Our Country

The 2011 CMT Awards

The CMT Awards are well-known for being the wackiest, craziest night in country music; the "anything goes" show in a genre which tends to stick to the straight and narrow. In past years, the fan-voted award show's gone so far as to include elaborately written comedy routines, presidential nominees, and as many opportunities to goof on Taylor Swift as possible.

This year? Well, it was far less about the scripted funnies and all about the unexpected moment.

Taylor Swift--who ended up winning the coveted Video of the Year award-- did indeed open the ceremonies with a cute skit spoofing the classic Thelma & Louise with the inimitable Shania Twain (making her first appearance at the CMTs in seven years). However, it's pretty much guaranteed that the Shania moment everyone will be talking about is not this one. It's the fact that she took a really nasty-looking fall while walking to stage to present the Male Video of the Year Award.

The Twittersphere clamored with comments about "Okay, did she really trip?" Apparently she did. However, the superstar recovered admirably and announced Blake Shelton as the winner of the category. Causing yet another talky moment--Shelton tweeting "Whoa!!! Not only did I win but Shania Twain is falling for me!!!!"

Why was Shelton tweeting his thoughts instead of just blurting them out on air? Well, that's another aspect of the inadvertently off-the-cuff nature of the show this year. The currently reigning king and queen of country--Shelton and his newlywed bride, Miranda Lambert--won the one-two punch of the Male and Female Video categories that evening. However, neither were there to pick up the awards in person.

Lambert was on tour, while Shelton gave an atypically solemn acknowledgement from the set of his hit reality show, The Voice. The fact that both artists were otherwise and indelibly booked--so firmly as to not be able to change plans for an awards show of this magnitude--speaks a major volume towards country music's mainstream acceptance.

Other less-scripted moments folks will be discussing: Sheryl Crow mentioning an accidental flash of her underpants due to a very short miniskirt (ensuring that countless folks will be hitting rewind frantically on their DVRs), Justin Bieber's presence (yes, yes, we know he collaborated with Rascal Flatts--but sheesh, Blake Shelton couldn't even be at the show), and the fact that Big & Rich's very classically big-and-richy performance overshadowed new Apprentice John Rich's stint on stage with everyone's favorite basket case, Gary Busey.

It's inevitable that Lady Antebellum's segue from "Just A Kiss" into Prince's classic "Kiss" (complete with Hillary Scott's purple blazer) will be chatted about as well. Sugarland also made an unusual effort during their performance, using the stage as a meeting ground for a family displaced and split by the natural disasters devastating parts of America in past months. American Idol dual-country sensations Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina showed up to present. Jason Aldean made the evening's obligatory "ironic hip-hop collaboration" with Ludacris. But in a show rife with oddly unscripted moments, serendipity ended up overshadowing all.

Other major winners of the night included Sugarland's "Stuck Like Glue," which took the Duo Video of the Year award; Lady Antebellum's "Hello World" for Group Video of the Year; and Shelton's "Kiss My Country A**" for Best Web Video of the Year. A complete list of winners can be found here.

What was your favorite moment from the show? Be sure to let me know your thoughts!

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