Thursday, November 8, 2007

Chili and CMAs

Last night, just before I was about to ask Cody was we were having for dinner, my phone rang. Our dear friend Kayla was calling to ask if we wanted to come to her house to eat chili and watch the Country Music Association awards show with her and Jess. Cody said yes, assuming that the CMAs line was a joke. I somehow doubted it. I was correct in my doubts. I haven't watched the CMAs in forever because 1) I don't listen to that much country music anymore and 2) like the Grammys, the CMAs just aren't as much fun to watch as they used to be. At first I just assumed that it was because the magical appeal they once held for me as a child (Reba was one of of my fashion inspirations from ages 4 through 8--that's half a lifetime!). Then I realized it was because sitting alone in my tiny dormroom in college just doesn't always make for the most pleasant television-viewing experience. TV should be a family activity, or even a spectator sport. When I was little--and even when I was just living at home--we got pretty pumped up about the CMAs. You knew George Strait would perform, Reba McEntire's dress and hair would reach astounding proportions, and people would try to win the last award of the night, the much-coveted Entertainer of the Year award. I always knew that was a big one because artists were more likely to cry when they won it. I also remember how shocked I was the first time the Judds didn't win. I didn't know that could happen. When I was younger (okay, to this very day) whenever I would hear that line "till my trophies at last I lay down" from "The Old Rugged Cross," I always imagined the Judds in their awards show finery trying to make their way up Golgotha in high heels and laying their Entertainer of the Year awards at the foot of the cross. People who scoff at the importance of giving up all material possessions for Christ have probably never parted with something like that. It seemed like giving up a child or something to me at the time. Anyway, that era is gone. Today we have Toby Keith with his aggressive style of masculinity and redneckedness to the point of offensiveness and the Hallmark card-style of sentimentality dominating the airwaves and I haven't really bothered with the CMAs in quite a while. I'm glad I had such good company to watch it with.

It was kind of terrible. Taylor Swift (who? Exactly.) opened up. Somewhere inside of me, the last shred of childlike wonder reserved for things like fireworks and special television events tried to convince me that her sequined guitar was actually very pretty and awesome, but it really didn't work. This was the first song of the night song by some anonymous blonde with an exaggerated Southern accent singing about bad relationships doomed to misery like it's a good thing just because it's so common. All of these women would speak in a relatively normal voice, but once they sang, it was like they were belting out some kind of indecipherable twang. Thankfully, one thing about watching the CMAs had not changed: we were obsessed with what everyone was wearing. And their hair. And their make-up. All three were generally terrible. The make-up bordered on garish. It was as if these ladies had never had their colors done. (Granted, neither have I, and I know I seem like the least likely person to be a qualified judge of someone's make-up. But I am. And I have never put my face on national television, so my colors [or lack thereof] really don't matter now, do they?). One blessed exception was Reba. Why? Because Reba McEntire always does her own make-up. I don't know why I know that. Anyway, her face was wonderful, her hair was beautiful, and her dress was not too poofy, but definitely formal enough for such an occasion. One thing worried me, though: she was doing a duet with LeeAnn Rimes. It was wonderful and they sounded great. But Reba did a duet with Kelly Clarkson last year. Can she not do a whole song? Is her voice failing? I hope nothing every happens to Reba.

Other things about the CMAs:
  • After watching Big and Rich perform, and being almost blinded by Rich's sequin-covered microphone and stand, I felt bad for mocking Taylor Swift's guitar. I still felt okay with mocking everything else about her, though.
  • Alison Kraus was amazing, and should have made everyone cry. I actually think George Strait was a little weepy.
  • Dirks Bently should not have cut his hair. His flubbing of his lines and plea "Mel, help me out here" to Mel Tillis while he turned red was hilarious, though.
  • Kelly Pickler is a younger incarnation of Tanya Tucker. You might think she reminds of Lorrie Morgan, but you're wrong. Try to peel your aching eyeballs away from her platinum hair and watch the weird way she moves her head while she sings. Tanya Tucker.
  • The members of Rascal Flatts appear to have married Barbies. As we watched the three of them smiling blankly at nothing while their husbands gave an acceptance speech, I wondered out loud, "Do you think those are their first wives?" to which Jess and Kayla both shouted "NO."
  • Just like sports, when watching an awards show, you will have more fun if you shout your frustrations at the TV.
  • George Strait is still awesome. He dresses up. He just stands there and sings. He's still married to his first wife, even though she's not all that attractive. I must say, though, she seems to be aging 'well.'
  • I don't think anyone performing anymore is allowed to age. Scary.
  • I'm not a Porter Wagner fan, but he deserved more than Dwight Yokum's tearful and no-doubt sincere tribute. I realize the writers are striking, etc. etc. etc. but would have been so difficult for someone to put together a quick slide show of old pictures? It's just like PowerPoint. Sad.
  • Ronnie Dunn's hair will never change.
  • They need to make Vince Gill host that show forever. Even if he doesn't get played on the radio enough and he's blowing up like John Daly doesn't mean he can't be funny and charming and better than that hideous drivel people were forced to read off of the teleprompter.
  • Roger Sparks has a wonderful chili recipe and we're very fortunate that Kayla knows it.
  • Few things will ever amuse me more than watching Cody play with dogs.
  • I wish I could eat Fritos all the time.
  • I think Vince Gill is eating Fritos all the time.
  • Kenny Chesney looks like he stole my dad's business casual clothing. My dad is at least 6 inches taller than Kenny Chesney, who should really know better at this point than to wear a cowboy hat with loafers. Terrifying.
  • Dolly Parton was also one of my fashion heroes as a little girl. We must have made our mom so nervous when we wanting to emulate this women with their pounds of eyeshadow and gigantic hair. Our desire to wear sequins and sing were normal enough little-girl dreams, but I realize now that we probably looked a little weird singing all the words to most of Reba McEntire's entire catalogue from the 80s at the ages of 4 and 6.
  • I'm very happy chili weather is here.

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