HOT DISH: Country Artists Shine Brightly at Super Bowl

More News About Randy Travis, George Strait, Reba McEntire and Others

(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

My connection with Indianapolis is country music. For 16 years, I’ve kept the good fans informed via radio on who is doing what and where. Imagine my pride seeing fans in that city on television during Super Bowl XLVI.

It was sort of like seeing home. The Lucas Oil Stadium is in Indy, where Eli Manning and the New York Giants proved they still can! So can the Indianapolis 500. So can WFMS radio. And so can the marvelous fans who came and cheered until the Super Bowl was over. The game in Indianapolis had the largest television viewing audience in history.

When I go to Indy to work, I know I can count on the fans. And I’m sure all the performers at the Super Bowl left the city knowing they’d done a great show for an appreciative crowd. That’s Indy fans!

By now, the world knows that Super Bowl XLVI was the most-watched television show in history with 111.3 million viewers tuning in, that is, if I understood what NBC’s Brian Williams reported. When a man that handsome is giving me facts and figures, I cannot guarantee if he says millions or billions. Girls, you do understand, don’t you?

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am so proud of Faith Hill. Looking like a model, Faith altered lyrics of her Sunday Night Football song slightly to fit the big game. She never looked lovelier. With her long legs from here to yonder, she is still one of the finest-looking females in country music.

And what about Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert’s performance of “America the Beautiful” with their fingers entwined? They added a new dimension to the fact that Valentine’s Day is almost here. If you were not teary-eyed by the time our newest bride and groom finished their song, then you need to have your heart checked. (I’d hate to think you’re walking around dead!)

Giants coach Tom Coughlin sang along with Blake and Miranda. The Patriots coach just frowned and looked pissed-off. Miranda did say she thought Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was the most handsome, but I disagree. Giants quarterback Eli Manning is so handsome — much more handsome than Brady. Seeing Eli on The Late Show With David Letterman and knowing he was the MVP and had won his second Corvette, I was impressed when he sat there with no attitude, taking no credit for that perfect game. He was giving credit to his teammates. God bless that young man.

Kelly Clarkson’s version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was as good as I’ve ever heard. She said she was nervous, but she appeared to be in complete control while hitting all those high notes as she wowed that crowd. Kelly tweeted, “I’ve never been more nervous in my life than singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl.”

And The Voice, featuring Blake Shelton, also on NBC that night, earned the highest ratings of any entertainment telecast since 2006. Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles sang a new version of Hank Williams’ “Your Cheating Heart” that was used in a Pepsi ad during the Super Bowl telecast.

I won’t bore you with my negative views of Madonna’s performance. The truth of the matter is, I simply refused to watch her. I’d seen my people, and they did a fine job of representing Nashville and country music. I was humbly proud of each of them. I did not want to see some M.I.A. nitwit flashing her middle finger to the world. Maybe Madonna thinks that’s cute, but I don’t.

Thoughts About Randy Travis’ Arrest
After a night of watching the Super Bowl, Randy Travis and his girlfriend had an argument, he told police. After midnight , he was arrested outside the First Baptist Church in Sanger, Texas, with an open bottle of wine in his car seat and smelling of alcohol. He was arrested on a charge of suspicion of public intoxication.

He had alcohol problems before ex-wife Lib Hatcher brought him from North Carolina to Nashville and the Nashville Palace nightclub. I’m sorry to hear the problem has surfaced again.

In a statement to The Associated Press, Randy apologized “for what resulted following an evening of celebrating the Super Bowl” and says he’s “committed to being responsible and accountable.”

More News
George Strait became a granddad on Feb. 2 when son Bubba and his wife, Tamara, welcomed their first child. King George is still the best-looking man singing country music.

Reba McEntire’s new sitcom, Malibu Country, has been picked up by ABC. She plays a singer who moved to California with her mother and three children to revive her singing career after her rock ’n’ roll star husband cheats on her and spends all her money.

Keith Urban returned to the stage on Feb. 3 for the first time since undergoing vocal cord surgery a couple of months ago. The Grand Ole Opry show was the last performance at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium before the 61-year-old oak stage floor was replaced with new teak wood.

The night before Keith’s Opry appearance, Dierks Bentley performed before a filled house at the Ryman. At the show, a photo was taken of Dierks as he bent to his knees and kissed the old scratched, worn stage floor. I understood that kiss very well. Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Bill Monroe and other legends had left their footprints on that floor. Dierks is a fan of country music.

The Band Perry are excited about opening concerts for Brad Paisley. For the crowds? For the music? I’m sure that enters into the equation, but Reid Perry said, “Brad is known for going all out — serving high quality food like prime rib and crab legs.” And to think Brad wants me to serve him green beans!

Billy Ray Cyrus plans to release his memoir, Hillbilly Heart, as his chance to set the record straight. “I realize that over the years there have been some untruths and misconceptions about me, my music, my life, my family and our dreams,” he said. “I’m going to lay out the facts … even if it stings a little.”

Lady Antebellum will take their Own the Night tour to Europe for most of July.

Jake Owen is back on the road after breaking his collarbone while snowboarding. He had eight screws and a metal plate put in to repair his injury. After many doctor’s appointments and physical therapy sessions, Jake was ready to hit the stage before a full house at Cowboys Dancehall in Dallas.

I do love me some Kenny Chesney. He just earned platinum certification for “You and Tequila,” his duet with Grace Potter. And Kenny has nine ACM nominations. With more than 500,000 tickets sold, Kenny and Tim McGraw’s Brothers of the Sun tour is set to play weekend dates at stadiums this summer.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: [news id=”1679004″]Chicken Spaghetti.[/news]