Lambert wins big at Country Music Awards

By Kate MacDonald

Courtesy Wikimidea Commons

Both Nashville and Hollywood’s biggest stars aligned at the Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday night for the 44th Country Music Awards. Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley hosted the event, filling the arena with their hilarious banter for the third year. As with most award shows, there were no real big surprises, but it was an event full of great music and emotional speeches.

While last year, the CMAs were all about Taylor Swift, 2010 is definitely Miranda Lambert’s year. The recently engaged singer won many of the night’s most prestigious awards, including “Female Vocalist of the Year,” “Album of the Year” for her platinum record “Revolution,” as well as “Song of the Year” and “Music Video of the Year” for her hit “The House that Built Me.”

Lambert was also a hit on stage, performing twice. She sang her new song, “That’s the Way That the World Goes ‘Round” in a pretty lively manner. If viewers weren’t seizing due to the bright, rapidly flashing lights or didn’t lose the diminutive singer in the mist formed by the smoke machines on stage, they would’ve seen that she was having an absolutely great time on stage.

Famed vocalist Loretta Lynn was honored in a fantastic performance by Lambert and Sheryl Crow, turning Lynn’s wildly famous song, “Coal Miner’s Daughter” into a duet following actress Sissy Spacek’s introduction. Their voices meshed great, and Lynn seemed genuinely touched.

Lambert’s fiancé, country star Blake Shelton, didn’t do too badly Wednesday night either. After playing his single, “All About Tonight,” to a crowd of screaming women, Shelton received the award for “Male Vocalist of the Year.”

The big confusion of the night was when Zac Brown Band won for “New Artist of the Year,” a category which they really shouldn’t have been nominated for. First, they were nominated for the very same category last year. Additionally, they’ve released four albums, the first in 2004. They are by no means a new artist – that’s like Taylor Swift being nominated for this award.

Swift made one appearance at the CMAs, singing her tune, “Back to December.” Usually known for her peppy singles, she chose a more melancholy song this time, and it was not her best vocal performance. In a strange twist, Swift seemed confused when her audience gave her a standing ovation, saying, “What?!” while her microphone was still on. You’d think she’d be used to people clapping for her by now.

Other winners of the night included Sugarland for “Vocal Duo of the Year,” and Lady Antebellum for both “Vocal Group of the Year” and “Single of the Year” for the wildly popular “Need You Now.” Brad Paisley walked onto the stage in a daze to receive “Entertainer of the Year,” ending the night with a tearful speech.

There were no big surprises to this award show. Almost everyone who received one of the Country Music Awards was the slated champion. It was really the performances that made the night special.

There were truly no bad songs played at this award show. While Zac Brown Band and Alan Jackson’s “As She’s Walking Away” was just alright and Kenny Chesney’s “Boys of Fall” was almost boring, many other songs sung by country’s mega stars were unforgettable.

When Reba McEntire, who just released her 34th album on Tuesday, took to the stage to perform Beyonce’s “If I Were a Boy,” she sang it in such a way that the song sounded like it was always supposed to be a country ballad. Not surprisingly, she received a standing ovation.

The majority of the audience rose to their feet again after taking in the duet between Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, titled “Don’t You Wanna Stay.” The second American Idol alum of the evening to sing (after Underwood opened with “Songs Like This” and followed with “Mama’s Song”), Clarkson showed once more that she has what it takes to sing country duets, after a successful duet with McEntire in 2007.

The big event of the night, though, was Hollywood’s Gwenyth Paltrow taking to the stage for the first time to sing “Country Song.” This was vastly better than her attempt at singing for the movie “Duets,” though she came off whiny at times. While she’s no Underwood or McEntire, she wasn’t bad for an actress.

Country music may not be everyone’s thing. Though it has become more mainstream, it is still known as the genre that uses songs to tell stories or to complain. Regardless of your opinion of country music, it can’t be denied that country stars put on a great show and they certainly did on Wednesday night.

Kate MacDonald can be reached at [email protected]