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Commentary: Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Eric Church deserved to win big at CMA Awards

Courtesy of MCT

While most awards shows spend the majority of the program actually giving awards, the Country Music Association Awards are a little different.

With a two-hour program, the 46th annual CMA Awards named only 12 winners Thursday night, and the rest of the event was a concert of the biggest names in today’s country music.

Husband and wife super-team Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert swept nearly every category they were nominated in. The pair garnered four awards overall, including one they shared, for Song of the Year with “Over You,” and Shelton was named Entertainer of the Year.

I was just glad to see Lambert win Female Vocalist of the Year, as she blows the other nominees out of the water with her talent. Taylor Swift, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson are all gifted in their own rights, but Lambert has been on fire since releasing “Four the Record” and debuting her girl group Pistol Annies last year.

The biggest disappointment of the night came when Little Big Town won Single of the Year for its lazy summer song “Pontoon,” robbing Eric Church’s anthem “Springsteen” of the win. “Springsteen” was by far the song of the summer and was well-deserving of the win. Church was, however, redeemed by winning Album of the Year for “Chief,” produced by Jay Joyce.

Another high note of the night was Hunter Hayes’ win for New Artist of the Year. Hayes became the object of many girls’ affection when he released his single “Wanted” this summer. The 21-year-old heartthrob is just beginning what is sure to be a long career of singing his way into the hearts of female country fans.

And a win for stereotypical beer-loving country fans everywhere came when Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup” won Music Video of the Year, directed by Michael Salomon. The win was announced prior to the CMA Awards’ Thursday airing. While I have tried hard to hate this song, originally writing it off as an embarrassing, trivial tribute to a plastic cup, I must admit it’s a guilty pleasure of mine now.

Beyond the awards, the performances truly made the night a success. When a show opens with a collaboration of Church, Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean, the bar is immediately set pretty high. Eli Young Band rose to the challenge and flourished with its beloved “Even if it Breaks Your Heart.” Tim McGraw and Faith Hill also highlighted the night, and co-host Underwood gave a power-packed performance of her latest single “Blown Away” from her No. 1 album of the same name.

Swift even sounded better than usual, performing “Begin Again” from her latest album “Red,” released Oct. 22. While Swift didn’t pick up either of the awards she was nominated for, she gave a magical, Parisian-inspired performance in classic Swift style.

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