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Home / Entertainment / Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert lead Battle Cry for women at CMT Artist Awards

Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert lead Battle Cry for women at CMT Artist Awards



Country Music Television has only brought women into the spotlight this year for its annual Artists of the Year awards, and the Wednesday evening's seven winners – including Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris and Kelsea Ballerini – left no-one behind The Question of Talent Today among Women in Country Music

In fact, the only question left was one evening with so many amazing performances: Why are not more women on country radio?

Undoubtedly there is a "woman problem" on radio waves, and CMT decided to boldly present the antidote in its live network broadcast from Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

As Underwood said when she accepted her award at the end of the evening, "I definitely want to say to all the incredible, amazing, talented women who were on this stage tonight, you're not here because you're women. You're here because you're in a good mood. "

  Carrie Underwood.

But as compelling as the performances were, the show turned out to be a protest and an impatient plea for parity, because it was a celebration of talent.

"I just want to say to the CMT, thank you, she's the one who turns the conversation into action tonight," Ballerini said in her acceptance.

When Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town, a recipient along with bandmate Kimberly Schlapman, accepted her award, she removed her cellphone. "It looks rude," she told the audience, "but it will not be."

Then she read the names of more than 30 young female artists, most of whom have no country charts yet. They were all there, sitting silently on both sides of the stage. Some wiped away tears when Fairchild and Schlapman stopped to shake some of their hands as they left the stage. Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman from Little Big Town. Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman from Little Big Town. "/>

Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town.

Rick Diamond / Getty Image

Video footage of the recipients, seen during an interlude during the evening, is aimed directly at radio stations.

"I do not know why they do not play women on the country radio," said Lambert.

"They say women do not want to hear women," Morris added. "I'll have to call BS because I grew up with women, so I'm here today."

"It's time," Ballerini agreed, waving an imaginary wand. "Trend change."

The performances also proved to be subversive at times. In her medley of hits by some of the country's female greats, Underwood has unambiguously staged Wyette's traditional "Stand By Your Man" and emphasized the word "only" in lyrics: "After all, he's just a man."

Morris and folk Rocker Brandi Carlile made their way in "Natural Woman" in honor of the late Aretha Franklin, but by singing together, they transformed Carole King's sensual lyrics into a testimony to the power of the Sisterhood.

  Brandi Carlile and Maren Morris. "Title =" Brandi Carlile and Maren Morris. "/>
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Brandi Carlile and Maren Morris

Rick Diamond / Getty Image

Do not believe that the message of the evening, especially for the men on stage, did not come home. Everyone was there to support the women in eulogies or songs.

Charles A. Kelley and Dave Haywood were amazed when their bandmate Hillary Scott appeared with pop artist Tori Kelly and presented the Lady A hit "American Honey." And Kelly's blockbuster "Never Alone." Kelly's Co Author, gospel artist Kirk Franklin, eventually joined the two women to transform into a euphoric "Oh Happy Day."

"I really hope Hillary does not start group called Lady and Lady because that was phenomenal, "Charles Kelley said before handing him and Haywood Scott their award." We are so happy to be with you in this band. We love you so much. I mean, that was proof of that. You are a bad ass. "

  Tori Kelly and Hillary Scott.

Tori Kelly and Hillary Scott

Al Wagners / Invision / AP / REX / Shutterstock

Little Big Town's Jimi Westbrook and Philip Sweet voiced similar reverence after Fairchild and Schlapman multiplied their vocal power with Motown Powerhouse Gladys Knight had. Together, the three women found resilience in two classic songs of despair: "I can not love you" and "Help me get through the night."

"Thanks to these two incredible women, Kimberly and Jimi Ms. Karen, we managed to live together and make music," Sweet said in his introduction, acknowledging the fact that Schlapman and Fairchild were the founders of the group were.

"I count that as a blessing we get to share the stage every night and make music with these two intelligent, strong, beautiful women," added Westbrook.

Ballerini and her duet partner, 27-time Grammy winner Alison Krauss, exercised their power over Krauss' classic "Ghost" In this house, "their voices mingle in haunting harmony.

RELATED VIDEO: Kelsea Ballerini opens up on her "naughty" new single "Miss Me More"

In her recognition, Ballerini accepts the support she receives from other men where she launched her career, from Shania Twain and Taylor Swift to Reba McEntire and "Alison-Freaking-Krauss."

"I think what I learned from that is how important it is to lift each other up to support each other and share our stage, no matter how big or how she is small, "said Ballerini.

  Kelsea Ballerini.

Kelsea Ballerini

Al Wagner / Invision / AP / REX / Shutterstock

Unfortunately, the only disappointment of the evening was the absence of country legend Loretta Lynn, who received the CMT Artist of a Lifetime Award. The 86-year-old icon is still in poor health after a stroke and a hip fracture in the last 18 months, but the strength of her career is still over the evening.

RELATED: Loretta Lynn, 86, Opened from Her Stroke and Fall: "I Did not Want It to Stop Me"

"She paved the way and showed us how to do it "lifelong fan Miranda Lambert said in her introduction to the Lynn musical tribute that featured Martina McBride, Sheryl Crow and Dierks Bentley. "She showed us how we can pursue our dreams and speak our thoughts."

It was fitting that Sissy Spacek, who received an Academy Award for best actress for Lynn in "Coal Miner's Daughter", her friend and her idol accepted the prize

"I loved Loretta in Coal Miner's Daughter to play, "said Spacek. "I just loved being around them, I had the band, I had the bus, I had the clothes, but I think we can all agree that there is only one Loretta Lynn."

  Sissy Spacek .

Sissy Spacek

Al Wagner / Invision / AP / REX / Shutterstock

Spacek said she visited Lynn earlier in the day, "and she was so excited about the award."

"From the moment we met, she was my cheerleader" – an emotional Spacek paused to gather – "my sister, my best friend, and that's still true almost 40 years later It's an honor for me to accept their prize. "

These words brought the audience to a lingering applause, but Spacek was not finished yet.

"Well done, Loretta, well done," she added Back to the theme of the evening: "I think Loretta said it best, & # 39; It's about Dadgum time, we've recognized women. & # 39; "


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