I think that the CMA Awards shows have become a reliable source of entertainment, even for those who don't fully appreciate country music.  Again this year there were great performances, funny bits from Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, and genuine gratitude from the winners.  I thought Taylor Swift singing in a laid back, intimate style was a nice surprise.  I also enjoyed Keith Urban, Jason Aldean and Miranda.  It was a fun touch to have Kenny Loggins join Blake Shelton to kick off the show with 'Footloose'.

I thought I would share an early review from Entertainment Weekly magazine as I find it interesting what those outside of the country music industry think of country productions.  Did you watch the show?  What were your favorite parts?  Enjoy this review!

The 45th Country Music Association Awards have turned into one of the most dependably entertaining awards shows of any sort on television. Wednesday night’s host-combination of Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood have become a comfortable comedy team. When they began the evening with jokes about Hank Williams, Jr.’s perceived Obama/Hitler comparison — the Fox News appearance that got him punted out of prime-time football — and Hank himself joined them onstage, the trio got a standing ovation of hearty laughs. Herman Cain, take note: That’s one way to defuse a scandal.

The CMAs commenced with the show and ABC taking full advantage of what is probably NBC’s biggest star right now, The Voice‘s Blake Shelton, who was joined by Kenny Loggins for a smoke-and-dancers “Footloose” production number. (Shelton went on to win the Male Vocal award, a popularity-consensus win that provoked thanks from Shelton to “all you freakin’ crazy people” in the audience. Gotta like Blake.) The night was studded with pop stars smuggling themselves into the rich commercial field that is country music these days. Lionel Richie performed some of his biggest hits with Little Big Town, Darius Rucker, and Rascal Flatts, with a plug for Richie’s “new country album coming soon!”

In another genre-crossing team-up, the Flatts boys were joined by Natasha Bedingfield, who wore a skirt that appeared to be made of approximately 42 hotel bathrobes.

Other pairings: the Zac Brown Band singing “Georgia” with Gregg Allman (the former needed to remove that damn knit cap glued to his head — his voice veered flat at a key moment), and Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter singing acoustically, in lovely harmony. (It’s beginning to seem bafflingly impossible that Potter isn’t a bigger star, isn’t it?)

A lot of the music had a rock raucousness, a style Eric Church and Keith Urban (in separate performances) handled particularly well. But when it came to singing solo, accompanying herself on guitar, Taylor Swift’s performance of “Ours” achieved an effortless intimacy that reminded you all over again why she’s such a big star — and why her loss to Jason Aldean in the Best Album category came as one of the night’s bigger upsets. But Swift won the night’s biggest, Entertainer of the Year, and it was undeniably deserved.