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CMA Awards 2021 recap


With the migration of the ACM Awards away from broadcast tv to Amazon Prime next year, we got out first look at the CMA Awards as the prominent place-holder for this doling-out-of-trophies made for tv event.  Nothing sparks an online debate like the sound quality of the telecast…yes, it’s always sub-par.  Why can’t we figure that out? This year was no different in that regard. However, a new vibe was hatched.  Stick with me on this one.

If you judge the awards show by number of ovations, this one had to be near the top. At times, it looked like a CrossFit class for the well dressed in Music City. You can tell there was a lot of love and respect in the room….or maybe an open bar.  Country music seems to be the most gracious of all the formats when it comes to rooting on others to do well it would appear.  (Side note: I’ve never seen the Dove Awards – that may be more friendly.  I doubt there’s a Taylor Swift / Kanye moment there.) This theory was cemented when Eric Church proudly applauded Luke Combs for entertainer of the year despite being up for the same award. As you recall, young Mr. Combs was many times front and center as a key fan in the “Church Choir”.

Some hits:

The Chief – Eric Church wowed the audience and the Nashville Fire Department with “Heart on Fire”

The Anthem alum duet of “Never Wanted to be that Girl” by Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde.  Magical.  Haunting. Authentic.

Jimmie Allen’s speech and his wardrobe.  By the way “Mercury Road” album is fire! 

Battery Park alums Kane Brown and Chris Young – loved the high school pictures and “most likely to…” in the background. Funny!

Blake’s new song “Come Back as a Country Song” – great place to debut it. He definitely has found his sound.

Keith Urban never disappoints.  “Wild Hearts” is a jam!

I got chills when I heard the new Luke Combs song! “Doing this” 

The CMA’s finally went over the time limit!  Woohoo! Just 6 minutes.

Some misses:

Luke was okay as the host. However, a big departure from the magic of Brad and Carrie.  Nashville Kat called it.  Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini should get a try at the gig.

Speaking of Carrie…it seems as though she has lost the luster of the CMA crew.  Just one performance with Jason Aldean?  Such a missed opportunity

Luke Bryan had 1 ½ performances in 15 minutes.

Would like to have seen more artists represented on the show.

2021 is the year for “Fancy Like” This would have been a good venue for the hottest song in the format.

Wasn’t there supposed to be a Sam Hunt performance?

Where were performances from Kenny Chesney, Maren Morris, Kelsea, Lady A, Brad Paisley (with Jimmie?), Little Big Town, Jon Pardi and the Yellowstone 1883 guy?

Ok. The theme of the CMA Awards seemed to be acceptance, loving each other, enjoying the company of talented peers, introducing a few surprises, coming TOGETHER as a community and thanking others who made success possible.

You know….

The opposite of social media over the last 20 months.

That deserves an award.

Maybe a standing O.



Tony Michaels

KSUX Program Director

CMA Awards show blogger