There were some big surprises at last night's Academy of Country Music Awards Show. A lot of the pre-show hype was about the Rihanna/Jennifer Nettles duet of Rihanna's "California King Bed", although Rihanna's performance ended up being subdued at best. Maybe she was a little timid, wondering how she'd be received by a country music audience, but she had nothing to worry about. She was as fantastic as ever, and she proved that her talent translates into almost any genre of music.
The big surprise of the night was a rocked-out Carrie Underwood, who took the stage in pink hair streaks, no less, and was joined by rocker Steven Tyler. Underwood and Tyler combined their ample talents on Underwood's "Undo It", followed by a rousing version of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way". Tyler was as great as ever, and surprisingly, Underwood held her own. This morning, most of the t.v. and music critics are giving her rave reviews.
We loved the addition of people like Rihanna and Tyler at the big country show, the only question we have is "Why?". Country music has come under increasing criticism in the past few years for "selling out", and trending too much toward mainstream pop music, losing the traditional flavor of country music along the way. (Taylor Swift won the coveted Entertainer of the Year Award, and she's yet to sing a song that's really "country".) Of course, becoming more "pop-ish" will sell more records, but is the music really "country music" any longer? We're guessing Mother Maybelle Carter is probably turning over in her grave.