CMA’s 50, Reviewed


Is today Christmas? I woke up with the same giddy excitement for the 50th CMA show!

So it’s not Christmas but I do have TONS of snacks, sparkling grapefruit water (I really went cray-cray on that impulse buy) and not-gonna-lie I’m wearing the same dress I wore to my sister’s wedding. (WHO SAYS YOU WON’T WEAR YOUR BRIDESMAID DRESS AGAIN? I’LL GIVE YOU AN OCCASION.)


Let me recap for you the first ten solid minutes of the CMAs in one sentence. Basically anyone who has been involved in country music for over 10 years sang a medley of all-time hits, including Reba’s Fancy, Randy Travis’s Forever And Ever, Amen and Alan Jackson’s Don’t Rock The Jukebox.

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood are singing “the election is lasting, forever and ever.” Clever start to the hosting intro. (And I mean… amen. Pun WAY intended.)

Entertainer of the Year nominees are mentioned, Carrie Underwood’s one of them. Brad proclaims, “#ImWithCarrie.” Love it.

Aweeee you guyssss! Five of our Olympians from this year are giving the first award tonight for single of the year. They look adorable all dressed up. My money was on Chris Stapleton, Nobody To Blame. The adorable Thomas Rhett is the winner, though, and he and his wife both look so happy about it. I’m happy too.

Home girl has taken the stage! (I should specify… this is Kelsea Ballerini.) She’s singing Peter Pan – a slow version with two people dancing in the background. She looks sincere and has such solid stage presence. PS, the people dancing are aerial dancing (is that even a term?) Read… one or both of them are regularly… not on the ground… I love the creativity and level of entertainment I felt from this performance.

Olivia Newton John is part of the group – who knew, she was 1979’s female vocalist of the year? Song of the Year will be announced. Tim McGraw wins with Humble and Kind. The song writer, Lori McKenna, gave the sweetest thank you speech about how this song was a prayer she wrote for her children, and how she writes songs for Tim McGraw because of Faith Hill. Faith is (adorably) crying at her seat. I LOVE MOMENTS LIKE THESE.

Jason Aldean is singing “Brand New Man” with Brooks & Dunn. Jason’s voice sounds great with Ronnie and Kix in this classic performance.

Dierks Bentley and Elle King are singing “It’s Different With Girls.” I love this song and they’re performing a classic, sweet version of this song.

GUYS MY OTHER FAVE IS PERFORMING! Maren Morris is singing My Church. Her hair is way curly, “fro-ed out” even. She’s got a little church choir behind her, and she’s wearing a trendy black dress. She seems real happy and comfortable rockin’ out to her first hit.

Let me take a minute to say, Carrie Underwood has been dressing to honor each decade. Everyone knows she’s like model-level beautiful so she looks amazing in each dress. #GOALS.

Jennifer Garner is giving the award for New Artist of the Year. Kelsea Ballerini, Brothers Osborne, Maren Morris, Old Dominion, and Cole Swindell are all nominated. We have some great new artists! Side note, she is rocking her outfit. Maren wins! Hooray sista, I am PROUD O YOU. She’s way humbled and emotional. Last year she was watching the CMAs at a bar and here she is today. CRYING up a storm and thanking her favorites. She is a wreck and I absolutely love her perfectly flawed thank you. Maren, you have arrived my friend.

Brad Paisley straight up admitted that Carrie is doing one of her “legendary outfit changes” and I love that.

Garth and Tricia are singing a tribute medley. Watching the crowd react to each song introduced is really fun. Words to explain the way this audience is receiving the performance: giddy excitement, sentimental tears, true appreciation.

Oh snap, Carrie Underwood is looking SASSY singing Dirty Laundry. She literally is crushin it tonight.

Faith Hill is giving out the next award, for Album of the Year. Nominated: Black (Dierks Bentley), Hero (Maren Morris), Mr. Misunderstood (Eric Church), Ripcord (Keith Urban) anddddddd Storyteller (Carrie Underwood). Ok, I am WAY surprised. Eric Church is the winner! Mr. Misunderstood is a solid album though, so I’m happy with him. Eric mentioned that he presented his album last year at his performance at the CMAs and I totally remember that.

Little Big Town is singing their new song, Better Man. Fun fact, Taylor Swift wrote this song! Listen to the lyrics and you will believe it.

Miranda Lambert looks like she 100% knows what she’s doing. She’s singing Vice… acapella for the first several measures and completely on key. I actually love her very simple hairstyle.

Matthew McConaughey has taken the stage! (Alright alright alright!) He’s introducing Tim McGraw who is singing Humble And Kind.

Brad Paisley sang with the Oak Ridge Boys.. until commercial break… It was a nice moment of fame for them.

Cue the happy tears, Alan Jackson is singing Remember When. He looks completely authentic. Clips from CMA shows are being played overhead. Don’t mind me while I sob on my couch. George Straight has entered the stage and he’s singing Troubador, with Alan still on the stage too.

I have no clue who the couple is currently on the stage, announcing the next award. They did give the score to the World Series though (and I must admit I’m pulling for the Cubs, even though I’m a pretty serious Brewers fan). Vocal Duo of the Year goes to Brothers Osborne. I’m shocked because I was expecting Florida Georgia Line to win. Side note, turns out Brothers Osborne are brothers… 😉

Keith Urban is singing Blue Aint Your Color. The performance is very classic. I’ve noticed a theme of authentic, slow, serious songs tonight.

The award for the Vocal Group of the Year is up next.Awe, Little Big Town wins! I love them so I could back this any day.

The time is here. BEYONCE and the Dixie Chicks have taken the stage. They’re singing “Daddy Lessons.” Out loud, I meaningfully said in a confused tone, “I like this.” We have fiddles, a harmonica, your classic guitars and the Dixie Chicks harmonies. This dynamic girl-power collaboration is now singing “Long Time Gone.”  My roommates have really good opinions and they say this was the “best. collab. of the night.” They have some credibility and I have to say it was an unforgettable performance.

Kenny Chesney is receiving the third ever Pinnacle Award. I’m so happy for Kenny and proud of all he has done for country music. One of my favorite life moments thus far was watching Kenny perform live at Country Thunder several summers ago. KENNY, U DA MAN.

Thomas Rhett is singing “Die A Happy Man.” We have another heart-felt performance delivered by Thomas who already won an award tonight for this very song.

Chris Stapleton is performing “Seven Spanish Angels,” which I believe was by Ray Charles. I am remembering my complete confusion last year when he won so many awards. And here we are today with Chris as another household name in country music.

Luke Bryan has taken the stage, and he’s singing Move. I’m honestly thrilled to hear a party song as we have experienced a lot of the sweet-serious songs tonight. Luke Bryan will always come through for a good time.

Lee Greenwood is singing “I’m Proud To Be An American” with Brad and Carrie and absolutely everyone at the CMAs. I LOVE AMERICA, AND I LOVE COUNTRY MUSIC.

Florida Georgia Line is singing “May We All.” I’m looking for you, Tim McGraw. AND THERE HE IS! Tim has joined Tyler and Brian on the stage for the second half of the song, and I loved the solid performance.

Vince Gill is on the stage to present the Female Vocalist of the Year award. He also announced that the Cubs are up 6-3 and I’m gathering that a majority of the crowd is pulling for Chicago tonight. Carrie Underwood is tonight’s winner! I would like to personally congratulate Kacey, Maren, Kelsea and Miranda as they were also nominated for the award. All five of these women are doing amazing things for country music.

Eric Church is singing Kill A Word. Eric is an incredibly talented singer and I will always appreciate his work.

Dolly Parton is now being honored. She is definitely iconic. Jennifer Nettles and Pentatonix are performing Jolene. (CUE ALL THE EXCITED VIBES!!!!!!!!!!!!!). I. loved. their. performance. BOOM. REBA has entered the stage. She’s singing Dolly’s “9 to 5.” Now we have Kacey Musgraves singing “Here You Come.” Kacey is crushing this sweet performance and Dolly appears to be very pleased with the performance. Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride have joined the stage singing “I Will Always Love You.” (Carrie and Martina, would you pleaseeeee collab more often?!). Jennifer, Carrie, Martina, Kacey and Reba are all singing and I am shivering and have tears with all of the emotions. The performance was sweet, special, beautiful, and altogether lovely. The Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award is given to Dolly. “I would’ve cried but I didn’t want to mess up my eyelashes.” Gosh Dolly, some things just never change!

Sharon Stone has taken the stage to award the Male Vocalist of the Year. Nominees are Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Tim McGraw, Chris Stapleton, and Keith Urban. Our winner is Chris Stapleton.  Again, all five nominees are phenomenal, but since I never lie I will admit that Chris would not be in my top four preferences for this award. Nevertheless, Chris is WAY talented and he gave a very nice speech, so kudos to you my friend.

Now it’s Brad Paisley’s turn to perform. He’s wearing jeans and a cowboy hat, and he’s singing Today. Country history clips are being showed on screens behind Brad, which contributes to the sentimental touch of this year’s show.

Taylor Swift is back at the CMAs! She is presenting the award for Entertainer of the Year! Nominated: Garth, Keith Luke, Chris, Carrie. The 2016 Entertainer of the Year is awarded to Garth Brooks. Garth is our winner and he gave a very classy and heart-filled thank you acceptance speech.

Carrie, wearing a beautiful black dress, and Brad, wished our viewers a final good night.

The current score of the World Series is 6-6 so while the CMAs are over, American TV has more history to be made tonight! Goodnight all and thanks for reading the post!

Were you surprised by the performances and award winners? I’d love to hear in the comments.


Sing Along Cuz It’s One We Know!

I am super-stoked for all the concert opportunities in my summer’s future! Hopefully I will get to attend a few concerts, because that’s totally my thing.
Shout-outs to my current favorite songs on the radio:
  • Little Red Wagon (Miranda Lambert). Props to my concert-sister Kara for totally claiming this song even before it was famous (and I mean, you know it ain’t my fault when I’m walkin’ jaws droppin’ like oooh, ahh…).
  • Biscuits (Kacey Musgraves). Co-worker-pal Colleen gets the cred for this one as she found it first (OK she didn’t find it “first-first” but first to me.) Anyways, mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy. Can I get an AMEN!?
  • Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars). Is this considered a guilty pleasure? Stop! Wait a minute! I’m shamelessly infatuated with this one.
  • Drinking Class (Lee Brice). I feel like my #1 jam-buddy Allison is with me whenever I hear this song, even though we’ve never heard it together. Monday through Friday man we bust our backs; how could you not relate?!
  • Style (Taylor Swift). I think I’ll always be a Taylor Swift groupie, and who doesn’t love that red lip classic thing?
  • Sinking Deep (Hillsong Young & Free). We sang this one in church and it spoke a lot of truth in my life; you are my one desire…to know you all my life. Amen 🙂
  • Ain’t Worth The Whiskey (Cole Swindell). Is it just me or is this song #SupaCatchy? But don’t think for a second I’m out to drown your memory… YEAH.
  • Shoulders (For King & Country). Because the imagery is totally beautiful- you carry my sickness, my weakness, my brokenness all on YOUR shoulders.
  • Crushin It (Brad Paisley). Because Brad is making a comeback with this one; and because I’d love to hear, “you’re killin it dude” too.
  • Dear Future Husband (Meghan Trainor). And I thought this chick was gonna be a one-hit wonder! The song reminds me of something from Grease or Hairspray and I mean you know I’m never wrong. I can relate!

I Can’t Help It If You Look Like An Angel


The serious country music fans will appreciate this post. Remember Taylor Swift’s second album, Fearless (released in 2008, what?!)? Anyways, one of the songs on that album is “Hey Stephen,” which is written about Stephen Barker Liles, from Love and Theft.

My friend Victoria calls me a groupie, and I definitely have been “groupie-esque” since 2008 or before. So, to break down how a fan-girl’s mind works:

  1. Hears Taylor Swift’s album “Fearless”
  2. Investigates Love And Theft
  3. Purchases Love And Theft’s first album (in 2009, what?!)

The rest is history. I’ve literally loved Love and Theft for half a decade some time now. When my friend Kara discovered that this duo would be in Milwaukee, we bought our tickets.

The venue had a wheel you could spin to win prizes. I spun the wheel and landed on “mystery prize.” I was asked if I wanted to meet the band with my friends.

Um. Yes.

Actually, it went more like this:


Kara and Megan, my partners in crime for the night, got to meet the band too.

Turns out Stephen and Eric are both really nice (and married, shucks); we got to chat and take pictures, and I got a selfie with Stephen, and even though this happened half a month ago I am still on cloud nine about it.

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 10.10.15 AM

All those other girls, yeah they’re beautiful,
But would they blog a post for you?

Sam and Julia Did Not Go To Peru… But I Did


Some time has passed since I’ve wrote anything at all about my trip with Light and Leadership to Peru. Although this post is not about that trip, I’d love to sit down with any readers over a cup of coffee to talk about how my life was transformed thanks to that trip.

Today I’m here to talk about what happened a few days before that fabulous, life-changing trip.

The truth is, not much at all happened a few days before that fabulous, life-changing trip.

My very good friend Danielle and I were college freshmen at the time, and we were both a little homesick a lot of the time. We had just spent a few weeks in our Wisconsin homes with our families and then we had to go back to school post-Christmas break. Although we were excited for our Latin American adventure, we were both bitter that we had to arrive at school several days before the trip. For three hours each day leading up to the trip, we’d sit in a classroom and prepare academically for the trip, learning about Peruvian history and culture. The class was good and all, but that left some serious freetime. Here’s the quick math:

24 hours in a day MINUS 3 hours of class MINUS 5 hours of sleep (remember, college freshmen barely sleep) = 16 hours of free time each day for, like 4 days.

I should add that Danielle and I didn’t have cars. I don’t think either of us had jobs at the time, either… and any spare cash we did have was saved for our upcoming trip.

So, you ask, what did you do with all that free time?

Listen to band covers on YouTube. A LOT of band covers.

We discovered Sam DeArmond and Juila Sheer there; dare I say this was life altering. At least, musically-life altering.

Three years later, Sam is still making music- I just noticed he has a video for Say Something. Another all-time favorite by Sam includes A Little More You (uploaded five years ago though, wow) but it looks like he added quite a few songs I haven’t yet checked out (within the last two years, ha).

Now let’s talk about Julia Sheer. She is a hidden gem, people. If you don’t hate Taylor Swift, you will love her Taylor Swift Medley. Again, it seems as if she has added a whole bunch of newer songs within the last, well, three years.


And for real, I would gladly sit down and gush about Peru and LLI any time. Hit me up.


CMT Awards: My Review


Super cool way to start the show. You see Jason Aldean being lifted up a stage elevator. There’s smoke and a whole bunch of lights and Jason’s singing “American Woman” with Lenny Kravitz. A very original way to start the CMT Awards!


We’ve got an intro video. Jason Aldean drops (literally) into “Dr. Kristen Bell’s” office, and she’s leading group therapy. We’ve got Reba and Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan and…this is funny!


Aldean & Bell are looking good-I think Kristen Bell is growing on me.


Taylor Swift acknowledged. Who’s her date? Maybe her brother?


Carrie Underwood acknowledged, and she’s looking good with her husband Mike Fisher.


First award of the night presented by Kellie Pickler and Scotty McCreery. A joke is made about dancing. Scotty, “I just can’t dance.” I’m not a fan of Kellie’s dress but they do look good. Breakthrough Video of the Year is presented, and a lot of videos are good options. Florida Georgia Line wins with “Cruise.” I’m good with this. Other ones I liked “Why You Wanna” (Jana Kramer) and “Merry Go Round” (Kacey Musgraves). Lots of gratitude given by FGL-a nice acceptance speech.


Finalists for Video of the Year are announced and my vote is Blown Away (Carrie Underwood) or Mama’s Broken Heart (Miranda Lambert). Definitely not Taylor Swift for We Are Never Ever Back Together; that video is straight weird (#sorrynotsorry).


Miranda’s singing Mama’s Broken Heart live. She looks really good! I see she’s holding a pink microphone. Nice. I really like this song; I think she’s done better performances but I like the “bad girl” vibe she’s giving off—fits good with the song. Miranda laughs at the end of the song. Love her.


A live performace from Kacey Musgraves. She looks really cute in a jean jacket and shorts. She’s singing “Blowin’ Smoke” and rocking it with her American Flag tank top and blue boots. Like all of her songs, she makes this performance seem airy and effortless. She doesn’t seem nervous which is particularly impressive for a newbie like her. Sweet.


Kristen Bell is back up and this time with a black dress. She announced DOG AND BETH (whoever they are) and they’re introducing Performance of the Year. Miranda Lambert wins with “Over You.” She thanked Blake and the fans and I really appreciate how genuine Miranda can be.


Florida Georgia Line announced Darius Rucker, our next singer performing “Wagon Wheel.” Love it! Darius pops out of the crowd and begins singing—strongly—while walking down stairs and greeting a whole bunch of fans. His performance is simple but still really great. Everybody loves “Wagon Wheel” and he’s rockin it.


All of the sudden we’ve got an acapella sing-along of Wagon Wheel, led by Darius with Lady Antebellum. Whoa. Cool.


Hunter Hayes isn’t even at the awards but he’s performing “I Want Crazy” outside among a large crowd of teenage girls in colorful sunglasses. Not sure if I’m more intrigued by Hunter’s energy or the heart shaped “CRAZY” sunglasses all the fans are wearing.


Luke Bryan isn’t there either,  but he was announced as he ran onto a stage of his own in a basement-bar looking place. He’s singing to a small (and very lucky) crowd my current favorite of his songs, “Crash My Party.” You would think the silliest die-hard fans would’ve stayed back with Hunter Hayes, but these girls are lookin like pretty serious fans, too. (Let’s be real I’d act the same way if I were that lose to Luke. Or Hunter).



From the basement stage, Luke announces Taylor Swift who is performing RED at the main stage. I do believe Taylor is becoming a stronger singer every performance. She’s wearing an interesting red dress and there are specks of red all around the stage, including people dancing around the stage with red flags. The performance is honestly weird, but I think it sounds really good, so props to T-Swift for that.


A reminder for the audience to Tweet about the #CMTAwards. One girl apparently tweeted, “Hunter Hayes wants crazy; I just want him.” I’d retweet that.


Collaborative Video of the Year announced by Larry the Cable Guy. The winner was a no brainer- “The Only Way I Know” by Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Eric Church.


I LOVE The Band Perry. Kimberly is looking stunning in a red dress, and the brothers are fashionable too. They announced Keith Urban who is singing “Little Bit of Everything.” The camera just showed his wife, Nicole Kidman, singing along from the crowd. Keith is looking very traditional in a tan collared shirt and jeans. He’s a good performer for sure.


Jana Kramer is up with Deacon from Nashville! I wish I knew his real name but it’s cool J Jana and “Deacon” are announcing “Duo of the Year.” My vote is probably Love and Theft but I like all the choices. The winner goes to Florida Georgia Line. Two awards for FGL this concert, but I suppose they do deserve it (let’s be honest; they’re everybody’s summer jam this year). The guys say, “We’ve got the best fans in the freakin world, this is amazing.” They also thanked their mom “for believing in us” and made a joke about winning a lot like Taylor Swift, Hah.


I have no idea who these people are, announcing Lady Antebellum. Weird.


About Lady A though: cool performance of “Goodbye Town.” There’s a video on the screens and Charles, Dave, and Hilary are all disbursed around the stage for the first verse; they meet in the middle of the stage and continue to rock the crowd. I love this group but I always think they can use another female singer. And yes, I’m volunteering.


Lenny Kravitz is back on the stage to announce Female Video of the Year. My vote: Mama’s Broken Heart…and Miranda Lambert is the winner indeed! I thought this was another no-brainer. Her video was brilliant, hilarious…and competition was low in my humble opinion. Another genuine thanks from Miranda. “There wasn’t much acting unfortunately because I got to act crazy…the only unfortunate part was all the drinking was actually iced tea.” Ha!


Keith Urban announces “our friends Little Big Town” and I’m more excited than most. LBT is my favorite and they’re all clad in black, looking really good as always. They are singing The Chain. Not sure why they aren’t singing an original song but I’d rather hear this than “Your Side of the Bed.” Suddenly there’s a bunch more smoke and Keith Urban comes up from the middle of the stage. He’s literally tearing it up on his guitar. Kimberly played the piano for a little while, and Karen has a tambourine in hand.


Love and Theft is singing “Angel Eyes” on a side stage—I think they desrve main stage but it’s whatever. They look good and sound good too.


Group Video of the Year is up now and there are some really, really good ones. Lady Antebellum wins with “Downtown.” I do like that video, although I’d like to have seen Pontoon or even Takin’ Pills win. Lady A gave their acceptance speech and I’m so impressed that Hilary is even at the show tonight; she’s pregnant and due in a month. That’s dedication, folks.


Jason Aldean is playing “Night Train” now! He’s wearing a flannel (ish) shirt, jeans, and a cowboy hat. We’ve got fireworks, folks. Cool.


Best Male Video as announced by Miranda Lambert and my vote is for Blake (“Sure Be Cool If You Did”). Blake Shelton wins!  Blake couldn’t be at the show, so Miranda accepts the award, “Honey, I’m drinking for two tonight; I love you!”


Rascal Flatts announced Carrie Underwood singing See You Again, dedicated to Oklahoma. Carrie’s wearing a very pretty pale dress, and pictures on the screens show a devastated Oklahoma. A powerful performance is given, both in terms of Carrie’s phenomenal voice and the emotional message. Red Cross volunteers carrying children and makeshift crosses are shown on the large screens among piles of Oklahoma devastation.


We’ve got an entire choir on stage wearing white robes; this sounds beautiful. The song is over and you can see Carrie’s lips, “God bless you, Oklahoma.” I am moved by the appreciation among the entire crowd. The Red Cross logo is displayed on the screen…. and a tear in Carrie’s eye.


God Bless You, Oklahoma.


Sheryl Crow and Kenny Rodgers are about to announce the next award; they’re singing a few lines and the crowd is loving it. T-Swift, LBT and others are shown. The biggest award of the night is Video of the Year. Nominations: Carrie Underwood (Blown Away) FGL (Cruise) Jason Aldean (1994), Luke Bryan (Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye), Miranda Lambert (Mama’s Broken Heart) and T-Swift (We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together). Carrie Underwood wins! 


The show is closing out with “the song of the summer.” I’m glad I guessed it—Florida Goergia Line, Cruise.


The show was great, and that’s a wrap!

Tuesday Nighters Tribute Trailer


Today I am celebrating the birth and life of a very good friend. I’ve had some of my fondest memories with my friend Jilli, including a whole bunch of summer memories (specifically taking place on Tuesdays). I couldn’t be more pumped that your birthday fell on a Tuesdsay and I hope that 22 is a whole lot more magical than miserable (see what I did there).

Alliteration and allusion all in the same post… you’d think I was an English major (I do live with one so maybe that counts?!)

ACMs 2013


Wow, here’s  a beginning. I’m seeing Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, and [I know I missed] a bunch of others all starting out with a solid song.

Hosts introduced: Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton. They’re looking good in black button-downs and jeans. A joke about Luke’s skinny jeans. Luke makes a joke about Nashville. I’m already lovin this.

“The folks from Duck Dynasty” are also here for the show. A joke about Zac Brown. Clever.

Kenny Chesney is up! Looking classic as always in a red cutoff, jeans, and the famous cowboy hat. He’s singing Pirate Flag, and fans all around are waving mini pirate flags. Solid way to set the mood.

Brad Paisley, Dierks Bently, and Hunter Hayes. At the same time. Outstanding In Our Field is the song. I missed a wow factor, but still-good.

Cool stage setup for this next performance. George Strait is singing Give It All We Got Tonight. He’s great live and genuinely looks like he’s having a good time. I’m not George Strait’s #1 fan but he did a nice job. I’m feeling like a straight up critic here… just waiting be be wowed I guess.

Okay, now I’m happy: Eric Church is up. He looks different! No hat, no sunglasses. Is this a first? He’s singing She Loves Me Like Jesus Does. Don’t get me wrong, this sounds good. But something about the videography is kind of weird- it appears that Eric is in black and white, but then there’s a girl singing backup with a red dress in the background. Hm.

FLORIDA. GEORGIA. LINE. Energy has entered the stage with Cruise. I can see some nerves through this performance, but they’re still rockin.

Lady Antebellum has some cool lights set up for their performance of Downtown. Let’s take a moment to appreciate Hillary and the fact that she’s going to have a baby in two-ish months yet she just rocked a stellar performance. Kudos!

Vocal Duo of the Year nominees: Big&Rich (That’s why I pray) FGL (Cruise), Love & Theft, Sugarland (Stuck Like Glue), Thompson Square (If I Didn’t Have You). Thompson Square wins! I approve (though I hope FGL wins something). The couple is looking really classy and extremely excited.

Here’s Brantley Gilbert looking very authentic in a black t-shirt and baseball hat. He’s singing More Than Miles– a good performance.

I shouldn’t even be surprised right now: a black Cadillac drives onto the stage, and Carrie Underwood steps out singing her current single. Perfection is here- Carrie sounds good and looks phenomenal…now add two real cars, smoke, and an awesome backdrop and you’ve got Carrie’s performance. Woah.

Album of the Year nominations: Blown Away (Carrie Underwood-and yes that album has blown me away); Chief (Eric Church- solid choice); Red (Taylor Swift- duh); Tailgates & Tanlines (Luke Bryan-there are some solid singles on there); Tornado (Little Big Town-I LOVE THEM). Eric Church wins with Chief! Not my #1 choice, but not my last choice either. Way to go, Eric. Eric is halfway back to his normal look-he put on his aviators but no baseball hat. Eric Church is a one-of-a-kind and I am happy for him that he won.

Blake Shelton has taken center stage to perform Sure Be Cool If You Did. YAY. I like that he’s in the midst of the audience. I don’t like his shirt. You win some and you lose some.

Please welcome The Band Perry. I wish I was Kimberly. I love what this band offers- energy, youth, edge, beauty, style, class… I’m so into this performance of of Done.

Jana Kramer is singing Whiskey. My roommate is psyched about it…I don’t think I know this song. Jana’s wearing a pretty dress and sounding good.

We’re giving it up for Scotty McCreery and he’s looking adorable in his plaid tie and suit. I was expecting to hear him sing, but instead he introduced the New Artist of the Year nominees: Brantley Gilbert, Florida-Georgia Line, and Jana Kramer. I’m not surprised-FGL wins! And well deserved.

Who wouldn’t be excited right now to hear Jason Aldean sing 1994. We could all do without the background dancers… but it’s whatever.

Group of the Year nominees (and me realizing I LOVE COUNTRY GROUPS): The Band Perry, Eli Young Band, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Zac Brown Band. I’d be thrilled with any of these BUT AM COMPLETELY PUMPED THAT LITTLE BIG TOWN WON I LOVE THEM THEY’VE BEEN MY FAVE SINCE I SAW THEM AT MY COUNTY FAIR IN HIGH SCHOOL Ummm I’m so glad LBT won! And I’m still envious of Kimberly’s fantastic curly hair.

Miranda Lambert Mama’s Broken Heart Yes Please And Thank You. (Side note if you haven’t seen the music video, check it out because it’s fantastic). I’m loving the stage and Miranda’s ever-present sass. She tells it how it is.

Song of the Year nominations: A Woman Like You (Lee Brice); Even If It Breaks Your Heart (Eli Young Band) (I’m okay with this as long as we’re not referring to the music vid); Over You (Miranda Lambert)!!!; Springsteen (Eric Church); Wanted (Hunter Hayes). Our winner is Over You and well deserved. Blake and Miranda walked up together… love it.

Little Big Town is definitely among my favorite ever bands. I have to put that out there. However. I’m not sure what to even think about this vertically hanging bed during the performance of Your Side of the Bed. I’m actually not sold on the song itself, but this is definitely creative and a whole lot of weird. Beautiful, solid harmonies for sure. Hm.

Single Record of the Year goes to Miranda Lambert for Over You. Two awards for a well-deserved, very special song. Here come the tears. Genuine appreciation though. Nice.

The beautiful and classy Faith Hill joins the stage to announce Highway Don’t Care by Tim McGraw (“my ride home”-ha), Keith Urban, and Taylor Swift. I feel like Tim > Taylor; maybe it’s a sound thing? I’m a big fan of this song, though… so it’s all good.

John Mayer with Brad Paisley? Okay. I really am a critic. Not loving this.

Luke Bryan’s performance, happening now! He’s singing his newest, Crash My Party. I recently got the album but I’m not familiar with this song yet. I think Luke would melt my heart if he sung the proverbial phone book. Yeah I went there.

I don’t like this Kelly Clarkson song. But I will say she is looking really good and I’m relieved to see that she is out of her strange phase (for lack of a better explanation).

Shucks. I had to leave for a meeting and to take a quiz. What a bust! I hear that Luke Bryan won Entertainer of the Year, though, which is pretty great.

Altogether I enjoyed the show and I hope that this recap was at least somewhat entertaining!