The stars of country music hit the red carpet outside Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for the 45th annual CMA Awards, broadcasting live on ABC on Wednesday, Nov. 9. On the carpet, the evening's two dominant themes seemed to be "blondes in white gowns" (Taylor Swift, Kellie Pickler, LeAnn Rimes, Kimberly Perry) and "dudes you wouldn't expect to see at a country awards show" (Lionel Richie, John Oates, Glenn Beck).
Early in the evening, it seemed like this year's CMAs would be all about introducing country's next generation. Relative newcomers like Jason Aldean, the Band Perry and Lady Antebellum won most of the early awards, and the CMAs gave plenty of stage time to fresh faces like Thompson Square, Eric Church and "American Idol" winner Scotty McCreery. But in the end, the big awards went to familiar names: Taylor Swift (Entertainer of the Year), Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert (Male and Female Vocalist of the Year), Sugarland (their fifth consecutive Vocal Duo of the Year award—they're the "Mad Men" of the CMAs!).
As far as the performances went, most of the show's memorable moments involved non-country artists joining forces with Nashville veterans: Kenny Loggins and Blake Shelton, Natasha Bedingfield and Rascal Flatts, Gregg Allman and the Zac Brown Band, Grace Potter and Kenny Chesney, Lionel Richie and half of Nashville (at least that's what it felt like). But nothing topped a rousing Glen Campbell tribute featuring Vince Gill, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley. Sometimes, the old classics ("Wichita Lineman"!) are still the best.
Follow @metromix on Twitter for the latest in movies, music and TV