2013 CMA Awards Live Blog

Juli Thanki | November 6th, 2013

We’ll kick things off at 8 p.m. Eastern. Until then, check out the nominees and make your predictions.

11:03 - Karlie: Thanks for having us, Juli! Thanks for picking up the bar tab as well.

11:00 - Juli: Darius sings us out with "Wagon Wheel." Thanks to Karlie and Blake for being their fantastic and hilarious selves, and all of you folks who kept us company with your fab comments.

11:01 - Blake: George Strait extends his record for most CMA Award wins: 23, including 3 for Entertainer.

11:01 - Karlie: North Carolina trivia: "Wagon Wheel" makes two Raleigh mentions, after our local station won Large Market Personality of the Year.

10:59 - Karlie: And here George was thinking he got a pity nom. What a class act. And very attractive man.

10:58 - Juli: George Strait looks a little overwhelmed/embarrassed by the attention and standing ovation he's getting. It's pretty cute.

10:58 - Juli: Hot damn. Way to go, George.

10:53 - Karlie: Quick, name three great songs by George, Vince and Blake. George: All of them. Vince: All of them. Blake: "Austin," "Ol' Red," um...

10:53 - Blake: All-time Male Vocalist champs: George Strait (5), Vince Gill (5), Blake Shelton (4).

10:51 - Karlie: It'd sure be cool if Blake deserved this award for his song choices.

10:47 - Juli: @Karlie: Who doesn't? Little known fact: "There's a Tear in My High-Waisted Floral Pants" was Hank's first draft of "There's a Tear in My Beer."

10:47 - Juli: Luke Bryan is singing in an enchanted forest. He's sitting on a stool so that we know this is an Important Song.

10:47 - Karlie: Carrie drowns her sorrows in high-waisted floral pants.

10:41 - Karlie: I'm no Carrie Underwood apologist, but her lack of FVOTY wins / EOTY noms is surprising. Punishment for not having to chase that neon rainbow?

10:40 - Blake: Miranda Lambert now joins Reba McEntire and Martina McBride as four-time winners of Female Vocalist. Miranda and Reba did it consecutively.

10:39 - Juli: This is Miranda's fourth Female Vocalist win. Guess they'll have to build a new trophy shelf at Casa Lambert-Shelton.

10:38 - Juli: Connie Britton and her Magic Hair come onstage to announce Female Vocalist of the Year. Some other guy is there too. Whatever.

10:38 - Blake: The Female Vocalist of the Year is....Juliette Barnes!

10:38 - Karlie: I knew Tami Taylor was a fan of country music! Y'all!

10:37 - Juli: When I interviewed Kenny last month, he taped a message for my sick grandma, who's a big fan of his. So right now he could murder a kitten onstage and I'd still love him.

10:35 - Karlie: Props to Jennifer Nettles for her dedication in pulling out all her...ah....the stops to try and fill Dolly's shoes.

10:35 - Juli: Jennifer Nettles looks unbelievably thrilled to be singing with Kenny. Didn't she have a kid not too long ago? Maybe she's just thrilled to be out of the house.

10:34 - Juli: Darius sounds solid on "The Gambler," though.

10:34 - Karlie: I'm fairly certain Farce the Music got a clutch Awkward Gary LeVox post out of that.

10:32 - Juli: Either Gary LeVox is singing or feral cats are mating in the alley behind my apartment.

10:31 - Blake: Two icons now sitting on barstools: Kenny Rogers and Farrah Fawcett.

10:30 - Karlie: Craig Morgan is up next to perform. Oh wait, that's a commercial for fire alarms.

10:27 - Juli: Zac Brown wore a skull and crossbones jacket for "Day of the Dead" and Brad sported a Mona Lisa tee during his performance. If this Overly Literal Wardrobe Trend continues, Jennifer Nettles will wear a dress depicting some islands in the stream for her duet with Kenny Rogers.

10:28 - Blake: @Karlie: "It ain’t like you and me can re-write history."

10:24 - Karlie: @Blake - if Brad wasn't a co-host, it's hard to imagine that kerfuffle not being mentioned. Guessing he wasn't too keen on that topic coming up.

10:21 - Blake: Before Brad started singing, I halfway expected Diddy to reemerge for a duet of "Accidental Racist."

10:23 - Karlie: Co-host Brad Paisley is up next on the performance end, doing a new noise. I mean song.

10:20 - Karlie: Boundary pushing that's interesting, not embarrassing. It's an art form.

10:17 - Blake: Say what you want about genre cross-pollination, but the pairings have seemed more natural and comfortable than past years. Alabama and N*Sync, anyone? Jewel and Merle Haggard? Toby Keith and Sting?

10:11 - Juli: They should just end the broadcast now -- everything else will be downhill unless Patsy Cline comes back from the dead to sing.

10:12 - Karlie: Alan and George, as expected, nail it. A really nice ending shot of Vince Gill hugging Nancy.

10:08 - Juli: Brad Paisley sweetly acknowledges Nancy Jones in the audience before introducing Jackson and Strait's tribute.

10:08 - Karlie: Nancy Jones and Bobby Bare in the George Jones tribute intro. This will be good.

10:07 - Blake: It wouldn't be surprising if Puffy & Pickle were contenders in the Vocal Duo category next year.

10:06 - Karlie: I bet P.Diddy totally plays "Pontoon" on his yacht.

10:05 - Juli: On a scale of one to Drunken Martina, how loaded is Diddy right now?

10:04 - Karlie: "It's always been a dream of mine to be at the CMAs" - Puff Daddy / Diddy / Sean Combs

10:00 - Blake: With a lyrically and stylistically diverse medley of the four singles from Blown Away, Carrie Underwood certainly made her case as an Entertainer of the Year nominee.

10:02 - Juli: A solid performance from Underwood, but these segues between the songs are pretty jerky.

9:59 - Karlie: Did everyone see that Eric Church commercial about his new album? Was it supposed to be exactly like a perfume commercial?

9:52 - Blake: At 23, Taylor Swift has made four indelible, best-selling albums that all have her distinctive stamp on them. In this era of lowest-common-denominator, written-by-committee songs on Music Row, it's something worth celebrating.

9:54 - Karlie: Glimpse of George Jones on this teaser. There may be tears.

9:52 - Juli: George Strait's slightly befuddled face is my new favorite thing.

9:50 - Karlie: Congratulations to Taylor Swift on her Pineapple Award.

9:49 - Juli: I think my favorite thing about this Taylor Swift video was seeing Vince Gill in a Time Jumpers tee. Did he raid the merch table to avoid doing laundry on the road?

9:46 - Karlie: George Strait is asking Keith Urban why he pulled him up on stage.

9:46 - Juli: Karlie, maybe all of Nashville's dancers are on strike because Luke Bryan won't stop wearing their jeans.

9:45 - Juli: THAT song gets a standing ovation and Bobby Bare gets half a second of recognition? Bite me, world.

9:43 - Karlie: It may be boring, but at least "Mine Would Be You" helps keep our no-dancing streak alive.

9:42 - Juli: Blake's "Mine Would Be You" is the musical equivalent of stale saltines. 

9:41 - Juli: "Who's Cowboy Jack Clement?" -- the audience

9:38 - Karlie: For real though, I think the Blake Shelton Album of the Year award may be the night's biggest surprise for me. All of these others have been expected / deserved.

9:35 - Juli: Yikes, that is a wide, shiny expanse of waxed chest, Tim.

9:35 - Karlie: And the award for the Best Autotuned Back-up Singer with Headset Mic of the year goes to...

9:31 - Blake: The Allman Brothers should reconfigure the old chestnut "Eat a Peach" into "Eat a Pizza" for these skin-and-bones country boys.

9:33 - Karlie: Southern girls rock everyone's world, except when they submit singles to country radio.

9:32 - Karlie: Uh-oh, Tim McGraw forgot his belt. And a couple top buttons.

9:30 - Blake: Were Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley seated in the audience together?

9:28 - Juli: Needed: a crew of experienced thieves to steal Blake Shelton's Album of the Year trophy and give it to Ashley Monroe.

9:28 - Juli: Keith Urban and Sheryl Crow must go to the same hairdresser.

9:27 - Karlie: Album of the Year up next, presented by Sheryl Crow.

9:25 - Blake: Separated at birth: Reid Perry and Paula Poundstone.

9:24 - Karlie: Kimberly Perry beams up her Lego Brothers with the touch of her hand.

9:20 - Juli: Barry Mazor and his wife are in the audience tonight; you could probably feel the waves of their disgust at Eric Church's performance coming through your TV screen.

9:19 - Juli: @Karlie: Whoa!

9:18 - Juli: The pyro and flashing lights just induced seizures in 20% of the audience.

9:18 - Karlie: @Juli - speaking of late 80s / early 90s, Eric Church looks like Joey Lawrence.

9:16 - Karlie: Players gonna play, haters gonna hate, Eric Church is gonna create a country metal genre.

9:16 - Juli: Eric Church channels rock radio circa 1987 for his new single. It is...not good.

9:14 - Blake: If the country-music world is just and right, Kacey Musgraves will be winning armloads of these awards over the next decade. A surprise over the favorites, Florida-Georgia Line.

9:14 - Karlie: Kacey Musgraves' grandma gets to sit between Kacey and Brandy Clark. Best seat in the house?

9:14 - Blake: @Juli: It was. 

9:14 - Juli: Was that Brandy Clark next to Kacey's nana?

9:13 - Juli: New Artist of the Year: Kacey Musgraves. A well-deserved win for the young artist.

9:11 - Karlie: Are Jason Mraz and Billy Currington related? One of them appears to be singing with Hunter Hayes.

9:12 - Juli: Isn't it past Hunter Hayes' bedtime?

9:06 - Blake: That call-and-response approach on the middle verse of "Red" was an unconventional move that would've befuddled most of the artists featured tonight. Vince and Alison were exquisite.

9:05 - Juli: We learn that Mac McAnally won Musician of the Year as we head to commercial. Would have been nice to hear from him this evening.

9:04 - Karlie: Florida Georgia Line's mohawk-ed guitar player certainly has his country boy charm turned all the way up tonight.

9:02 - Juli: And the moment is ruined as Florida Georgia Line appears in a cloud of Axe body spray.

9:00 - Karlie: Taylor Swift takes a guitar pull / writer's circle approach to "Red." It's part fascinating, part confusing. (Also: Vince Gill and Alison Krauss are magical.)

8:59 - Juli: Glad to see Alison Krauss singing on the stage after that news of her dysphonia diagnosis a few weeks back.

8:53 - Karlie: Thoughts on how this Swift / Krauss / Gill combo will turn out? Very interested to see which song they tackle.

8:52 - Juli: I love Miranda's sparkly silver boots. I will wear them when I become the first country blogger to walk on the moon.

8:48 - Blake: The tattoo on Brian Kelley's left arm - "Play hard" - does not refer to musical instruments.

8:49 - Karlie: My husband pointed out the FGL tat "Play Hard." In cursive.

8:48 - Juli: Duo of the Year goes to Florida Georgia Line. Time to give away a CD by a duo that doesn't suck. Eric Brace & Peter Cooper's Comeback Album is going to A.B., whose George Strait/FGL comment made me laugh.

8:47 - Karlie: "It takes a lot to be nominated for Vocal Duo of the Year." Then explain Big & Rich and Sugarland's noms this year.

8:45 - Karlie: The performance trend this year seems to be a bit less spectacle, and a bit more focus on the song. Minus Luke Bryan/FGL.

8:44 - Juli: Little Big Town are tied with Kacey for the strongest performance of the night so far. 

8:37 - Juli: Song of the Year goes to "I Drive Your Truck." I can live with that. The whole category was pretty strong this year.

8:35 - Karlie: I think we can call this Lady A phase The Lumineers Lite.

8:34 - Juli: Lady Antebellum's core audience, having never seen a mandolin before, wonder about the tiny, funny shaped instrument strapped to Dave Haywood's chest.

8:34 - Blake: Charles Kelley's pants are yet another endorsement for Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes.

8:25 - Blake: Kacey Musgraves knocked her first major awards show performance out of the trailer park.

8:27 - Karlie: As if Kacey wasn't cool enough already: She does her own whistling. (Confession: I can't whistle.)

8:27 - Juli: Oh, a wardrobe change for Carrie. Everybody drink.

8:26 - Karlie: The CMA producers edit out the joint reference. Yet don't find any of the bro country offensive enough for similar measures.

8:23 - Juli: Yes! Kacey! Looking adorable in a yellow dress and singing a song ten times better than anything we've heard so far tonight.

8:22 - Karlie: One plus during Jason Aldean's "Night Train" performance: no dancers.

8:15 - Blake: Historical note: With her two pre-telecast wins (Video, Musical Event), Taylor Swift now owns 8 CMA Awards. The leader among solo female performers: Dolly Parton, 9.

8:21 - Juli: Last year I missed the CMAs due to a power outage and flooding from Hurricane Sandy. That week was preferable to Jason Aldean mumbling his way through "Night Train."

8:19 - Juli: In other crime show talk, I'd like to see how Detective Benson and Ice-T deal with Tyler Farr's "Redneck Crazy." 

8:17 - Karlie: Random commercial break observation: I never realized how creepy FGL looks when not singing. Proof beyond the current crop of off-putting pick-up songs that someone needs to write the song "Hey Girl, Don't You Watch Criminal Minds."

8:15 - Karlie: Kacey Musgraves has obviously been studying tape of the Miranda Lambert disapproving head nod, as FGL takes it with "Cruise."

8:15 - Juli: Single of the Year goes to "Cruise." Sigh.

8:14 - Karlie: Zac Brown is presenting single of the year! Wait...

8:14 - Juli: That Duck Dynasty guy must have shopped at Zac Brown's House O' Beanies.

8:12 - Juli: This "Blurred Lines" parody is painful.

8:10 - Karlie: George Strait's almost-retirement is treating him well - that tan of his looks real nice. (Carrie and Brad hijack "Amarillo by Morning" to roast Obamacare.)

8:08 - Blake: Speaking of legs, Carrie Underwood's dress is a castoff of Tina Turner from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. We don't need another hero!

8:07 - Karlie: Carrie is warming up her acting chops for her milkmaid braids debut in The Sound of Music TV special. Kellie Pickler assists her and co-host Brad Paisley in this opening bit.

8:06 - Juli: Karlie, if I had legs like Carrie Underwood, I'd never wear pants.

8:05 - Juli: Aww, Zac Brown and Jason Aldean hugged it out. 

8:05 - Karlie: Sorry Blake - I think Carrie's legs may be the most fabulous things on stage tonight.

8:04 - Blake: Given the early awards results in favor of the old guard - Tim, Keith and Taylor - I'm curious if this strain of bro-country will be contained this evening.

8:02 - Juli: Luke Bryan's hip thrusts make me glad I don't own a 3D television.

8:01 - Blake: Luke Bryan's sequined shirt totally squashed my theory that Kacey Musgraves' gay-affirming anthem "Follow Your Arrow" would be the most fabulous thing on stage tonight.

8:01 - Karlie: Not as excited about Luke Bryan's thrusts.

8:00 - Karlie:Hey-0! Excited to kick this off. And especially excited to see Alan Jackson and George Strait's tribute to No Show.

7:08 - Juli: And if the server -- though it's beefed-up for tonight -- punks out, we're always on Twitter. Also, we can go visit our pals at Country Universe, who are running another hilarious live blog.

7:06 - Juli: Throughout the evening, we'll be giving away prizes from the Engine 145 treasure chest (the cardboard box of CDs under my coffee table), so bring your commenting A-game. 

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  1. Barry Mazor
    November 7, 2013 at 12:02 am
    Home now. Surprised that in-house they show full videos of classic CMA performances from 20-30 years ago when commercials are on at home. Also, I don't want to upset anybody, but, no, I didn't think the Eric Church was the worst thing tonight at all; sort of catchy in a way--and a possible school song for thugs. Remembering dead close relatives for that special specific unforgettable something about their lives alone--having a beer--now THAT was touching. Not. I thought that Florida 42-Georgia 14 would remind me of middling 1980s roots pop with too much kick drum--and they did. zzzzzz.
  2. Leeann Ward
    November 6, 2013 at 11:15 pm
    Congratulations on yet another fantastic live blog!! And that's awesome about Kenny Rogers recording a message for your grandma. I bet she thinks you've arrived now!!:)
  3. Jordan Stacey
    November 6, 2013 at 10:58 pm
    My heart just skipped a beat on that one!
  4. Jeff
    November 6, 2013 at 10:49 pm
    Chris Stapleton sighting.
  5. Jordan Stacey
    November 6, 2013 at 10:37 pm
    Anybody catch Jason Mraz singing along to Kenny Rogers and seeming more into it than his duet with Hunter? Hope I wasn't the only one lol.
  6. bll
    November 6, 2013 at 10:06 pm
    I gave up on the show and I'm watching Garth's 'Ireland & Back' on my PC.
  7. SL
    November 6, 2013 at 9:55 pm
    "Then I toured with Keith Urban, who taught me how to drink."
  8. A.B.
    November 6, 2013 at 9:34 pm
    Why is Tim McGraw wearing Fred Mertz's pants?
  9. Henry
    November 6, 2013 at 9:28 pm
    Sorry; had to channel Eddie Stubbs during that Eric Church debacle; who brought in those loud electric guitars (and I played my share of them in my day)?; reckon if I wanted to hear Black Sabbath, I would have turned on the real thing and not some pale imitation. On the other hand, so happy for Kacey and Mac. She and Brandy are the best.
  10. Mike M
    November 6, 2013 at 9:14 pm
    I would love to trade places with Kacey Musgraves grandma tonight.
  11. Sheila
    November 6, 2013 at 9:09 pm
    How was the Allison etal song?
  12. bll
    November 6, 2013 at 9:00 pm
    Vince Gill & Alison Krause as back up to Taylor Swift....???
  13. A.B.
    November 6, 2013 at 8:58 pm
    Second mandolin sighting of the night with LBT. Wonder if there will be a trifecta.
  14. Jeff
    November 6, 2013 at 8:56 pm
    Jason Aldean, flatter than Kellie Pickler in high school.
  15. Jordan Stacey
    November 6, 2013 at 8:44 pm
    Loved seeing Jessi Alexander up on the stage, too bad she never took off her album was one of my favorites.
  16. A.B.
    November 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm
    Pretty sure CMAs are taking a page from Hee Haw and pre recording the instrumentals. I'm positive I heard the mandolin on the Lady A song and the guy wasn't playing it. Also, nice sighting of Jon Randall congratulating his wife on the CMA win for I Drive Your Truck.
  17. Mike M
    November 6, 2013 at 8:38 pm
    Damn I kind of wanted Bob Dylan to win a CMA award...
  18. C. Eric Banister
    November 6, 2013 at 8:35 pm
    That guy from Lady Antebellum and that guy from Sugarland should start a dou-Those Two Bearded Guys In The Back.
  19. Mike M
    November 6, 2013 at 8:29 pm
    How come the only time "joint" can't be said on television is during the CMA's?
  20. C. Eric Banister
    November 6, 2013 at 8:24 pm
    I fear the bro-country tone has been set for the night. I hope I'm wrong.
  21. A.B.
    November 6, 2013 at 8:20 pm
    Someone should screengrab George Strait's frown from when FGL was giving their acceptance speech. I think it might be perfect for a meme.
  22. bll
    November 6, 2013 at 8:10 pm
    Okay, the 'Obamacare' parody was cute.
  23. Jordan Stacey
    November 6, 2013 at 8:05 pm
    I'm not sure but I think there was some (well a lot) of lip syncing on that opening number. :X
  24. bll
    November 6, 2013 at 8:05 pm
    Only because 'Ghost Hunters' isn't on I left the channel on ABC; immediate regret....