OFFSTAGE: American Music Awards — Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum Are Winners

I can think of about 20 artists I’d put on the favorite country male artist list. And maybe, if you held a gun to my head, I could narrow it down to five or six. But why does the American Music Awards have such super-short lists of nominees for all the categories? Only three names made the cut? (Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan for country male artist, then Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood for favorite country female artist, respectively. Swift won that one. And in the country category for band, duo or group, Lady Antebellum beat out the Zac Brown Band and Rascal Flatts.) So when Paisley won over Aldean and Bryan, it was kind of a no-brainer. He’s been at this much longer. But I wonder if the country artists take the AMAs as seriously as award shows dedicated strictly to country music. In his acceptance speech Sunday night (Nov. 21), Paisley said, “Well, I wanna thank all the country music fans. Thank you for the absolutely best year of my life. And my mother and father who I’ve yet to thank at an awards show.” He was sincere as he always is, but his speech wasn’t quite as emotional as it was when he received his entertainer of the year trophy at the CMA Awards earlier this month. There were no man-tears Sunday night — no stories about his grandfather and no weepy thanks to the loyalty of country fans. So maybe the AMAs are no CMAs. Unless you’re Michael Buble, who summed up his feelings with a simple, “God, I love winning things.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.