Stop The Presses!

The 2008 CMT Awards

Stop The Presses!

Guess what? Country has inexplicably become the music format du jour for non-country folks to dip their toes in--witness such proof as Reba's Duets album, Taylor Swift's MySpace takeover attracting even the most left- and right-coast teens, and people like Dee Snider showing up on reality programs attempting to "go country."

Oh, and the 2008 CMT Awards. Let us count the oddities that appeared on this awards show. Snoop Dogg, Paula Abdul, Ryan Seacrest--well, okay, Paula and Ryan kind of make sense, due to the number of Idol alumni. Are Barack Obama and John McCain really into country music? (It's actually not too hard to swallow Hillary's excuse that Bill Clinton is a Billy Ray fan.)

But not to worry, hardcore country lovers. Trace Adkins still has hair down to his waist, Larry the Cable Guy is still around getting his toenails painted hot pink, and genuine country talent reigned the evening. The CMT Awards provided a few welcome surprises--of the award-giving sort--including an unexpected win by the aforementioned Adkins, and multiple wins by Taylor Swift and Kellie Pickler. Oh wait, are those last two really a surprise? Guess not, but welcome nonetheless. Of the non-surprising variety but still fun included wins by Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, and Sugarland; plus performances by all the usual suspects including Keith (with Brooks & Dunn), Tim n' Faith, Kenny, Alan, and Toby.

Yes, it's safe to say that country music has really come into its own, in terms of crossing over to the uninitiated. When a fan-voted awards show hosted by a target-format TV channel manages to be far more entertaining than, well, just about any other music awards shows to date this year (hey, let's throw last year into that, too, can we?)--watch out, country fans. Your turf is getting crowded.

To that end, a few red-carpet notes:

--Is Nicole Kidman actually pregnant? For someone reportedly due this summer, the willowy actress barely looks as if she's gained a pound. Her "bump" is about the size of a hastily chugged bottle of Evian. She looked nauseatingly (no pun intended) gorgeous. Okay, let's try not to hate her too much.

--Speaking of pregnancy. Kimberly Williams-Paisley. Did she actually have a baby? For only one year post-partum, she looks incredible.

--In a battle of "who's sexier". You decide: Carrie Underwood sporting extreme bangs, a short skirt, and hot legs; or LeAnn Rimes sporting fire-red lipstick, a short skirt, and hot legs. (We'll give the vote to LeAnn this time-she scores points for her steamy performance in the jailhouse outfit with the thigh-highs. Also her quote about enjoying rolling around with Jon Bon Jovi in bed.)

--Woo, hoo Sara Evans. New man, new look, and it's clear from that tight little satin number she's feeling quite saucy.

--Trace Adkins: Taking his polished Apprentice look to real life-well, if you can call an awards show "real life" in good faith--and it works.

--Alison Krauss: Simply beautiful. Robert Plant...interesting.

--Faith Hill. Faith, Faith. We have to give you credit for trying the "extreme fashion" route. You've been doing it for a few years now, with varying degrees of success. But last night's arrival outfit was a tad over the top. Now, don't get us wrong. You've got some serious taste going-just a little too much of it. You were rivaling Snoop for sheer wardrobe impact. Keep the platform Louboutins and black skinny pants, maybe tone down the cape thing and the extreme hair.

--And, Snoop. WOW! Talk about get-r-accomplished. Now there's a look we'll remember for a while.

Want to see pics of all the best- and worst-dressed artists at the show? Click here to check them out!

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