The 51st Annual Academy of Country Music Awards are now officially in the books, and overall, I thought it was a great show. I will say that I would love one year for both the ACM and the CMA to realize that we’re a pretty cool enough format on our own without having the “cool” Pop / Rock kids from across town coming over to help us out. But, I also understand trying to create as much buzz as possible.
But, there’s one thing I didn’t understand from last night at all. More importantly, this is a trend from the past few years that makes no sense at all. And, I felt compelled to write about it. Though I do need to issue this disclaimer before I go any further.
I love Miranda Lambert.
Seriously. I’ve seen her in concert several times, and have proclaimed her worth as a live performer as well as a recording artist many times over the years. She deserves each award she has gotten over the years, and has as much class as anyone in the industry. If you need proof of this, look how she handled herself on the CMA’s last year – just an hour after a certain statement was released about a certain couple. She’s pure gold in my book, and her track record on songs speaks for itself.
Lambert won two ACM Awards last night – one for her collaboration with Little Big Town, and the other for Female Vocalist of the Year. Again, I’m a fan. But, to be honest, this isn’t about Miranda Lambert winning as much as Carrie Underwood not being recognized.
Truth be told, I’m not just referring to last night. When she came out of the gate following American Idol, the award shows were quick to recognize her talents, as she won several trophies from the industry organizations before Lambert began her reign. But, since then, it’s been tough for her to even get nominated outside of the Female Vocalist category.
And, that’s just not right. If you look at her body of work the past few years, you will see that she has continued to record and perform at an even higher level than she did when she broke out. But, my big issue came with the release of “Something In The Water,” the first single from her Greatest Hits album. It spent seven weeks at the top of the singles chart – and did you see it even get a nomination for an ACM or a CMA? It was in the running for a Video award from the latter, but that was it. Now, it did win a Grammy Award – which is a different set of voters – and several fan-voted awards, but nothing from the industry. Not only was the song a huge hit, but it was the only performance from the 2014 CMA Awards that I still remember. She knocked it out of the ballpark – maybe the performance of her career.
Then, there’s the Storyteller album and tour. Personally, I think the album is the most varied of her career. The tour – which she is on now – might very well be her defining moment as an artist. Still, with all of this in her favor, she still gets ignored.
Those who disagree with me will point out that in the eyes of voters, the tour has just started – and the album might be too new. While I understand that, this has been a trend for such a long time that it needs to be brought up.
People might say that “Something In The Water” was too offensive with its’ Christian approach and theme. This is Country Music, for crying out loud. Music with a spiritual tone has always had a place in the format. I don’t recall Underwood taking out a Bible and beating it over anyone’s head during the run of the song. She simply walked the walk. The song simply deserved more attention than it got.
And, some will say that there’s still a little bit of anger / jealousy concerning the fact that Underwood got a huge lift from her stint on Idol. I have three words to those folks.
Get over it.
Underwood was a contestant and winner on that show in…2005. Take a look since then and see what other winners of American Idol have done since then. I will be the first to say that I’m not the biggest advocate of the boost that an Idol or The Voice winner gets over someone just as talented playing at The Stage on Broadway, but you know what? Carrie Underwood has more than earned her spot since then. If her talent wasn’t real, she would be long gone from America’s minds.
Whatever the industry has asked of Carrie Underwood, she has done repeatedly. Since joining the Opry a few years back, she’s been one newcomer to the show that actually plays it – instead of just showing up when she has an album to promote. Her Storyteller tour is an incredible revelation of her talent and charisma.
Again, this is not an indictment on Miranda Lambert’s win. I have voted for her several times over the past few years, and will likely do so again. She’s a fabulous artist, and an incredible entertainer. Though their fan bases may take this as a Miranda vs. Carrie argument, they shouldn’t. Comparing the two is pointless. They are two very different and talented artists.
I’m just saying that Carrie Underwood deserves better – and not just from the ACM or the CMA – but the industry as a whole. It’s just time – long past time – and not just in the Female Vocalist category.