CMAs Wanted “No Drama” Tonight But There Is Already So Much Drama

John Shearer/Getty Images

CMAs Wanted “No Drama” Tonight But There Is Already So Much Drama

John Shearer/Getty Images

The Country Music Association Awards are tonight. And unlike most award shows, which have had virtual ceremonies this year, the CMAs are happening live and in-person at Nashville’s Music City Center. “No drama, just music,” the Country Music Association tweeted last week. “It’s been a year, y’all. But for three hours next Wednesday on ABC, this is a no-drama zone.” How wrong they were!

That tweet itself caused drama, as Vulture points out, with people like Margo Price criticizing the Country Music Association for encouraging artists to stay apolitical. “once again, the CMA’s are censoring/white washing their show but who’s surprised?” she tweeted in response. “anyone still participating is a socially unconscious pawn. artists pander woke authenticity when it benefits them and then sit in silence as they collect their plastic trophies. also the music sucks.”

And that’s before we even get into the fact that, you know, it might not be the best idea to have an in-person award show right as coronavirus cases are spiking again. Lee Brice and Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard both pulled out of the event after testing positive for COVID-19. (There were also rumors of Florida George Line breaking up over politics yesterday after Hubbard, aka Georgia, briefly unfollowed Brian Kelley, aka Florida, on social media. Hubbard has publicly criticized Trump, while Kelley has criticized Biden.)

Lee Brice, who was supposed to duet with Carly Pearce during the show, was replaced by Charles Kelley of the famously drama-averse trio Lady A (all the lawsuits aside). Except Kelley and the rest of Lady A also ended up pulling out at the last minute after one of their immediate family members tested positive for COVID. (Kelley had already taped his duet with Carly Pearce, at least.)

Fiddler Jenee Fleenor, the CMA’s 2019 Musician Of The Year, was going to perform in a tribute to Charlie Daniels tonight. But that’s not happening, as she announced just prior to the show that she had tested positive for COVID-19. And Rascal Flatts, who were going to play “Bless The Broken Road,” also dropped out after one of their members tested positive for COVID. Quick, does anyone know where RMR is?

Garth Brooks pulled out too, although that was by choice and not related to COVID. Brooks announced earlier this year that he was taking himself out of consideration for the Entertainer Of The Year category — because he always wins. Brooks has won the award seven times total, including three of the last four years (and probably the only reason he didn’t win in 2018 was because he wasn’t nominated). “It’s time for somebody else to hold that award,” he said.

It’s not only artists who are pulling out, either. The entire Associated Press decided to pull their coverage after the CMA placed restrictions on their access, refusing to allow them to take photographs or use screenshots of the broadcast. “The AP covers award shows as news events and we must be able to assure the public that the information they are receiving from us is accurate,” said Anthony McCartney, the AP’s global entertainment editor. “By denying independent news organizations, including AP, access to take images of a publicly broadcast event, the CMA Awards is infringing upon the news media’s ability to tell the full story of the event.”

And what a story it is!

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