HOT DISH: Blake Shelton’s Hotness Was Great Way to Open CMA Awards

More News About Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Brad Paisley and Other Country Stars

(CMT Hot Dish is a weekly feature written by veteran columnist Hazel Smith. Author of the cookbook, Hazel’s Hot Dish: Cookin’ With Country Stars, she also hosts CMT’s Southern Fried Flicks With Hazel Smith and shares her recipes at

Blake Shelton is so hot, he’d melt a poker. Part of the reason he’s so hot is he’s so smart, and he proved it again Wednesday (Nov. 9) when he opened the CMA Awards show in Nashville.

Blake performs the title song on the film soundtrack for the recently-released remake of Footloose. Kenny Loggins sang the song in the original 1984 version of the film, so Blake invited Loggins to perform it with him at the CMA Awards. When they opened the show with that song, I found that to be so totally cool, it’s hot!

Plenty has been written about the awards show, so I won’t dwell on that. I congratulate all of the winners and agreed with most of the nominations. But I still have to tell the fine folks at CMA that Kenny Chesney should have been nominated in the entertainer of the year category. In addition to all the amphitheaters he played this year, he sold out several major football stadiums. Shouldn’t that count for something?

The CMA owes it to the fans of country music to include a man like Kenny with the rest of the best. Count the concert seats he filled. Those fans would agree that he deserved to be nominated.

ASCAP Honors Its Songwriters
While the CMA Awards attracted a national TV viewership, other awards presentations took place, as usual, in Nashville as part of the CMA Week festivities. The events were hosted by ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, the three major performing rights societies which collect and distribute performance royalties to songwriters and music publishers.

Ben Hayslip was ASCAP’s songwriter of the year for writing or co-writing several of the most-performed songs from April 2010-March 2011 — Blake Shelton’s “All About Tonight,” Josh Turner’s “All Over Me,” Rodney Atkins“Farmer’s Daughter” and Joe Nichols“Gimmie That Girl” and “The Shape I’m In.”

Brad Paisley was honored a second time with ASCAP’s songwriter-artist of the year award. He wrote three of the most performed songs — “Anything Like Me,” “This Is Country Music” and “Water.”

Paisley’s publishing company, Sea Gayle Music, was named ASCAP’s country publisher of the year for the second time. Paisley and publishing partners Chris DuBois and Frank Rogers accepted the award.

Allen Shamblin picked up the organization’s song of the year prize for co-writing the Miranda Lambert smash, “The House That Built Me.”

Don Williams was honored with ASCAP’s Golden Note Award and was serenaded by Keith Urban, Little Big Town and Lee Ann Womack.

BMI Celebrates Big Year in Song
Ben Hayslip’s success at the ASCAP awards carried over to two of his frequent co-writers — fellow Peach Pickers Dallas Davidson and Rhett Akins — who were named BMI’s songwriters of the year for each having five songs each that reached the top of the country charts. At BMI, Davidson and Akins contributed five songs to the year’s most-performed list, including four they co-wrote together: “All About Tonight,” “All Over Me,” “Gimmie That Girl” and “The Shape I’m In” (Joe Nichols). Individually, Akins’ “Farmer’s Daughter” (Rodney Atkins) and Davidson’s “Rain Is a Good Thing” (Luke Bryan) also made the list.

“All Over Me” was named BMI’s song of the year, now named the Frances W. Preston song of the year in honor of the organization’s former president and CEO.

BMI’s star-studded event attracted the cream of the country crop. In the room were Taylor Swift, Keith Urban and his beautiful actress wife Nicole Kidman, Terry Bradshaw and CBS-TV’s Bob Schieffer, along with Carrie Underwood, Big Kenny, John Oates, Sam Bush, Miranda Lambert and her Pistol Annies bandmates and husband Blake Shelton.

Kenny Chesney was there, too, dressed in black. (I hear Kenny and longtime best friend Tim McGraw will be co-headlining a tour next year.) Others in the room included Chris Young, Billy Currington and the multi-talented and marvelous Bobby Braddock, who was presented BMI’s Icon Award. I wish you could see the list of classic song titles that Bobby Braddock has written.

The publishing company Braddock has been with for 47 years, Sony ATV, picked up BMI’s publisher of the year award for the 10th consecutive year.

Lady A’s Hillary Scott Wins at SESAC Awards
For the second straight year, Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott was named SESAC’s country songwriter of the year.

Scott co-wrote three of Lady A’s singles from the past year or so — “Just a Kiss,” “Need You Now” and “Our Kind of Love” — with bandmates Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood. Her fourth award — and perhaps the one she was proudest of — was for co-writing the Sara Evans smash, “A Little Bit Stronger.”

SESAC gave a donation in Scott’s name to the myLIFEspeaks charity in support of its missionary work in Haiti, where she’s made several trips to help earthquake victims.

The other big winner at SESAC was Anthony Smith who was presented the song of the year award for writing “Tomorrow,” recorded by Chris Young.

More News
While other country music stars were out and about in Nashville during CMA Week, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood were working in Haiti. No, they weren’t performing a concert. They were pitching in during Habitat for Humanity’s 28th annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project to help earthquake-affected families.

The Band Perry sing with Justin Bieber on “Home This Christmas,” a track from his new Christmas album, Under the Mistletoe, which debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart.

The marvelous James Otto is filling Joshua Scott Jones’ spot in Steel Magnolia, joining Meghan Linsey for tour dates while Jones is in rehab for alcohol and substance abuse. They are opening concerts for Reba.

When Justin Moore’s song “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” was chosen by ICM Faith, Family and Country Music Awards for mainstream inspirational song, he said, “I’m a Christian, and growing up where I did, it was a huge part of my life and on the top of the priority list.” Hang in there, Justin!

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: [news id=”1674249″]Barbecue Meatballs.[/news]