CMA Awards 2011: Taylor Swift big winner at country music awards, Lionel Richie goes country at CMAs

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comNovember 9, 2011 

Taylor Swift was named entertainer of the year at the 2011 CMA Awards, a night that featured performances by acts ranging from The Band Perry to Lionel Richie.

Yes, you read that correctly. Lionel Richie is apparently a country singer. True, he'll soon release a country duets album. But still...really?!? He sounds fine, but I don't know if I could ever handle a fiddle version of "All Night Long." OK, that might actually be kind of cool.

Welcome to country music, Lionel!

Hosted by Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, the show aired live from Nashville on Wednesday night. In addition to Taylor Swift, winners included The Band Perry, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and more. Here's a full recap of the ceremony.

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8:00 - The show opens with Blake Shelton's performance of "Footloose." Kenny Loggins joins him on stage. Hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley take the stage and sing a cute song about Hank Williams Jr. They say they miss his song on football nights, but you can't compare the President to Hitler. And then...Hank comes on stage! They have a pleasant little banter.

8:11 - Single of the Year goes to The Band Perry for "If I Die Young."

8:16 - Keith Urban performs "You Gonna Fly."

8:21 - Sara Evans performs "A Little Bit Stronger." I love you, Sara! I interviewed her a couple years ago and she's one of my favorite interviews of all time.

8:29 - Miranda Lambert sings "Baggage Claim." She's another incredibly nice celebrity. I love this song and the amazing pyrotechnics on stage. OK, maybe "amazing" is an overstatement.

8:33 - Song of the Year goes to The Band Perry for "If I Die Young." Readers: Do you like this song? It seems very much like a "love it or hate it" tune.

8:34 - Zac Brown Band sings "Georgia On My Mind." Gregg Allman joins them on stage. Random, but overall a pretty strong performance.

8:42 - Rascal Flatts and Natasha Bedingfield sing "Easy." I'm guessing you have something to say about Natasha Bedingfield's skirt. It's a strange ruffled contraption that viewers will likely either love or hate. Much like "If I Die Young."

8:45 - Vocal Duo of the Year goes to Sugarland. Um, obvious choice.

8:48 - Eric Church sings "Drink In My Hand," Thompson Square sings "Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not," Chris Young sings "Voices."

8:58 - Taylor Swift is on stage! She sings "Ours." I'm making that little heart symbol with my hands at home. KIDDING. Maybe not.

9:05 - Luke Bryan sings "Country Girl (Shake It For Me)." This song is so wrong, but so right. I love it. Nice pyrotechnics, too.

9:13 - Miss Piggy is on stage! Anyone else excited about the new "Muppets" movie? Yikes, Brad just groped Miss Piggy.

9:15 - Lady Antebellum sings "We Owned The Night."

9:19 - Album of the Year goes to Jason Aldean for "My Kinda Party." Woo hoo! Way to keep Macon, Ga., on the map!

9:21 - Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter perform "You and Tequila."

9:31 - Little Jimmy Dickens is on stage. Dressed as Justin Bieber. I'll leave it at that.

9:32 - Little Big Town teams with Lionel Richie to sing "Deep River Woman." Yes, Lionel Richie is now apparently a country singer. Little Big Town leaves the stage and Lionel duets with Darius Rucker for "Stuck On You." Then, Lionel pairs with Rascal Flatts for "Dancing on the Ceiling." Please comment, because I'm a little speechless right now. Make no mistake: He still sounds great. I'm just still processing the genre switch. Give me a little time.

9:45 - The Band Perry performs "All Your Life."

9:49 - LeAnn Rimes is in the house! Awkward.

9:50 - Vocal Group of the Year goes to Lady Antebellum.

9:51 - Sugarland and Matt Nathanson sing "Run." An especially good performance.

10:00 - Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood perform "Remind Me." I love this song.

10:05 - "American Idol" runner-up Lauren Alaina is in the house! Woo hoo!

10:06 - New Artist of the Year goes to The Band Perry.

10:07 - "American Idol" winner Scotty McCreery sings "Walk in the Country." Glad to see that his wacky facial expressions are still intact.

10:13 - Jason Aldean performs "Tattoos On This Town."

10:18 - Male Vocalist of the Year goes to Blake Shelton.

10:20 - Martina McBride sings "I'm Gonna Love You Through It." So inspirational.

10:30 - Glen Campbell tribute! Brad Paisley, Vince Gill and Keith Urban perform a medley of songs. Glen Campbell takes the stage at the end of the performance. Campbell announced earlier this year that he has Alzheimer's disease.

10:41 - Faith Hill performs "Come Home." This is Faith's first CMA appearance in five years. Hmm...I wonder why. Oh yeah, this might explain it.

10:47 - Female Vocalist of the Year goes to Miranda Lambert. I'm so happy...mainly because I thought it would be really awkward if Blake won an award and his wife didn't.

10:55 - Entertainer of the Year goes to Taylor Swift.

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