This weekend, Police and Fire personnel had large swaths of downtown Austin cordoned off due to a mass casualty/hazardous exposure event, also known as the CMT Awards. The barriers and checkpoints weren’t there to keep freeloaders out, it was to keep the grotesque infection of pop country quarantined within designated corridors, lest the corroding, homogenizing, and gentrifying effect of corporately-manufactured country music oozed out and infected the actual artistic community of the Live Music Capital of the World.
The CMT Awards don’t matter, folks. I repeat, the CMT Awards don’t matter. Did they have Morgan Wallen? Did they have Luke Combs? Did they have Zach Bryan? Because these are the three biggest artists in country music, and their lack of participation speaks volumes. The CMTs couldn’t even land Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, or a single country music legend aside from Wynonna. But they did have Megan Thee Stallion for some reason. Because country music.
Along with the CMTs transpiring in Austin’s new Moody Center, there was also a stage at the the Texas State Capital. That’s where folks usually go to protest the state’s abortion laws. I never thought I’d see an actual abortion at the Texas Capital, but that’s what Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line performed early in the presentation.
When Jelly Roll is the most country artist on your show, you know you’re in trouble. “They let a loser win tonight. This is for the losers and the have-nots,” Mr. Roll said after winning some meaningless award. Even Carly Pearce and Lainey Wilson were both low energy and pitchy, and it wasn’t even worth seeing Lainey’s low neckline dress when she was standing next to Hardy’s suckass in his Clark Kent glasses. Lainey did have a pretty badass chick guitar player though.
When Wynonna came out, there were some boos. But they ceased when the CMT crowd figured out it wasn’t the orange man on stage, but the orange woman. Wynonna sang “I Want To Know What Love Is” by Foreigner with Ashley McBryde …. for no apparent fucking reason. We’re toasting the first butt rock band on country award shows now?
Gwen Stefani performing “I’m Just a Girl” was just as confusing, and once again, Carly Pearce’s participation couldn’t resuscitate the performance. Then to celebrate 10 years of CMT’s Next Women of Country, they paid tribute to … Alanis Morissette? How about paying tribute to a country woman to celebrate the women of country instead of feeling like country music is always second-class to pop, so it must cast itself as subservient? Seriously, what the fuck?
One of the big moments was supposed to be Shania Twain receiving CMT’s “Equal Play Award”—a dubious honor whose inaugural recipient was Jennifer Nettles, who was once a party to kicking Kristen Hall out of Sugarland because Kristen was a lesbian. Unfortunately, Mutt Lange wasn’t there to accept 50% of the award since he wrote, co-wrote, and produced all those Shania Twain hits. After all, that would only be fair and equal. Or here’s a novel idea, how about giving equal play to country artists compared to the pop ones on what is supposed to be a country awards show, CMT?
Of course there was plenty of signaling for “equality” from CMT throughout the show, but very little substance. Artists like Chapel Hart and Lily Rose were featured, but only for 30 seconds snippets on the insulting “Ram Trucks” stage before the feed cut to prescription drug commercials. Lily Rose did a terrible job and sounded like a couple of non-binary cats fucking.
Hosts Kelsea Ballerini and Kane Brown had the energy of when your babysitter’s boyfriend comes by, and they beg the kids with Oreos to go to bed so they can dry hump on the living room couch. Apparently Kane Brown is about to appear in one of those terrible network TV fire drama shows? This is the same asslick who had to call first responders to rescue him after he got lost on his own property. Meanwhile Kelsea is ripping off Kacey Musgraves circa 2013 with her kitschy “dig up the daises” shtick promoting her new single “If You Go Down” complete with drag queens.
One of the few impressive things of the night was Parker McCollum’s bulge, even though this was supposed to be a family show. It gave Lainey Wilson’s trunk and Carrie Underwood’s gams a run for their money. Also, apparently Shania Twain’s nipple made an appearance? Classy, Sha nay nay.
You would have hoped that other non-genre performers like Gary Clark Jr., Slash, Billy Gibbons, and The Black Crowes would’ve had more dignity and told CMT to get lost. Tributes to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Lynyrd Skynyrd were not worth suffering through the rest of the program for, and nobody there knew who the hell these dudes were anyway. And by the way CMT’s, Austin actually had country legends you could have paid tribute to also.
Who actually won the CMTs? I don’t know. Someone named Moron Maroney maybe? I really wasn’t paying attention. Jelly Roll started crying when he won Male Video of the Year, because clearly he had no clue this was some fan-voted bullshit that has about as much value as your crypto assets these days. Save your tat ink alligator tears, Jelly Roll. This ain’t the CMAs.
“Jeez Trig, can you at least say something positive ?!?”
Cody Johnson was pretty good I guess. And the Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute kicked ass. And Jelly Roll brought out a Gospel choir. But at that time, a tornado warning in the Austin area preempted the local broadcast, meaning as the weather lady was telling folks to duck and cover for a natural disaster, you watched another natural disaster transpiring on the screen in the CMTs.
Seriously, fuck these “awards.” And please Austin, never allow this mess within the Austin City Limits ever again.