The 2010 Country Music Association Awards had plenty of things to distinguish it from other years past: New blood (the nominees list was one of the freshest in ages), old blood (a welcome appearance from Loretta Lynn), and Hollywood blood (Gwyneth Paltrow, holding the distinction of the night's most anticipated performance). Yet, one aspect of the show ruled the roost--the crowning of country music's new official power couple.
That would be Miranda Lambert, who swept the evening by winning three of her nine nominations; and her fiance Blake Shelton, who claimed the coup of the night by unexpectedly scoring the coveted male vocalist of the year award.
Lambert was a shoo-in for the CMA's top winner this year, having already set a record solely for the number of nominations she picked up. She won Album of the Year (for Revolution), Video of the Year ("The House That Built Me"), and Female Vocalist of the Year. Additionally, "The House That Built Me" was named Song of the Year, an award that is presented to the songwriter (Lambert did not have a hand in writing the tune).
She lost out on the night's top award, Entertainer of the Year, to an emotional and choked-up Brad Paisley--who has been nominated for the award five years straight, but has never won until this year.
Although Paisley took home the CMA's top honor, Lambert's groom-to-be, Shelton, easily nudged into position as man of the evening. He was nominated for four awards and won two, putting him in a tie with Lady Antebellum for second-runner-up in the award-winning tally behind Lambert. Shelton was a bit of a dark horse against stiff competition for the Male Vocalist honor (including Paisley, Keith Urban, and George Strait), but his surprise victory fit in nicely with his overall 2010 winning streak--a year which included his proposal to Lambert and induction into the Grand Ole Opry.
Lambert and Shelton also provided welcome bounce and fire in a performance lineup which was overly ballad-heavy. Despite an unusually large number of highly anticipated appearances--Jason Aldean with Kelly Clarkson, the Zac Brown Band with Alan Jackson, Kid Rock, and Paltrow--the show seemed oddly weighted down, although all performers (yes, including Paltrow, who delivered "Country Strong" a bit stiffly but surely) were more than up to scratch. However, Lambert in particular buoyed the program with a charged-up "That's The Way The World Goes Round," as well as a sunny duet of "Coal Miner's Daughter" with Sheryl Crow in tribute to Loretta Lynn.
The odd gravity of the performances extended to co-hosts Paisley and Carrie Underwood's repartee, with their tried-and-true banter falling a tad flat this year. The pair's best lines came courtesy of--yet again--Lambert and Shelton, with Paisley most memorably quipping, "After the evening that Blake and Miranda are having, I think we can expect a baby in about nine months." All hail the new king and queen of country music!
Check out a gallery of CMA Awards red-carpet arrivals fashion here.
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