Country music got some good news yesterday when ABC released the ratings from Wednesday night s broadcast of the 42nd Annual CMA Awards, and the results showed the show was a major success with viewers.
Officially, 15.9 million viewers watched ABC s three-hour broadcast, which was 4.8 million more viewers than second-place CBS. More importantly, among adults 18-49, which is the coveted demographic for advertisers, the show trounced CBS by 72 percent.
An estimated 34.6 million people watched at least a portion of the show. The number of viewers was almost identical to last year s, which is again a boost since television viewership continues to fragment with the ever-expanding channel choices.
As for the show, I thought it was a good showcase for the industry s top stars. With country album sales expected to be down 14 to 15 percent this year, labels are hoping the show can provide a boost heading into the Christmas shopping season.
-It was great to see Shania Twain return to present the award for Entertainer of the Year.
Twain is working on fresh material for an album as she prepares to return to the country music world after a lengthy hiatus. Her last album of all-new music, "Up!", was released in 2002. Wednesday night marked her first television appearance since her split with Mutt Lange in May.
Taylor Swift once again showed why she s one of country music s brightest star. Some stars stood at the microphone and sang for their numbers. Swift went all out for her performance of "Love Story" and re-created the fairy tale, Renaissance era imagery of the video for her No. 1 single. The "prince" during Wednesday s performance was Justin Gaston, who is Miley Cyrus boyfriend and also a former contestant on Nashville Star.
-Carrie Underwood s "Just a Dream" was the highlight of the night. The song was introduced by the widow of a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan. Underwood s emotional version had to bring goosebumps to the arms of most viewers. Underwood then chided her mom for crying, making it difficult for her to keep her composure. Swift has been achieving incredible things, but Underwood is undoubtedly the biggest superstar among female country singers.
-Maybe it s just me, but I just didn t get why Kenny Chesney would share his performance with the Wailers, Bob Marley s band. "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven" was just strange to me. You have country music s brightest star, who would later be named Entertainer of the Year, singing with a reggae band. I didn t get it.
-I m a big fan of Reba McEntire, and it was disappointing that she had technical difficulties at the beginning of "Cowgirls Don t Cry," which she sang alongside Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn. It was awkward seeing her sing into the microphone and not being able to hear her.
-Underwood and Brad Paisley were great as hosts of the show. They played off of each other well, and Paisley delivered several funny one-liners.
-Kellie Pickler was probably the favorite to win New Artist of the Year, but it was great to see Lady Antebellum come away with the prize. Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood are talented songwriters who have the vocals to effectively deliver those great songs. They ve got a bright future.