Gone Country: 2012 CMT Music Awards
A weekly column about all things country.Posted by Melissa Daniels
Finally! The time has come! The 2012 CMT Music Awards are TONIGHT and I couldn’t be more excited. A few weeks back, I announced my pick for this year’s Video of the Year, but we were still a few weeks out from the award show. Seeing as tonight is the night, I thought I’d get down and dirty with all my picks for this year’s CMT Music Awards.
The CMTs differentiate itself from the CMAs (Country Music Association Awards) and the ACMs (Academy of Country Music Awards) in that it is a fan-voted award show honoring country music videos and live performances. The fact that the awards are fan-voted is something that has always drawn me to them. Sure the other country music awards shows are elegant and focus more on the musicality of the genre, but there’s something to be said about what the people want.
In an interview with CMT, Toby Keith tended to agree saying, “Having the beauty of the fans voting is the way that all awards shows should be. It should be up to the listener, not up to us. I’ve always said it’s really not up to us. We can only make music and create whatever our brand is doing and put it out. You’re successful because of the people who follow you and it should be up to them. It shouldn’t be up to a bunch of yay-hoos sitting around a desk.” Well said, my friend. Well said. I’ll Red Solo Cup cheers to that.
This year’s awards show will be hosted by singer Toby Keith and actress (and infamous sloth lover) Kristen Bell.
In order to give you my most accurate picks, I spent quite a bit of time watching all of the nominated videos. The difficult thing about making my selections has to do with differentiating my enjoyment of lyrics versus the music video content. There’s nothing more upsetting than watching a video that doesn’t match the images you picture in your head when you hear that record for the first time. But on the flip side, it’s quite rewarding to fall in love with a song and have the video exponentially rock your world when the artist and video director hit the nail right on the head. Nevertheless, I tried my darndest to make my selections based on the video, and not just the lyrical content of the songs.
Check out the list below of who I’d like to see take home some belt buckles in 2012:
VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Miranda Lambert “Over You”
Why this video: The songs in this category all have a special place in my heart. As I said before, the lyrics are what typically draw me into my love of country music, so watching each video, it was hard to pick my favorites out of the bunch. I’ve had a few “We Owned the Night” moments myself, so to see Lady Antebellum present a video that highlights those pivotal romantic instances, that regardless of outcome are held special in the memory bank, set them off as one of my first choices for VOY. Also at the top of my list is Blake Shelton‘s “God Gave Me You.” The video isn’t just about romantic love, which is what I pictured the first time I heard the song. Instead it focuses on all variations of relational love, how powerful that is. Miranda Lambert‘s “Over You” completely changed meaning for me when I first saw the video. Instead of seeing the video as a break-up song, it transformed into something much more powerful when it closes with Lambert viewing the headstone of her loved one. Typical “make-you-cry” country music video, but one that was beautifully shot! Simply because of the powerful message behind “Over You,” I’m choosing Lambert for the VOY belt buckle. It’s really a toss up though!
Full list of Nominees: Jason Aldean “Dirt Road Anthem”, Kenny Chesney feat. Grace Potter “You and Tequila”, Toby Keith “Red Solo Cup”, Lady Antebellum “We Owned the Night”, Miranda Lambert “Over You”, Brad Paisley w/ Carrie Underwood “Remind Me”, Rascal Flatts feat. Natasha Bedingfield “Easy”, Blake Shelton “God Gave Me You”, Taylor Swift feat. the Civil Wars “Safe & Sound”, Carrie Underwood “Good Girl”
DUO OF THE YEAR: The Civil Wars “Poison & Wine”
Why this video: I’m definitely not shy to say that The Civil Wars are easily some of the most talented voices in country music right now. More than anything, I’d like to see them win duo of the year, specifically for this reason. Their pure sound translated very well into their view for “Poison & Wine.” There is nothing more pure and raw about their voices, and the mellow translation into the music video was classic, simple, and understated. Absolute perfection in my mind. Montgomery Gentry‘s “Where I Come From” as well as “Glass” by Thompson Square are also close contenders.
Full list of Nominees: The Civil Wars “Poison & Wine”, Love and Theft “Angel Eyes”, Montgomery Gentry “Where I Come From”, Sugarland “Tonight”, Thompson Square “Glass,” Thompson Square “I Got You”
GROUP VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Lady Antebellum “We Owned the Night”
Why this video: For the same reasons outlined in the VOY, I think Lady A deserves the belt buckle for Group Video of the Year. The band does a great job taking a very literal approach to the lyrics of “We Owned the Night,” and I see that as being the strength behind this video. It’s a subtle retreat back to those nights we’ve personally experienced. Way to knock this one out of the park Lady A!
Full list of Nominees: The Band Perry “All Your Life”, Eli Young Band “Crazy Girl”, Lady Antebellum “We Owned the Night”, Pistol Annies “Hell on Heels”, Rascal Flatts “Banjo”, Zac Brown Band “Keep Me in Mind”
MALE VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Toby Keith “Red Solo Cup”
Why this video: For the sheer fact that I’m still astonished no one had written a song like this before, and because the video is the epitome of every college house party I’ve ever been to, my pick for Male Video of the Year is easily Toby Keith‘s “Red Solo Cup.” I definitely see Blake Shelton‘s “God Gave Me You” as a front contender in this category, but my vote goes to Toby!
Full list of Nominees: Jason Aldean “Dirt Road Anthem”, Luke Bryan “I Don’t Want This Night to End”, Eric Church “Drink in My Hand”, Toby Keith “Red Solo Cup”, Blake Shelton “God Gave Me You”, Keith Urban “Long Hot Summer”
FEMALE VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Miranda Lambert “Over You”
Why this video: As one of the more powerful videos to come out of this year’s nominees, Miranda Lambert‘s “Over You” takes the cake.
Full list of Nominees: Sara Evans “My Heart Can’t Tell You No”, Miranda Lambert “Over You”, Martina McBride “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”, Kelly Pickler “Tough”, Taylor Swift “Ours”, Carrie Underwood “Good Girl”
COLLABORATIVE VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Taylor Swift feat. The Civil Wars “Safe & Sound”
Why this video: I definitely have to be in the right state of mind for Taylor Swift‘s moody lyrics. Now don’t get me wrong, I definitely love me some Taylor, but of all her work (and let’s be honest… her catalog is insanely extensive), I’ve never heard her voice sound as pure as it does in “Safe & Sound.” As a collaboration with The Civil Wars, the threesome produced one of the most honest tracks, with a video that equally matches the eerie, sensitive, lullaby-esque feeling it delivers. As a whole package, “Safe & Sound” is it. Honorable mention is Kenny Chesney feat. Grace Potter with “You and Tequila.” Enough tequila can make anyone crazy…
Full list of Nominees: Kenny Chesney feat. Grace Potter “You and Tequila”, Brad Paisely w/ Carrie Underwood “Remind Me”, Rascal Flatts feat. Natasha Bedingfield “Easy”, Lionel Richie w/ Shania Twain “Endless Love”, Taylor Swift feat. The Civil Wars “Safe & Sound”, Zac Brown Band feat. Jimmy Buffett “Knee Deep”
USA WEEKEND BREAKTHROUGH VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Brantley Gilbert “Country Must Be Country Wide”
Why this video: Country pride… that’s what Brantley Gilbert‘s “Country Must Be Country Wide” is all about. Of all the nominees this year for the USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year, Gilbert delivers. Honorable mention goes to the Pistol Annies “Hell on Heels.”
Full list of Nominees: Lauren Alaina “Georgia Peaches”, Brantley Gilbert “Country Must Be Country Wide”, Hunter Hayes “Storm Warning”, Scotty McCreery “The Trouble With Girls”, Pistol Annies “Hell on Heels”, Thompson Square “I Got You”
NATIONWIDE IS ON YOUR SIDE AWARD: Thompson Square
Why this artist: The Nationwide award is given to a fan-voted opening act that is showing stardom power! I personally think it’s a toss up between Jake Owen and Thompson Square. Both have proved to be incredible powerhouses over the course of the last year, turning out single after single, but I’m going to have to give it to Thompson Square on this one. Although each of the nominees is showing incredible promise, Thompson Square really has hit the ground running!
Full list of Nominees: Eli Young Band, Brantley Gilbert, Jake Owen, Thompson Square