Is there a bigger waste of time than the CMT Video Awards (excuse me, CMT Music Awards)? I think this year's edition proved - there is not.
From the same company that gave you MTV came a show that did more to set Country Music and Country Music fans further back than any stereotype. CMT came out to the younger audience and proved that country is all about swilling moonshine, smoking "funny" cigarettes and living in a trailer park near you. CMT urges you to "Get Country" - but I really hope you don't get their country.
You could see it in the faces of the actual country artists who watched Paula Deen "getting Jersey" with Snookie and "The Situation." And let's not forget the looks on the faces of Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert when the Rebas (in the form of Reba McEntire and Kenan Thompson in Reba drag) took the stage. How many years has this edition of the CMT Video Awards put Country music back? CMT has done the best job of selling out Country music than any other awards show.
You don't have to look any further than the presenters that were on stage, and the awards show itself. Let's first take a look at the presenters. Can anyone honestly tell me what Terrell Owens, Hayden Panettiere, David Spade, and any of the other spares that were put on stage have to do with Country music? Absolutely nothing. These "celebrities" were put on stage for simple commercial appeal. Nothing more, nothing less. I would hope that even the most stereotypical country fan would see through this move. And the ultimate shot across the bow of Country music's tradition came in the form of the half-drunk, half-high presence of one Kid Rock.
The last I checked, Kid Rock had almost nothing to do with Country music. Let alone one terrible duet with Sheryl Crow that failed to crack the Top 15 of country music, and a semi-maybe-if-you-weren't-paying-attention Country rap song of "All Summer Long" (built on the backbone of rock legend Warren Zevon), this non-talent was left to anchor this anchor-weight show and supposedly make it shine. And what a wonderful job he did. Smoking a cigar (and possibly something more), supposedly drinking during his "performance", Kid did more for setting Country music back than William Hung has done for American Idol. And it was so wonderful to see Kid Rock do a bit where he said his girlfriend was a stuffed boar. The attraction? According to Kid, "she doesn't talk much." When asked for more of a comment - "I'm sorry, I'm drunk." Excellence. It may have been a lame attempt at comedy, but it wasn't funny, and it wasn't helpful for Country music.
Then there was the obvious sellout presented to the masses in the form of the awards show itself. Do you know of any other accepted awards show (CMAs, ACMs, Grammys, etc.) where awards were named for a corporate entity? I point directly at the "USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year" and the "Nationwide Insurance On Your Side Award". As desperate for advertising dollars as the Country Music Association is, it isn't broadcasting an awards show were their awards are corporately sponsored. The only exception is the Academy of Country Music, which features the Home Depot Humanitarian of the Year Award. In their case, the winner gets to help build a park for a deserving community. So is USA Weekend and Nationwide Insurance going to use their positioning to make a difference in a child's life? Yeah, I'm not holding my breath. And don't get me started on the Nationwide Insurance Stage - or the CMT Performance of the Year.
The CMT Video Awards (excuse me again, CMT Music Awards) are traditionally held near the beginning of the CMA Fan Fest Festival. All country music fans converge on Nashville to get a perhaps one-time-only glimpse, if not physical meeting moment with their Country heroes. My only hope is that CMT did not charge a ticket charge to bring those fans in to view this debacle. But then again, given how they worked so hard to bring in a bunch of "celebrities" who looked like they had no clue why they were there and signed up a few corporate sponsors for their awards, I'm instead betting they charged big-time ticket prices. And each and every one of those fans got ripped off. I lost 2 and a half hours of my life.
CMT? You owe me.