegedly funny sarcastic comments.

7:13: “Dancing with the Stars” victor Kellie Pickler, who is clad in a dangerously low-cut sparkly gold dress,  and the cute-as-a-button Scotty McCreery are going to present the first award 13 minutes into the show, and you know I like that, too. It’s for breakthrough video. Here are the options:

Breakthrough Video of the Year

Dustin Lynch – “Cowboys and Angels”

Florida Georgia Line – “Cruise”

Jana Kramer – “Why Ya Wanna”

Kacey Musgraves – “Merry Go ‘Round”

Kip Moore – “Beer Money”

Randy Houser – “How Country Feels”

Florida Georgia Line (AP file)
Florida Georgia Line (AP file)

7:14: Winner: Florida Georgia Line. They thanked the good Lord and then thanked their fans about 15 times, so they’re pretty good at this for a couple of newbies.

7:15: Once again, the Nationwide side stage if featuring hot newcomers. First up is Blake Shelton protege Cassadee Pope, winner of “The Voice” Season 3, who is belting her new single “Wasting All These Tears,” which she also performed on Tuesday’s “The Voice.” Kristen says that the house band for that stage is The Mavericks, which is freaking awesome. Please say they will be performing some of their own songs.

7:21: Kristen is begging Jason to sing a duet with her, and apparently, they are going to let the fans pick the song on Twitter with #CMTawards. Kristen is recommending “Islands in the Stream” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” to his chagrin. This could be interesting. Or insane. Either way.

7:22: Now, here are the finalists for Video of the Year, and we’ve got a couple of Okies in the running:

Carrie Underwood – “Blown Away”

Florida Georgia Line – “Cruise”

Jason Aldean – “1994”

Luke Bryan – “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”

Miranda Lambert – “Mama’s Broken Heart”

Taylor Swift – “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

You can vote now. Go to CMT.com for more info.

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

7:24: Brantley Gilbert and AnnaSophia Robb are introducing a woman who’s “like a pink fur coat wrapped in barbed wire.” Must be time for Miranda Lambert, and the black-clad Tishomingo resident is performing her latest “Mama’s Broken Heart,” which is one of my all-time faves by her!

7:26: Yay, I hear The Mavericks doing their amazing Latin-infused thing! Love!

7:32: The slicked-up Avett Brothers, who are nominees tonight, are introducing smoky-voiced newcomer Kacey Musgraves doing her sharply written new single “Blowin’ Smoke.” I’m starting to climb on her bandwagon, folks.

7:36: Kristen has already changed outfits once, trading her glittery golden dress for a slick black number with an interesting strappy decoration in the neckline. She’s making a half-witted crack about Dog the Bounty Hunter and his wife Beth, but she can’t remember all of it and the prompters are down. She’s pitching it to the real-life Dog and Beth (CMT Awards have the worst homer presenters, just saying), who are going to present the CMT Performance of the Year belt buckle:

CMT Performance of the Year

Dierks Bentley – “5-1-5-0” from CMT Unplugged

Eric Church – “Homeboy” from 2012 CMT Artists of the Year

Luke Bryan and Ryan Tedder – “Drunk on You/Feel Again” from 2012 CMT Artists of the Year

Miranda Lambert – “Over You” from 2012 CMT Artists of the Year

Rascal Flatts and Journey – “Don’t Stop Believin’” from CMT Crossroads: Journey and Rascal Flatts

Toby Keith – “Beers Ago” from 2012 CMT Artists of the Year

Miranda Lambert
Miranda Lambert

7:38: Winner: Miranda Lambert! “Thank you CMT, this is awesome,” she says with a big smile, adding she didn’t even know she would be nominated, that it was just to get to perform at the CMT Artists of the Year show. “It’s such a special song to me, and I want to say thanks to my husband, who’s a co-writer on that song.”

7:39: Cutie Dustin Lynch performs his breakout hit “Cowboys and Angels” on the Nationwide side stage. I like it.

7:45: Kristen is belting Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” and pitching it as a possibility for their duet. Jason looks aghast. He’s hoping for something more in the Johnny and June arena. We shall see.

Darius Rucker
Darius Rucker

7:46: Florida Georgia Line are introducing Darius Rucker performing his hot new hit, a countrified version of “Wagon Wheel,” and he’s giving a few hugs, including one for Carrie Underwood, as he comes down the stairs belting the song on the way to the stage. Lady Antebellum is already on the stage to do their part backing him, and Darius declares, “Play some country music!” As much as I love me some Kravitz, tt’s certainly nice to hear some, and the star-studded crowd seems to agree, judging from the way they’re singing along. Such a fun song.

7:50: Yay! Lady A’s Hillary Scott got through “Wagon Wheel” without having that baby! Good for her. Now someone get her a bottled water and a foot rest!

7:51: On the nationwide stage, newcomer Kree Harrison is singing the brokenhearted ballad “All Cried Out.” Interesting voice. I’d like to hear more of it, but maybe on a different song.

Hunter Hayes
Hunter Hayes

7:57: Jason is outside where hot young thing Hunter Hayes is chatting up and high-fiving his mostly female fans as he starts into his new single “I Want Crazy.” I’m wondering if Hunter is the new Taylor Swift: His awards show performances are never as good as actually seeing him perform live and in person. I was wowed when I saw him open for Carrie Underwood last fall her in OKC, but he always sounds a bit breathless on these shows.

8:02: Hunter is sending it across the street to Luke Bryan, who is dashing inside the famous Nashville club The Stage on Broadway to croon his sexy new single “Crash My Party.” It’s an intimate venue, and between his performance and Hunter’s dash through the crowd outside, there should be some happy swoon-ready female fans out there in Music City about now.

8:05: Luke is sending it back to Bridgestone Arena, where Taylor Swift is clad in a fire-engine-hued dress and playing a stop-sign-colored guitar to sing her latest album’s title track “Red.” There’s red lights, red sparkles on her microphone and dancers waving red flags, but I really love her tuxedo-inspired red with the short sparkly black shorts, long red train and silvery boots. She’s rocking her rhythm guitar part. The song isn’t my favorite of hers but it’s pretty decent, and both Taylor’s awards show singing and stage presence are greatly improved. I don’t get nervous for her anymore.

8:09: Cassadee Pope is giving an update on the show’s Twitter traffic. As predicted, Hunter Hayes’ performance was very popular among the ladies.

8:10: The Mavericks are playing “Come Unto Me.”

Stop the live blog! Stop the live blog! OK. It’s just gonna be stuck in my head if I don’t do this. I’ve gotta listen to that full song and so do you:

Much better!

8:14: Speaking of Twitter, I had an interesting convo on there with former Norman resident and “Project Runaway” contender Johnathan Kayne about Carrie Underwood’s interesting style choice for tonight. He believes, “She can pull off anything!” It’s all about the willingness to take style risks:

Carrie Underwood at tonight's CMT Music Awards. (AP)
Carrie Underwood at tonight's CMT Music Awards. (AP)

Gotta love Twitter. Follow Johnathan Kayne ‏@Johnathan_Kayne.

8:16: Larry the Cable Guy is asking the crowd for “one big Git ‘Er Done” from the crowd, and he’s pitching the upcoming CMT animated series “Bounty Hunters.” He’s also got a message for Carrie Underwood: “Listen, you’re married now and so am I, so you need to quit calling me. It’s embarrassing … I know we had something but that was a long time ago.” When Carrie’s hockey player hubby Mike Fisher stands up and starts to walk over, Larry quips “I eat hockey players for lunch,” making both the Fishers laugh. Larry adds, “That goes for you too, Darius Rucker.” Before it gets too (much more) embarrassing, he’s going to present the collaborative video award:

Collaborative Video of the Year

Brad Paisley and Joe Walsh – “Rocky Mountain Way,” from CMT Crossroads: Joe Walsh & Friends

Jason Aldean with Luke Bryan and Eric Church – “The Only Way I Know,” from 2012 CMA Awards

Kelly Clarkson featuring Vince Gill – “Don’t Rush,” from 2012 CMA Awards

Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw – “Feel Like a Rock Star”

Rascal Flatts and Journey – “Changed,” from CMT Crossroads: Journey and Rascal Flatts

The Avett Brothers and Randy Travis – “Three Wooden Crosses” from CMT Crossroads: The Avett Brothers and Randy Travis

Jason Aldean (AP file)
Jason Aldean (AP file)

8:18: Winner: Jason, Luke and Eric. Aldean and Church are swaggering to the front to accept, and since Bryan isn’t there, they’re taking the opportunity to make fun of him a little bit in between thanking the usual suspects.

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

8:20: Kimberly Perry should always wear red because she looks stunning in her grand bright gown. The Band Perry is introducing Keith Urban, who is playing is breezy new song “Little Bit of Everything” from his upcoming album. His famous wife Nicole Kidman is singing along in the crowd, while elegantly dressed up rocker Sheryl Crow grooves along beside her.

George Jones
George Jones

8:24: “God bless The Possum,” Jason Aldean says, introducing The Mavericks, who will do a tribute to the late, great country singer, who died in April. The band is playing a great rendition of “The Race Is On,” but we’re not getting to hear most of it because of promos. Bad form, CMT. Both George Jones and The Mavericks deserve better.

8:25: Hunter Hayes is the winner of the Nationwide Is On Your Side Award. Well done there.

8:31: Jana Kramer and Charles Esten of the TV show “Nashville” are going to present the duo video of the year:

Duo Video of the Year

Big & Rich – “That’s Why I Pray”

Florida Georgia Line – “Cruise”

Love and Theft – “Runnin’ Out of Air”

Thompson Square – “If I Didn’t Have You”

 

Tyler Hubbard, left, and Brian Kelley, of the group Florida Georgia Line, arrive at the 2013 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn.  (AP)
Tyler Hubbard, left, and Brian Kelley, of the group Florida Georgia Line, arrive at the 2013 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP)

8:32: Winners: Florida Georgia Line. They’re joking that if they keep winning all these awards, they’re going to turn into Taylor Swift. The pair also calls the back-to-back wins a bit overwhelming and enthusiastically thanks the fans again. It’s a big night for the duo, who I just haven’t warmed up to. I was not a fan of their debut album; maybe their sophomore effort will have a little more to say.

8:33: Here’s an odd couple for you: Ed Sheeran and Lisa Marie Presley briefly take the stage together to introduce Lady A’s performance of the trio’s new single “Goodbye Town” from the group’s new album “Golden.” We’re on Hillary Scott baby watch again, people.

8:37: Kristen Bell intercepts Florida Georgia Line backstage and tries to steal their latest buckle because there aren’t enough to go around. Jason intervenes and asks “what’s wrong with you?” She’s quickly kicking it to the Nationwide stage, where Randy Houser is playing “How Country Feels.”

sts Jason Aldean, left, and Kristen Bell speak on stage at the 2013 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP)
sts Jason Aldean, left, and Kristen Bell speak on stage at the 2013 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP)

8:44: Kristen declares that it’s duet time, and she’s making all kind of weird noises to warm up her vocals. Jason takes a swig from a flask and declares that’s how it’s done in country music. “Fair enough,” Kristen says, and then they launch into a reasonable a capella rendition of “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.” “Now, can we move on,” Jason entreats her.

8:45: Apparently, Kristen is satisfied because she’s kicking it to Lenny Kravitz, who is clad in a dazzling black and white jacket over tight black pants, to present the female video prize:

Female Video of the Year

Carrie Underwood – “Two Black Cadillacs”

Faith Hill – “American Heart”

Jana Kramer – “Why Ya Wanna”

Kacey Musgraves – “Merry Go ‘Round”

Miranda Lambert – “Mama’s Broken Heart”

Taylor Swift – “Begin Again”

Miranda Lambert
Miranda Lambert

8:46: Winner: Miranda Lambert! “Um, I just got a kiss from Lenny Kravitz. That was an award in itself,” she says with a big grin. She said she had a great time making the vid with Trey Fanjoy, even if all the drinking in it was iced tea. “There wasn’t much acting unfortunately because it was a little crazy,” she adds.

Little Big Town
Little Big Town

8:47: Keith Urban is introducing Little Big Town, which is going to apply their incredible harmony singing to the Fleetwood Mac classic “The Chain.” If anyone in country music can pull this off, it’s this foursome, which is finally getting some of the attention it deserves. This should be good. And indeed, it is.

8:50: Keith Urban emerges from underneath the stage in a cloud of stage smoke to deliver a pretty decent Lindsey Buckingham impression. Everyone’s having a killer time, and it’s pretty much the highlight of the night. I’m not sure how I feel about this song being the best one I’ve heard tonight, but it is one of the best rock songs of all time, so maybe it’s not surprising that it would be a standout moment. Well-deserved standing O from the crowd.

8:52: On the Nationwide stage, duo Love and Theft are playing “Angel Eyes.” Fairly solid harmonies from them, too.

8:59: Dax Shepard (Kristen Bell’s main squeeze) and the Bacon Brothers are coming together to present the group video of the year, after Dax angles his way into permission to call himself Dax Bacon. Can’t blame him.

Group Video of the Year

Lady Antebellum – “Downtown”

Little Big Town – “Pontoon”

Pistol Annies – “Takin’ Pills”

Rascal Flatts – “Come Wake Me Up”

The Band Perry – “Better Dig Two”

Zac Brown Band – “Goodbye in Her Eyes”

Lady A
Lady A

9:01: Winner: Lady A. “This Hillary’s maternity present come early,” Charles jokes, after Dax chivalrously gets on one knee to present the buckle to the very preggers Hillary. She said she had fun doing illegal stuff for the video, and Dave Haywood jokes he liked playing a creepy cop.

Jason Aldean (AP file)
Jason Aldean (AP file)

9:02: Kristen is now wearing a textured silvery top to introduce her co-host, who is giving an outdoor performance of “Night Train,” the title track to his latest album. I like this one. It reminds me more of his early stuff.

9:04: Fireworks! I’m a sucker for fireworks Gotta love outdoor performances – when the weather cooperates!

9:06: Pistol Annie Ashley Monroe is taking the Nationwide stage on her own to play the feisty “Weed Instead of Roses” from her solo album. Great stuff!

9:07: Voting for video of the year is now closed, and Carrie is coming up with her touching tribute to those affected by the May tornadoes here in her home state of Oklahoma.

9:12: Miranda Lambert is wearing a short dress of swirling gold and copper to present the male video award, maybe to her hubby:

Male Video of the Year

Blake Shelton – “Sure Be Cool If You Did”

Eric Church – “Creepin’”

Hunter Hayes – “Wanted”

Jason Aldean – “Take a Little Ride”

Kenny Chesney – “Come Over”

Luke Bryan – “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”

Blake Shelton
Blake Shelton

9:13: Yep: She gets to present it to Blake, but he’s not here. “He’s on a plane. He tried really hard to be here. He’s filming in L.A.,” she says. “I’m drinking for two tonight, honey.” Let more pregnancy rumors commence!

Carrie Underwood (AP file)
Carrie Underwood (AP file)

9:14: Picher-bred Joe Don Rooney is declaring himself a proud Okie, and he and his Rascal Flatts cohorts are introducing Carrie’s performance of “See You Again,” dedicated to, as his bandmates put it, “our friends and neighbors in Oklahoma.” Carrie is dressed in a pretty pale pink dress with sparkly details, but there are some really ugly images of the tornado devastation playing behind her as she belts the uplifting song. There’s some feedback, so apparently her big voice and impassioned performance are too big for the sound system to handle.

She appears to be getting a bit emotional, but she hangs in there as the choir joins her. The crowd is holding up lit cell phones and cupping their hands like hearts. The emotion finally breaks through for Carrie as she chokes up a bit on the last whispered words, and now here comes the standing ovation and the pitch to donate to the Red Cross. Very, very touching. Beautifully done Carrie.

9:23: Sheryl Crow, who is wearing a sassy white peekaboo dress, is going to present video to the year with Kenny Rogers, but first she is taking advantage of the chance to sing “Islands in the Stream” with the legend. Seems impromptu on his part anyway, but he gamely sings and then quips “I’m gonna catch so much hell from Dolly.” Here’s the nominees for video of the year:

Carrie Underwood – “Blown Away”

Florida Georgia Line – “Cruise”

Jason Aldean – “1994”

Luke Bryan – “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”

Miranda Lambert – “Mama’s Broken Heart”

Taylor Swift – “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood

9:25: Winner: Carrie Underwood! She exchanges kisses with both Sheryl and Kenny before taking the trophy “Oh my gosh. The good Lord has been very good to me, well, for all of us in this room for a very long time,” she said. “I’d like to thank him for the love of music in us.” She adds her thanks for director Randee St. Nichols and all her people and fan club members and the fans and CMT. She thanks her hubby Mike Fisher, who is celebrating his birthday, and jokes she got him a birthday present. “You’re amazing. I don’t deserve this,” she finishes. I doubt anyone agrees with that last part.

Brian Kelley, left, and Tyler Hubbard, right, of musical group Florida Georgia Line, and Nelly perform at the 2013 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP)
Brian Kelley, left, and Tyler Hubbard, right, of musical group Florida Georgia Line, and Nelly perform at the 2013 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP)

9:27: Kristen and Jason are recapping the night: Blake wasn’t here and Lenny Kravitz kissed Miranda, Mike Fisher almost beat up Larry the Cable Guy, Kristen killed their duet, and Jason will never forget his first time (hosting, that is). They’re introducing Florida Georgia Line performing their summer party song “Cruise,” and of course, Taylor is singing along. Now, rapper Nelly is joining the duo to remix the song right there on stage. There’s a graffiti artist, a break dancer and pyrotechnics. Now, let’s see FLGALine do a song that isn’t a party anthem. Just saying.

Anyway, that’s the show and it was a big night for the Oklahoma stars, so congratulations to Carrie, Blake and Miranda! I gotta go dab my eyes after that Oklahoma tribute of Carrie’s.

Good night and thanks for following along.

-BAM

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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