ABC treated its audience last night to a front-row view of “country music’s biggest night.” The 51st annual Country Music Association Awards — commonly known as the CMA Awards — aired live from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, for about three hours. The star-studded gala took viewers through an emotional gamut that included cheers, tears, laughter, camaraderie, patriotism — and fond reminiscence.
The producers accomplished this Herculean feat without exposing fans to inappropriate lyrics, dance, or attire — and the presenters didn’t turn the event into a platform for ramming a liberal political agenda down viewers’ throats.
For that alone — the show itself deserved an award. Few other shows devoted to mutual back-patting seem to manage it.
If you were to take much of the media coverage of the event at face value, however, you’d get a very different impression. Too many articles and social media postings give the impression the CMA Awards were rife with overheated Trump-hating rhetoric — a notion many country music fans would find laughable.
Here's the truth: Yes, there were politics-based jokes — but they were sparse, light, and funny.
The alleged "Trump slams" making the rounds were issued mostly in parody song form during the show's opening by Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, who, incidentally, marked their 10th year as hosts. The quips were clever and good-natured — and any jabs were more like kiddie punches. The hosts showed a willingness to poke fun at contemporary political figures without being malicious, mean-spirited, or unfair. Imagine that!
Hosts of a major entertainment awards show were able to pull off what the bulk of the media cannot — or will not. They made fun of themselves and folks on both sides of the political aisle without shaming conservatives or lauding the supposed virtues of liberalism. In other words — they did their jobs. And well.
In their rush to overinflate the "jabs" against Trump, some media types seemed to overlook important bits of the show — bits that might not be as comfortable for them.
Carrie Underwood's rendition of the classic hymn, "Softly and Tenderly, Jesus Is Calling," is the ultimate case in point. It's an unapologetically evangelical song often played or performed during funerals. It is so bold that the hymn actually uses the word "sinner" — a concept to which some moral relativists might take offense.
It's good to know that some in the entertainment industry still have Christians' and conservatives' backs.
Under dimmed lighting, Underwood, in an almost angelic-looking gown, appeared on a smaller stage surrounded by candle-holding audience members. Images of people in the entertainment community who lost their lives this year scrolled in the background. Glen Campbell, Don Williams, and Troy Gentry (of Montgomery Gentry) were among the most poignant mentions among the county music audience.
Near the end of her performance, images of those men and women again scrolled in the background. These were of each of the country music fans who lost their lives in the Las Vegas massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on October 1 of this year. At that point, Underwood allowed her voice to crack momentarily. It was a powerful moment in a powerful performance.
It struck a chord of truth. That can make some media outlets pretty uncomfortable — when that truth comes from a place that is distinctly Christian. They are more accustomed to deriding Christians than they are respecting them or (gasp!) embracing them.
Underwood's hymn was not tongue-in-cheek. It wasn't a segue for mocking those of faith. It wasn't done for show. It was a heartfelt tribute from a woman of faith. It was unforgettable.
Whether you're a country music fan or not, it's good to know some in the entertainment industry still have Christians' and conservatives' backs.
Michele Blood is a freelance writer with a passion for children's literature. Based in Flemington, New Jersey, she leverages her background in psychology in her work for publishers, businesses and NPOs.
Last Modified: November 9, 2017, 6:20 pm