If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. That was clearly the route the writers of the 48th annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards took Wednesday night.
Taking note from last year’s show, where returning CMA hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood took aim at the then-faulty Healthcare.gov website, nothing was off-limits this year.
Their target this time around? President Obama, again.
“I’ll be the first to say it: President Obama does not care about Postpartum Taylor Swift Disorder (PPTSD),” Paisley told his co-host Underwood of the new disorder they say swept the nation when Taylor Swift switched to pop from country.
“I’m pretty sure that’s why the Democrats lost the Senate,” Underwood told a cheering Nashville crowd, which was clearly celebrating the Republicans' win Tuesday night.
The heat quickly turned to the pregnant Underwood when Paisley suggested she name her unborn child Garth. No word yet if the 31-year-old is actually expecting a son with husband Mike Fisher or if it was just a bit for the show.
Underwood and Paisley also poked fun at the frenzy over actress Renee Zellweger’s changing looks. The co-hosts agreed not to talk about her because she might be in attendance without them knowing as she is “the master of disguise.”
In one of the more controversial jokes of the evening, Paisley apologized to viewers who were expecting a new episode of ABC’s comedy “Black-ish,” but instead found the CMAs on air. “In the meantime, I hope you’re all enjoying White-ish,” Paisley quipped.
The country crooners also put a timely spin on Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”
“Quarantine, quarantine, quarantine, quarantine. What part of stay inside don’t you understand?” they sang referring to nurse Kaci Hickox, who refused to be placed under a 21-day quarantine after returning to the United States from West Africa, where she was working with Ebola patients.
“I really hope she’s not a country fan,” Paisley noted.
The co-hosts also sang a song about the infamous celebrity nude photo hacking scandal to the tune of “Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash.
“I keep a close watch on that cloud of mine,” sang Paisley. “I take naked selfies all the time. I’m scared I’ll find they’ve leaked online.
“I think Blake Shelton’s got some of his bare behind,” continued Paisley. “There’s probably 50 shades of Florida Georgia Line.”
Jokes aside, the most anticipated performances at country music’s biggest night of the year were two collaborations with non-country artists.
Pop sensation Meghan Trainor took the stage with five-time female vocalist of the year winner Miranda Lambert to perform Trainor’s hit “All About That Bass.” While the platinum-haired singers gave a whole-hearted performance, the singers did nothing to add twang to Trainor’s pop tune.
The same went for Ariana Grande’s performance with vocal group of the year winners Little Big Town. After singing their hit “Day Drinking,” Grande joined the group on stage to perform her song “Bang Bang.”
There were several other standout performances, including a surprise duet between Kacey Musgraves and Loretta Lynn and later from Eric Church and George Strait.
Shelton and Lambert, country music’s reigning king and queen, each performed, although not together, and both went home with multiple awards -- including female and male vocalist of the year.
Vince Gill also went home with a huge honor: the singer was presented with the Irving Waugh Award of Excellence previously only given to Johnny Cash.
For the night’s most coveted award, Garth Brooks presented Luke Bryan with entertainer of the year.
“First of all, I’ve never met Garth. Hey Garth, can I hug you again?” an emotional Bryan said as he accepted his trophy. “Thank you God above…I have some angels in heaven, my brother and sister are up there making this night possible for me.”
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You can find Sasha Savitsky on Twitter @SashaFB.