Welcome to the 2008 CMA Awards Live Blog (Pacific Edition): Less Popular and Three Hours Late. Since live blogs are already underway elsewhere, I’m cordoning myself off and not checking any other sites for the rest of the night. If you’ll be following along and want to review the list of nominees without stumbling across any spoilers, I’ve temporarily posted it here: 2008 CMA Awards Nominees
I’ll be back just before 8pm Pacific Time to get this party started.
7:49 – Eleven minutes until showtime. I’ve never been so excited in all my life.
7:53 – I watched the CMT red carpet thing and learned that Taylor Swift’s dress weighs like 400 pounds, but I’m not sure that I believe it.
7:58 – Be still, heart.
8:00 – COUNTRY MUSIC’S BIGGEST NIGHT HAS BEGUN!
8:03 – Red and white/blue guitars. Already with the subliminal patriotic messages. I’ll confess to being baffled by the heart on Brad Paisley’s chest.
8:05 – KC: “What’s with the commercial for the show on the screens in the background while they played? Like people there don’t already know who’s there.”
8:06 – Brad Paisley has a reddish tie and Carrie Underwood is wearing a blue/white dress of some sort. I see what they did there.
8:09 – Kristian Bush was shown in the audience looking like an unkempt Charlie Chaplin.
8:12 – I’m surprised by the Strait single win. And Tony Brown is sweaty.
8:17 – Kellie Pickler is doing the Swift cowrite in a very distracting outfit.
8:20 – It’s weird seeing Brad Paisley so stiff as he reads off the prompter.
8:22 – Oh no, here come the unnecessary Good Time dancers. The thing I like about Alan Jackson is that he only uses about 4 square feet of stage space.
8:26 – “Stay” gets Song of the Year and Miley Cyrus looks like a waitress at a Mexican restaurant in that dress.
8:32 – I’m excited to see Miranda do “More Like Her.”
8:36 – Lady Antebellum always sounds pretty good, but so far this is like the night of distracting video screen imagery.
8:41 – KC thinks Miranda will be the best of the night. I wouldn’t be surprised.
8:44 – So far, Brad and Carrie haven’t been distracting, which is all you can expect from them in a first-time hosting gig. And this Martina song bores me. How’d she get a performance slot on the show? She’s been MIA for a while.
8:47 – I think Martina pushed herself a bit too hard, working the stage more than usual and uncharacteristically missing a couple notes.
8:51 – I was coming here to say it, but KC beat me. Regarding the new Rodney Atkins song: “Goody, more patriotism for you.”
8:53 – Rascal Flatts wins Vocal Group? What a shocker.
8:54 – Joe Don is the odd man out without a flowered pattern on his jacket or shirt.
8:56 – This Richard Simmons yogurt commercial is less annoying than Rascal Flatts.
8:59 – 1/3 of the way through. Are we having fun yet?
9:01 – I wonder where you apply to get a job as a dancer in period costume for a Taylor Swift award show performance.
9:03 – Long live Underwear Boy. And here comes Kid Rock…
9:07 – Kid Rock and Kristian Bush should start a hat club. And I love the American flag graphics on the screen, because this is America, by God, and I don’t want to not be reminded of it for a second of this show.
9:08 – KC: “I’m surprised they haven’t acknowledged the troops yet.”
9:14 – I know this is supposed to be a “River of Love” and all, but I’m not feeling it. I’d rather have seen George do pretty much anything else.
9:18 – Oh, neat, a song about being country. And I do believe Jason Aldean just said “mamma jamma.” (Bonus points: red, white, and blue graphics.)
9:23 – As Lady Antebellum made their way onstage to claim New Artist, I think I saw Randy Travis and his wife off to the side in the front row. Weird that he got such prime seating. Anyhow, I was glad to see Lady Antebellum take that category.
9:29 – I thought that was the introduction to a Jerry Reed tribute, but it turns out it was the whole thing. Guess it’s better than nothing?
9:34 – Ronnie Dunn and Alan Jackson should have a competition to see who can be the more laid-back singer. And Reba’s presence in that duet felt mostly unnecessary.
9:38 – Glad Sugarland got Best Duo, since they’ve sure done more interesting stuff than Brooks and Dunn lately. Mac McAnally (Musician winner) looks like an Irish lumberjack.
9:41 – Place your bets now. Will Darius Rucker get a standing ovation?
9:43 – A partial standing ovation? What was that?
9:46 – Kudos to Brad Paisley for skipping the distracting video screen usage.
9:50 – George Strait rightly gets Best Album. The return of Sweaty Tony.
9:53 – Josh Turner and Lee Ann Womack should have been performing, not presenting.
9:58 – My viewing partner here at the house thinks Keith Urban’s “Sweet Thing” sounds like a Rascal Flatts song.
10:00 – Military tribute time, folks. Quite a jarring transition from the Urban ditty to this lady’s earnest speech.
10:03 – All of a sudden it’s windy in the theater. Carrie might get blown away.
10:05 – Never been a big fan of the song, but at least she can sing on key.
10:07 – Brad Paisley thinks “Just a Dream” is “what country music’s all about.”
10:08 – It’s the speed round tribute to the latest Hall of Fame inductees by a very greenish Vince Gill.
10:11 – CMA makes the least interesting choice possible for Female Vocalist by giving the prize to Carrie Underwood. Sorry, Miranda.
10:16 – Sugarland is performing “Love” and there are lots of umbrellas onstage. Will it rain? Luckily, Kristian is wearing his hat.
10:18 – I’m not sure what Jennifer’s wearing, but she can sing. I’m told that this song would sound right at home on a Lion King soundtrack.
10:19 – KC: “Kristian should be more like Kix Brooks and stay silent.”
10:22 – James Otto did “Just Got Started Loving You” justice, but they apparently asked him to work a radio award announcement into the end of the song. Awkward.
10:25 – While we’re at commercial, I’d like to point out that that’s only the second most awkward transition of the night. The appearance of a serious military widow in a pilgrim outfit at the end of “Sweet Thing” still takes the cake.
10:28 – We’re quickly approaching the end of the show. Hey, Brad Paisley made a Palin reference! Why isn’t she there?
10:30 – Kenny Chesney whips his head to the side as he completes every line.
10:33 – Who’s this guy and has Kenny lost his mind?
10:35 – Trace Adkins delivers one of the best performances of the night.
10:38 – Reese Witherspoon would make a good host.
10:40 – Brad Paisley won Male Vocalist, but Reese Witherspoon didn’t have a trophy for him, so a woman came out with him to hand the trophy to Reese so she could hand the trophy to Brad. Smooth.
10:44 – Sixteen minutes to go. Is it everything you dreamed it would be?
10:48 – I’m glad the Eagles are still around to remind all the contemporary “country” acts who want to be the Eagles that the slot’s already filled.
10:53 – Who will get Entertainer? My guess is Keith Urban.
10:55 – Shania gets a standing ovation just for being there? Eat that, Rucker.
10:56 – KC: “I wonder if Shania will have trouble with radio now that Carrie is here.”
10:56 – Kenny keeps the Entertainer trophy for another year.
11:00 – Someone forgot to put a “Good night, everyone!” on the prompter for Carrie and Brad, so they just waved awkwardly to end the show.
Thanks to KC for keeping me company in my first live blog. This was fun!