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What I Learned at the CMA Awards 2013

Thursday 28 November 2013

Prior to my trip to Nashville, I knew nothing about country music. Had you asked me anything vaguely related to the topic, the answer would have been "Taylor Swift?", accompanied by a hopeful shrug. At a push, I would have offered up "Keith Urban?" or even "Dolly Parton?" in the hope that all bases would be covered.

So, yes. I knew nothing. I knew less than nothing.

But I was still pretty excited to go to the Country Music Association Awards. Mostly because I truly believed there was the slightest of chances I might meet Dolly Parton. This would rank on a par with meeting, say, Alan Rickman. There would have been lots of giggling and inappropriate touching.

It's probably just as well she wasn't there.

Instead, what seemed like half of Texas showed up. I lost count of the cowboy hats after the first few seconds, and the ladies were in full on ballgowns. Not the celebrities, mind - the audience members, of which there was something like 5,000.

So I took to my seat, glass of wine in hand, and wondered if I was going to have a clue what was going on for the next three hours.

Turns out, as one glass of wine turned into three, that I knew plenty! These were some of my revelations...

I really, truly love award show patter. 

This may be part of the reason why I hate James Franco - he RUINED the Oscars in 2011, and I know that he did it on purpose, the smug oaf.

But these guys didn't! Enter sixth time hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley. Like a two person father of the bride, they embraced the skit, and went at it full force. Hurrah! I mean, I didn't know who they were making jokes about... but I enjoyed it regardless. They're pretending to feud, singing a little ditty, and hey! Kelly Clarkson and Kenny Rogers? I know them!

There was even a segway into Obamacare, which caused an UPROAR. People got mad. So much so, that I wanted to do a mini heckle, to ask them what's so objectionable about health care for the nation. At least Taylor Swift and Keith Urban had the decency to look mighty confused by it all (honestly, it was those two. It's not just because they're the ones I can name)

Taylor Swift is the queen of dancing in a seat

Do you ever need to dance while seated, but find it awkward and limiting? Look to Taylor Swift. While some band opened the show, she was flying her arms around, and even leapt out of her chair at some point. I'm still not entirely sure who they were, but I learned a lot (skip to 2:43, but be sure to watch the first song, where a man in what can only be described as your mum's best glitzy blouse from the 80s sings about eating a catfish dinner) I continued to watch her from afar, and now have some moves to practice. I may have even practiced them later that night.

Awards (and surprise parties) get me emotional

It's true. Each time someone won, I was just so happy for them. It's the weirdest thing though, these feelings got stronger and stronger and drunker as the night progressed.

Not all country music is dire

That's a pretty arrogant opinion to have in any case, I know. But I had always just assumed that I didn't like country music. Wrong! I loves it. But I love the kind of modern country music that, afterwards, everyone claimed is ruining the classic stuff. Psh to that, is what I say! I like songs by Lady Antebellum about being a little drunk at a quarter after one. And I like songs that mention the top of a car being rolled down.

What I did love is the odd little guest stars they had dueting with the country folk. I was super excited to see Alison Kraus, who was singing with Taylor Swift, and it was beautiful...

Later on, Dave Grohl came out and hammered the shit out of some drums, with someone else singing nearby. Mmm. Dave Grohl.

You can't judge a song by the title

When 'I Drive Your Truck' won song of the year, I snorted like you wouldn't believe.

"Is that the most country title for a song ever?? Ha!"

I had to swiftly stop my laughing when I found out it was written about a young soldier who died in Afghanistan, whose dad drives his truck to help remember him. Oops. You know what? It's a good song, too.

Most questions can still actually be answered with 'Taylor Swift'

So I wasn't really that far off the mark. She won the pinacle award for something or other, with a lot of singers making some kind of monument to her (this happened towards the end of the night, so my skills of recollection aren't quite up to par). She's like the queen of the country world (not counting Dolly, obviously) and worshipped as such. Thusly, you should not, I repeat NOT, make any jokes about her, especially when standing in the Taylor Swift Educational Center in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

But you know what? She's actually pretty harmless. She's the most charitable celebrity in the world, she writes her own songs (whether or not they're your cup of tea, you have to admit she's doing something right) and she's tall. Which I always appreciate.

What's creepy is the way the older country men fawn upon her, and constantly reference how they've 'watched her grow into the young woman she is today'. Shudder. Step away, Keith Urban.

So there you have it! Life lessons learnt, and a darn tooting good timin night was had by all. Yeeeehaaaw!

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