From "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" to "What heels made your knees buckle under?"—that was the story of Shania Twain's collapse on the way to the stage at the CMT Awards. No, this wasn't staged to have one more triumph-over-adversity obstacle to overcome for the finale of her reality show. Twain was obviously legitimately flustered after getting herself upright to present an award, and still dismayed about experiencing "one of life's most embarrassing moments" by the time she made this video back at her hotel room:
"I'm trying to get all this adrenaline out because I just made a fool out of myself," she told the camera. "I'm here to tell you that I don't need a stunt double, because I did my own stunts for the Thelma and Louise video clip"-referring to a taped parody sketch with Taylor Swift that opened the show-"and I didn't need a stunt double to wipe out on my way to the CMT Video Awards stage to present best male video of the year" (to an absent Blake Shelton, who later tweeted his satisfaction that Shania was falling for him).
But it only hurts when she's blushing. "I didn't hurt myself," she told fans. "I have a bit of a sore thumb and that's about it. And I'm gonna auction off those shoes... I never want to see those shoes again. Or maybe I should keep them as a souvenir. I don't know, I'll think about that one. Anyway..." She wrapped up her mea-culpa minute with a blown kiss-proving that even in humiliation (which CMT edited out for the west-coast tape delay, by the way, in case you wondered what the fuss was about), she is damnably incapable of sub-gorgeousness.
Twain was in too big a hurry to get back to her hotel and de-fluster to stop by the press room at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena. But other winners, presenters, and hosts stopped by to share their thoughts on the show and/or their own performances.
American Idol winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina were predictably starstruck. McCreery talked about how cool it was to go to the men's room and hear Keith Urban singing in there. (We refrained from any followup questions about whether Urban was, um, multi-tasking while he was singing in there.) He also mentioned that, despite being such a country die-hard, this was only his second time visiting Nashville—the first time being two years ago when he came to town to... no, not hand out demos, but "re-roof houses, with my church."
It's an eventful week for this duo. Friday night, they make their debut on the Grand Ole Opry. The day before that, both of them enter the studio to start on their respective albums. And "respective" is the operative word, because although they're making so many appearances as a duo, they won't be using the buddy system when it comes to recording anything together.
"We need to establish ourselves as artists first," said Alaina, when asked if they might do a duet. "And then," added McCreery, "hopefully down the road, if we're still around"—come on, Scotty, you can be a little more optimistic than that!—"we'll put something together." "Because we'll be friends forever," added Lauren.
Hosting the show, meanwhile, was the anti-Scotty, hellraiser Kid Rock. "I'm drunk. Am I rambling?" Rock asked the assembled press at one point.
The funny thing was, Kid Rock never seemed more sober. After last year's notably rowdy and risque CMT Awards, this year's edition seemed slightly toned down and more family-friendly—if still boundary-pushing by CMA or ACM standards. When what appeared to be a pair of colorful underwear was thrown up on stage during the telecast, Kid Rock not only didn't crack a lewd joke, he seemed almost offended. "Is that underwear?" he asked. "It's a country show! Calm down a little."
This was one of two pairs of underwear apparently seen on the show. Sheryl Crow did a duet with Kid Rock early in the telecast, wearing a short skirt while sitting on a stool. Later, as a presenter, she acknowledged some comments that maybe viewers had gotten a little too good of a view. But "I was wearing underwear," she pointed out. "Because I am good, clean family entertainment."
And so was Kid Rock, strangely enough. At the press conference after the show, CMT head Brian Philips came over to congratulate the host and quipped, "Do I still have a job?" The answer would definitely be yes, if that was dependent for the moment on his host not upsetting middle America this year.
Kid Rock gave a nod to the effort that Twain and Swift put into the opening sketch, which featured a very fleeting cameo by him. "God bless them," he said. "I went out for two hours and I was kind of bitching, sitting in the hot sun. And I was like, 'How long y'all been here?' And they were like, 'Since 7.' I got there at 4. I thought, I'll shut up now."
Kid Rock was asked what he thought during the show-closing performance by Jason Aldean and Ludacris. "You're welcome?" he quipped, alluding to the fact that he'd blazed that particular crossover trail. "Or maybe it's another reason to hate me more!"
The return of Big & Rich for their first televised performance as a duo in three years—doing their new single, "Fake ID," with old cohort Gretchen Wilson, who's about to embark with them on a 50-city tour—held special intrigue after the increased celebrity that John Rich has picked up as a Celebrity Apprentice winner.
It wasn't just Big Kenny that Rich was reuniting with, but Apprentice costar Gary Busey. The idea to have him on the telecast wasn't his, but he didn't mind. Busey is "the proverbial lightning in a jar," said Rich. "And he has a huge heart. But he'd be the first guy to tell you: you never know what he's gonna do. He's one of the greatest actors ever, and he's also very, very draining on everyone. He pulls energy from everyone else. He's like Magneto. I love Gary Busey, and I'm glad CMT asked him to be a part of this... And it's really cool that now on my cell phone, I can hit a button and go to the twilight zone any time I want to." After a big laugh from the assembled press, Rich added: "With all due respect. I love the twilight zone!"
Big & Rich had a lot of girls on stage with them, but were beaten to the punch on that score by Luke Bryant, whose very choreographed version of "Country Girl, Shake It for Me" lived up to its title.
Bryant said he "cannot remember one thing I did on that stage tonight... I'm probably gonna go back and look at the monitor and go, what the hell was that right there?... Would I have loved to sing better and have a mini-oxygen tank about second course to get my lungs back?" Yes, "because literally, that's about the closest I've ever been to fainting." He had no idea what he was doing, he said, because "I was too busy checking out all the girls laid out on the floor around me, and I was like, okay, dad!" ("Dad"?) Bryant also mentioned that the performance was "supposed to have lots of pyro" that didn't all come through, "but I was good with the little kabooms that happened."