After seeing the list of CMT’s 2013 Artists of the Year – Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Hunter Hayes, and Florida Georgia Line – we had to echo the thoughts of host Ron White at the top of Tuesday night’s show: “You couldn’t find one girl? There’s more sausage backstage than Jimmy Dean’s freezer.” But there’s no denying that the six men dominated country radio this year, and they had some seriously famous admirers on hand to prove it.
McGraw was the night’s first honoree, and after accepting his trophy from Dwight Yoakam, Lady Antebellum took the stage to perform his No. 1 hit “Highway Don’t Care,” with Hillary Scott taking over Taylor Swift’s vocals. Peter Frampton even made an appearance to handle the song’s guitar solo in place of Keith Urban. Watch the performance below:
Riding the momentum of their 2012 single “Cruise,” Florida Georgia Line have amassed three top-five songs this year, including the heartfelt rocker “Stay,” which the duo performed. They also accepted their Artist of the Year prize from their idols and collaborators Alabama.
The classic country crooners kept coming, with Travis Tritt joining Voice winner Cassadee Pope for Aldean’s “Night Train.” The pair’s styles (and keys) didn’t necessarily mesh throughout the song – not to mention the lyrics getting a little icky between the generationally separated singers – but it matched the tone of the night to team up old and new. Nashville star Hayden Panettiere presented Aldean with his trophy, his fourth straight Artist of the Year honor.
Hayes got some help from Train’s Pat Monahan on “I Want Crazy,” and they also teamed up for a little bit of “Hey Soul Sister.” Frampton returned to the stage to present Hayes with his AOY prize – an honor his fellow guitar player recognized by marveling, “Yeah, that just happened.”
Dierks Bentley toasted his “drinking buddy” Bryan, whose white teeth were blinding from the audience as he smiled for an hour and a half straight. Bentley kept the running joke of the night going, teasing Bryan that he would sing backward on stage so fans could get a better look at his assets. “I never intended my butt to get this much attention!” Bryan joked from the stage. He closed out the show singing the Commodores hit “Oh No” with Lionel Richie, before breaking into “All Night Long” and fiesta-ing right into the crowd.
While Blue Collar comedian Ron White was the night’s host, a different Ron stole the show: Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy. Ferrell was joined by Anchorman 2 co-stars Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, and David Koechner in a series of bits throughout the show, none funnier than when Ron wondered why he wasn’t chosen for the hosting gig: “Who orders White when you can have Burgundy?”
What did you think of the show, PopWatchers? If you could pick one female Entertainer of Year, who would it have been? I’ll get us started: My pick is definitely Kacey Musgraves.