Here we are, a day removed from the 44th Annual CMA Awards.  The Country Music Association Awards are often times seen as the "real" award show for country.  Not taking anything away from it's close cousin, the ACM's, but they, from time to time have gone a little more liberal in their honorees and performances, not to mention an affection for LA and Las Vegas.  The CMA's on the other hand have not only been associated with the Country Music Hall of Fame, but have primarily remained in Nashville, except for a 2005 excursion to New York City (New York City!?!  Pace Picante Sauce?  Anyone?  Oh Well). The CMT Video Flame Music City News TNN People's Choice Awards (or whatever they're going by these days) just never measure up.  Lest we forget the TERRIBLE debacle of an awards show this year, hosted by an overly tipsy Kid Rock and backstage interviews by an overly brainless Melissa Peterman.  And finally, as if we needed another show, the ACA's will hit our radar very soon.

The CMA's always seem to deliver with great performances, and the 44th annual gala was filled with top-notch performances from country's biggest names and a couple others.  Notable performers included Lady Antebellum singing their poetic, "Hello World."  Reba introduced her cover of Beyonce's powerful, "If I Was a Boy."  Even Taylor Swift, who has been criticized for poor live vocals, sounded near perfect with her new single, "Back to December."  The CMA's will often toss in some mainstream cross-over, and this year it started with the pairing of Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson with a song destined to be a radio hit.  From there, the mainstream elements just fell short.  My one constant complaint about award shows is when they give coveted performing slots to those who don't deserve them...this year those slots went to Kid Rock and Gwenneth Paltrow.  Not taking anything away from either performance, but neither was nominated for any of the night's awards, nor have either had a top 30 single on the charts in the last year.  Give that slot to the Darius Rucker's, Chris Young's, Luke Bryan's, and Steel Magnolia's of the world please!

Other than that one beef, I don't really have any more!  There were great moments shared on stage with Female vocalist of the year, Miranda Lambert and country music legend, Loretta Lynn.  There was honest pride as Reba McEntire watched Blake Shelton  accept his first CMA for Male Vocalist of the Year.  Last, but not least, you could feel how much love Brad Paisley has for the genre as he  accepted his first ever Entertainer of the Year award.  All the awards went to extremely deserving winners.