The 48th Annual CMA Awards happened tonight in Nashville, TN. Below is our live play by play of the show.
7:00 pm: Kicking off with Kenney Chesney performing his song, "American Kids." All the girls dancing onstage look like they just stepped off a time machine from the 1970's. He sounds good though, and it's a solid choice to open the show.
7:03 pm: Wow, Miranda Lambert and Meghan Trainor are doing All About That Bass together! I knew Meghan got her start as a songwriter in Nashville, but I didn't expect to see her here. Power duo.
7:06 pm: Here come Carrie and Brad. How many times have these two hosted? I've lost count but I love their chemistry and antics. They're singing a tribute to George Strait's absence in retirement while he watches from the front row. Carrie and Brad act just well enough to fake not realizing he was there the whole time. "George, I'm pretty sure when you ride away, you're supposed to go somewhere!"
"Do you need a ride? We can call Uber."
7:10 pm: I'm not even going to touch this parody on the ebola quarantines in song form. Nope.
7:11 pm: The epidemic sweeping the nation- Post Partum Taylor Swift Disorder. "We're sad because it looks like New York's gain is Nashville's loss, but country music's just gonna have to shake it off."
7:15 pm: Naked selfies. Being discussed, not shown. This show is PG.
7:16 pm: First award for Single of the Year being presented by Steven Tyler. Miranda Lambert wins for "Automatic." Tim McGraw sings along in the audience as she takes the stage to accept.
7:27 pm: Flordia Georigia line is up now performing their new song "Dirt." Far more serious than any previous performance I've seen from them. Trying to prove they're more than "Bro Country?" Probably.
7:39 pm: Darius Rucker and Tim Tebow looking sharp come out to present the award for Song of the Year. Kasey Musgraves wins with "Follow Your Arrow." "This award means so much because our genre was built on simple, good songs about real life and that's what this was."
7:42 pm: The Band Perry honoring Glen Campbell through a performance of "Gentle on My Mind." Kimberly Perry stuns on the slowed down intro verse.
7:51 pm: Kacey Musgraves takes the stage and her singing voice sounds effortless. Loretta Lynn comes out to join her. "If you're looking at me, you're looking at country." A good reminder of the roots of the genre in the midst of so much pop-country.
7:54 pm: New Artist of the Year goes to Brett Eldredge. He's in disbelief. Brad Paisley jokes, "There's nothing like that New Artist smell."
8:01 pm: Jason Aldean takes the stage. His jeans have more artful tears in them than necessary and I think this man only owns one outfit for TV performances. "Burnin' It Down" is a solid song though so he's forgiven.
8:06 pm: They're introducing Little Big Town and Ariana Grande. I am seriously questioning this pairing decision.
8:07 pm: I've never seen so many grown adults in light up outfits. They're singing "Day Drinking." Is Ariana Grande even 21? Maybe that's why she sat this one out.
8:09 pm: That was an awkward transition in the performance. Ariana didn't attempt to do anything remotely country- she's breaking out "Bang Bang." What did they have to pay her to get her to show up? Little Big Town have been reduced to background singers as Ariana's voice overpowers all four of theirs.
8:17 pm: Tim McGraw's here to sing "Shotgun Rider." Please help me forget that last performance.
8:21 pm: Duo of the Year goes to Florida Georgia Line. No one is surprised.
8:23 pm: Cole Swindell just came out of nowhere and started singing. No complaints here. It is a little cheesy that he wears a baseball hat with his own initials on it though. Maybe it's like a name tag since he got no introduction.
8:29 pm: Dierks Bentley is performing "Drunk on a Plane." When I first bought this song from iTunes, it spent a couple weeks on repeat. Nothing like a sad song disguised by some catchy music.
8:34 pm: Album of the Year goes to Miranda Lambert! She always seems genuinely surprised when she wins. It's refreshing.
8:45 pm: Blake Shelton and Ashley Monrow now singing, "Lonely Tonight." It's weird seeing him sing to someone who's not Miranda Lambert. This duet sounds better recorded.
8:55 pm: Carrie Underwood takes the stage. She's breathtaking as always.
9:00 pm: Little Big Town are named Vocal Group of the Year. "The gift of making music, we love it and we love all of you."
9:02 pm: My personal favorite, Luke Bryan, takes the stage to perform "Roller Coaster." They've constructed a fake roller coaster track as part of the set. I wonder how long that took to build.
9:10 pm: Little Big Town and Miranda Lambert team up to perform "Smokin' and Drinkin.'" A much better pairing than earlier. Ariana who?
9:15 pm: Vince Gill receives the well deserved Irving Waugh Award of Excellence. The video montage shows off his witty personality and features friends and colleagues in the country genre. He looks so humble in the audience that I'm tempted to give him a standing ovation in my living room. Spends his acceptance speech mentioning what he learned from Irving Waugh.
9:21 pm: Vince Gill: "I admire so much how you treat each other. Your generation of artistry, the camaraderie that you have, I'm envious of it. I watch you all love each other, it's a beautiful thing to watch."
9:27 pm: George Strait and Eric Church duet "Cowboys Like Us." Eric Church stops to fist pump at the end of the first chorus. Even though they're singing in unison a lot, it works.
9:31 pm: Male vocalist of the year. I'm pretty sure these nominees are the same every year. Blake Shelton wins for the fifth time. Dedicates his award to his hero Earl Thomas Conley, who has never won a CMA.
9:40 pm: The Doobie Brothers take the stage with Hunter Hayes, Hillary Scott, Jennifer Nettles and Thomas Rhett to form a huge super band to close out performances for the evening.
9:45 pm: Female Vocalist of the Year. Miranda Lambert wins, meaning she and Blake Shelton get to keep their status as country music power couple. She's crying while she's accepting. It's sweet.
9:51 pm: Garth Brook comes out to a standing ovation to present Entertainer of the Year. Luke Bryan wins! He's visibly overwhelmed. "Well, first of all I've never met Garth. Hey Garth. Can I hug you again?"
9:56 pm: The show wraps again with The Doobie Brothers, "Taking it to the Streets."