The 2019 CMA Awards LIVE Blog

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the 2019 edition of the Saving Country Music CMA Awards LIVE blog! It is here that as the presentation unfolds, comments, observations, criticisms, accolades, and smart ass remarks will be doled out in real time and unfiltered for you to follow along with. We’re working without a net here, so be advised that syntax errors and swear words might work themselves into the mix. This is not for the faint of heart and at times insults will fly, but it’s all in good fun. So bring a thick skin and stretch out your refresh fingers, because it’s going to be a wild ride.

For a run down on what you can expect, including presenters, performers, what songs will be performed, nominees, and predictions, please check out the 2019 CMA Awards Complete Preview.

And of course, YOUR feedback and observations are very welcome, so please feel free to pipe up in the comments section.

WARNING: Language

All times Central time.


  • Entertainer of the Year – Garth Brooks
  • Album of the Year – “GIRL” by Maren Morris
  • Male Vocalist of the Year – Luke Combs
  • Female Vocalist of the Year- Kacey Musgraves
  • Group of the Year – Old Dominion
  • Duo of the Year- Dan + Shay
  • Song of the Year – “Beautiful Crazy” by Luke Combs
  • Single of the Year – “God’s Country” by Blake Shelton
  • New Artist of the Year – Ashley McBryde
  • Video of the Year – “Rainbow” by Kacey Musgraves
  • Vocal Event of the Year – “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus
  • Musician of the Year – Jenee Fleenor

10:27 – This felt like a very weird CMA Awards. Overall, there were way more legends, and way more talented artists performing, while the denizens of Bro-Country weren’t even invited. Tributing women was a good theme choice for the CMAs. Everything was in place to have a great night. But the presentation just felt flat throughout. The jokes fell flat, some of the performances sounded washed out, the teleprompters were on the fritz, and it just failed to find any positive momentum. Arguably the best performance was by Pink of all people, and Kelsea Ballerini. The collaborations were often too busy to find a “moment” that gave you goosebumps. There were many fine performances, but few that will be memorable. Social media chatter was super light.

As for the winners, there will be a lot of disappointment that Eric Church nor Carrie Underwood won for Entertainer of the Year, and Garth did yet again. It’s hard to say Garth did not deserve it, but only Garth and his very closest fans wanted him to win. Everyone else was rooting for someone else. Luke Combs gets two big awards, and like Garth said, will be vying for Entertainer of the Year in the coming years. Kacey Musgraves was a surprise for Female Vocalist, and will receive few complaints except from Carrie Underwood fans, who were left with nothing to celebrate tonight. And Lil Nas X did ended up showing up, but didn’t take the stage. Maren Morris is who they are grooming as the woman for the future in country, but the problem is she isn’t country. There’s a lot to unpack with these awards.

It’s great that they paid tribute to women, but we also want to push forward the women who tribute country music. Kacey Musgraves said, “I Love country music,” and those words mean something. Carrie Underwood is the epitome of pop country, but she’s always shown respect to the genre and its institutions. If women are going to find their fair share in mainstream country music in the future, it’s going to take more than 30-second token performances and tributes on award shows. But country music at least showed that it cares, and it’s listening.

10:12 – THANK YOU to everyone for following along, sharing, and commenting! I’m going to give some final quick thoughts, recap the winners, and call it a night.

10:08 – I’m really surprised Garth did not have more self-awareness in that situation, and understand the night was supposed to be about celebrating women. Remember, in 1996, Garth Brooks won Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards, and turned down the trophy because he felt Hootie and the Blowfish deserved it. He tried to turn down his Hall of Fame induction until Keith Whitley and Randy Travis got in.

That said, if you judge Entertainer of the Year as a touring award, Garth deserved it, and better it go to him than Keith Urban.

10:03 – I hate to say I told you so, but when I first made my predictions for Entertainer of the Year, I believed it was between Carrie Underwood and Garth. I thought momentum was well behind Carrie during the voting period, but as we seem to say every year, Entertainer of the Year is a touring award now, and that’s why Garth won. Eric Church never had a chance, and didn’t want it, in my opinion.

9:59 – Garth Brooks doesn’t even mention Carrie Underwood. He mentions Kelsea Ballerini, and Luke Combs, and Reba McEntire while hugging the award like a baby. Let the think pieces ripping apart misogynistic country music begin.

9:57 – WINNER – The 2019 CMA Entertainer of the Year is Garth Brooks.

9:55 – Slightly surprising, but hard to not say it’s deserved for Kacey Musgraves to win Female Vocalist. With the success she had with ‘Golden Hour,’ it has placed her in the top tier of country women, and now she will forever be remembered as the top woman in mainstream country in 2019.

9:54 – Sorry folks, Willie knocked out the site for a sec. Folks are really worried about Willie’s health. Back to full speed now!

9:52 – WINNER – Kacey Wins Female Vocalist of the Year. “I love country music,” she says.

9:42 – It’s okay to say it folks. Willie Nelson didn’t sound good, and really struggled. He’s 86-years-old, and has breathing issues. We should still all be thankful for every second we get to spend with him on this mortal coil.

P.S. Server is starting to get swampy. So please be patient if you have connectivity issues.

9:41 – Kacey and Willie proving even Kermit the Frog is more country than Sam Hunt.

9:39 – I’m getting baked just watching this Willie Nelson / Kacey Musgraves performance.

9:37 – WINNER – The CMA for Male Vocalist of the Year goes to Luke Combs.

9:36  – That’s Eric Church’s common co-writer and solo artist Jeff Hyde. Eric always shares his spotlight on these shows.

9:35- A little disappointed Eric Church isn’t performing his current and excellent single “Monsters,” but this performance is pretty great. Notice how some of the best performances are when all the overproduction is stripped away, and you allow an artist to have a “moment.”

9:33 – The Album of the Year field was really weak this year, and that gave Maren Morris the easy route to a win. Don’t mean any disrespect to the legacy of her producer busbee, but it didn’t deserve a trophy.

9:29 – Your “tribute” is one song? No wonder Kristofferson didn’t cancel his club date to be there for their 2-minute, 45-second token.

9:27 – Thank goodness they put Chris Janson on the blues harp for this tribute. Kris Kristofferson doesn’t know who the hell he is.

9:26 – Digging this rendition of “Me and Bobby McGee” in tribute to Kris Kristofferson. John Osborne and Joe Walsh can shred, and Dierks and Sheryl Crow are doing it justice.

9:25 – Sheryl Crow had to cancel two other appearances at tributes tonight to perform this Kris Kristofferson tribute. She also just flew into Nashville today after another tribute yesterday, and will be leaving right after this performance for two more tributes.

9:21 – Maren Morris does not deserve the COUNTRY Music Association Album of the Year. It might be a fine pop record, but there’s not a shred of anything country on that title. When Kacey Musgraves won last year, it was a deserved recognition for a woman who had devoted her life to country music. Maren Morris doesn’t care about country. She sees it as a burden, and it’s an insult to the actual women of country to give her that award.

9:20 – WINNER – The CMA for Album of the Year goes to “GIRL” by Maren Morris.

9:19 – Bobby Bones is the greatest DJ in country music. Just ask him.

9:15 – The only reason this “We Were” song is even half decent is because it was written by Eric Church and is being played on a nice ass vintage Martin. Otherwise, I wish they would deport Keith Urban post haste and send him back with the Koala bears. Such an embarrassment he’s the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year.

9:12 – So I missed it, but according to For The Birds and CeeCeeBee in the comments section, Brothers Osborne shot Blake Shelton a look when Miranda Lambert sung, “drunk dialed your ex-husband” during “It All Comes Out in the Wash.”

9:10 – Dolly Parton getting religious on us!

9:08 – Dolly singing “Have a Little Faith in Me” solo now. This is what we needed! Written by John Hiatt, by the way. Great stuff.

9:05 – No offense to these new Dolly collabs, but I would have preferred her rip through one of her classics.

9:03 – Save us Dolly!

9:01 – Thomas Rhett just doesn’t raise the pulse whatsoever. I might as well be watching grass growing. It’s Wonder Bread served with tap water. It’s not even distinct enough to get angry about.

9:00 – One more hour!

8:57 – MVP of the night so far, the Blanco Brown murse.

8:56 – Maren Morris did a fine job in her performance. Maybe one of the better vocal performances of the night. But 100% pop. Pink was more country, and still probably has the performance to beat. Sad commentary on the state of country.

8:53 – Blake Shelton is a tool, but I don’t totally hate “God’s Country.” Cool little cameo by CMA Musician of the Year Jenee Fleenor. All the audio feels washed out though, taking the mustard out of all of these performances.

8:51 – In my mind, I’m visualizing Mike and the Moonpies jumping out of the crowd to kick Old Dominion’s ass. Yes, I’m that shallow. But damn if Mike and the Moonpies ain’t badass.

8:50 – WINNER – Old Dominion wins for Vocal Group of the Year.

8:49 – Morgan Wallen looks like an asshole on your front stoop looking to date your daughter. Meanwhile Cody Johnson shows us the first bona fide cowboy hat all night.

8:47 – My OCD going crazy during this Maren Morris performance. “Someone’s going to have to pick up all of those flowers!” Actually, it’s probably just one big carpet.

8:46 – If Maren Morris doesn’t win anything tonight, she’s going to flash her side boob on Instagram in protest, and then tongue lash us all for objectifying her for looking.

8:44 – Wow, they actually acknowledged the Hall of Fame inductees this year.

8:42 – Thanks to everyone commenting below! Reading when I can!

8:40 – One thing to be thankful for this year, NO Sam Hunt, NO Florida Georgia Line, NO Jason Aldean, NO Luke Bryan. Just think about that for a second, and we got performances from Reba McEntire, Brooks & Dunn, and Dolly, Willie, and others coming up. We are truly moving on from the Bro-Country era.

8:37 – This Brooks & Dunn / Brothers Osborne mashup is a little too rock and frenetic for me. Would have enjoyed more twang from this pairing. But at least it’s got some energy.

8:35 – Save us Brooks & Dunn!

8:33 – Jerry Douglas should have walked off stage halfway of that train wreck, flipping double birds over his shoulder.

8:31 – Um, this Halsey chick can’t sing on tune. At all. Woof woof!

8:30 – Lady Antebellum is a musical sedative. They are the pumpkin spice-scented candle of country.

8:29 – Again, Halsey will get more face time here with Lady Antebellum than New Artist of the Year Ashley McBryde did.

8:26 – Man. The presentation feels a little wonky tonight, teleprompters are clearly running behind, and there is NO pulse behind this event on social media. Not sure if it’s due to impeachment proceedings or something else, but this entire thing is just feeling flat at the moment. Let’s hope the 2nd half gets some lifeblood behind it.

8:25 – Dan + Shay just won a duo award over BROOKS & DUNN!! If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to suspend this Saving Country Music CMA Awards LIVE blog to go flip some cars downtown.

8:23 – Dan + Shay suck.

8:23 – WINNER – The CMA for Vocal Duo of the Year goes to Dan + Shat … I mean Shay, SHAY! (sorry, dad joke).

8:22 – Wow, Midland is pure shit in their presentation. “You had ONE task!”

8:20 – “Girl Crush” feels a little dated, but not yet classic. But I thought this was a great way to showcase these women’s talent.

8:19 – Lindsey Ell can rip on the guitar when she wants. Cool they also are flashing up the names of the performers as they work through this multi-artist performance of Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush.” This feels much more organic than the opening medley.

8:17 – A more mature song from Kelsea. Not entirely opposed to that performance.

8:16 – Looked from the comp to the TV, and could swear Kelsea Ballerini was performing topless.

8:15 – Man, these monologue jokes are bad. Timing is bad. Love these women, but they needed more rehearsal and better writers or something.

8:13 – Midland and Cody Johnson would have also been good picks for New Artist of the Year. It was a stacked category. But I think it means more to Ashley McBryde than it would have to either of those two. Cody Johnson isn’t “new,” and Midland is doing fine.

8:09 – Luke Combs is 29, balding rapidly, pushing over 300, and could drag just about anything out of any Nashville bar he wanted. Music is an amazing thing.

8:07 – It’s amazing what Luke Combs can achieve with a chicken leg permanently lodged in his aorta.

8:06 – Carrie Underwood’s “Drinking Alone” is fine, and she killed it as always. Just a little too loungy for my taste. But a solid performance.

8:01 – Ashley McBryde’s acceptance speech and about meeting John Prine. “He said, ‘You’re real good. You’re no Reba. But you’re real good.’ I cherish those little moments that are like that, that are truth and guidance from voices that we respect and admire. And I’m thankful for that and for this, and for the opportunity to step up. Thank you.”

7:57 – Apropos that Old Dominion played in front of an empty hall. That’s exactly what would happen if they had to make it on talent as opposed to gerrymandered radio play.

7:56 – I’d wish for all Old Dominion fans to be stricken with gonorrhea, but chances are I’m too late.

7:55 – HUGE win for Ashley McBryde, a woman of country that deserves way more attention! Great speech too!

7:54 – WINNER – The 2019 CMA for New Artist of the Year goes to Ashley McBryde!

7:52 – Jim Gaffigan has a front butt.

7:50 – …that said, this Pink song is better than 90% of the stuff on country radio, and Chris Stapleton is proving why he’s not just a bearded anomaly, his a generational singer with an incredibly soulful voice that blends well with anything. The best performance of the night so far. Simple and classy.

7:48 – So for context here, this Pink song is a Pinks’s current single, not a country single. Not sure why she gets a full performance slot, when someone like Ashley McBryde, The Highwomen, Maddie & Tae, or someone else could have received one. I get you have to attract non country fans, but she could have sung on a country artist’s single.

7:43 – So I guess Reba McEntire isn’t worth any production behind her performance like everyone else. Just a prerecorded track and the default stage setup. She sounded great though.

7:41 – Absolutely love Reba, and “Fancy” is an iconic song. But this performance feels a little weird. Where’s the band? Do like the strip poker costume changes. Let’s just hope we don’t get down to layer five.

7:39 – The wireless mic is always a little awkward.

7:37 – Fine performance by Miranda Lambert, but felt a little perfunctory. Would have preferred to seen one of her better “Wildcard” songs, but smart to perform the single.

7:34 – “If you throw your salad at the couple at the next table and hightail it before the cops arrive… Don’t sweat it…”

7:30 – “Beautiful Crazy” is a very mild song. But at least Blake Shelton didn’t double up on the song awards. “Rainbow” by Kacey Musgraves was the only better option, but at least it won for Video of the Year.

7:29 – WINNER – The CMA Song of the Year goes to “Beautiful Crazy” by Luke Combs.

7:28 – Lol. Shot of Luke Combs chewing bubblegum, bored out of his gourd after Dan + Shay.

7:27 – During the Sugarland hiatus, Jennifer Nettles has been using her voice as a Class B industrial strength paint remover.

7:25 – Just sayin’ …

7:24 – There was a spread in Billboard today literally touting Dan + Shay as “boyfriend country.” Perhaps that’s why I don’t get their music because I don’t have a boyfriend.

7:23 – I am a professional country music writer person. Dan + Shay has been around for seven years, and have had six #1 songs on country radio and counting. I still can’t tell you which one is which. That is how forgettable they are.

7:21 – As a whole, I think the opening montage in tribute to country music women was really cool and well done. I just think the real way to support women is to give them full performance slots and let them have a “moment” as opposed to 30 seconds. It was a little too frantic for my taste when it comes to actual performances, but each woman did the best with the short time she was given.

7:18 – Blake mentions Earl Thomas Conley, who passed away this year. Say what you want about Shelton, he’s been a big supporter of Earl’s legacy for years.

7:17 – Yay! Let’s support country women! Now here’s an award for Blake Shelton!

7:17 – WINNER – The CMA for Single of the Year goes to Blake Shelton’s “God’s Country.”

7:11 – Dolly mentioned Brad Paisley, who got inched out this year after 11 years of hosting with Carrie Underwood. Apparently he’s on vacation tonight.

7:10 – “Dolly’s rack is so much bigger,” Carrie Underwood cracks! HA! Dolly Parton has big Boobs!

7:08 – Sarah Evans sang something, now Martina McBride is singing “Independence Day” as all the women join in. Terri Clark is up there too. Truth is Pink will get more screen time than any of those women just did.

7:06 – Gretchen Wilson sings “Redneck Woman,” and then Crystal Gayle comes out to sing “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.” These 30 second quick hit performances feel more like tokenism than allowing any performance the opportunity to breathe and for any of these artists to have a moment. The Millennials can’t even Google the names quick enough to figure out who these women are.

7:04 – Highwomen singing Tammy Wynette’s “Good Girls Gonna Go Bad.” Pretty damn cool to see someone like Amanda Shires on national television. Then Tanya Tucker comes out and sings a bar of “Delta Dawn.”

7:03 – Loretta Lynn! She in the front row as Little Big Town and others sing “You’re Looking At Country.”

7:02 – Carrie Underwood’s gams for Entertainer of the Year!

7:01 – The show starts off with a cold open of hosts Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire, and Dolly Parton singing together.

7:00 – Here we go!

6:56 – Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus just took the podium as the crowd was filing in to accept their Musical Event of the Year trophy for “Old Town Road,” so they are on site.

6:53 – Fiddle Player Jenee Fleenor has won for Musician of the Year. She is the first woman to ever win in the category.

6:52 – So far I am 2 and 0 with my predictions, so I’m feeling lucky. If form holds, Chief will be walking away with Album of the Year, and Carrie Underwood will be ending the night crying pretty.

6:50 – We’ve already had some early winners. Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus walk away with Musical Event of the Year with “Old Town Road,” and Kacey Musgraves won for Video of the Year for “Rainbow.”

6:48 – Some quick housekeeping: Due to the high volume these live blogs regularly receive, certain features of the site will be disabled during the presentation, including the “like” capability on comments. This will be restored as soon as traffic volumes return to normal. Every effort is made to keep the site up, but in the event of an outage (it happens sometimes), we WILL get the site restored. Please be patient. Constantly refreshing in these circumstances can sometimes make matters worse, so instead, wait a minute or two, then refresh to see if service has been restored.

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