OFFSTAGE: CMT Music Awards Rehearsals

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

There’s so much I cannot tell you about the CMT Music Awards rehearsals. Like, there’s this mash-up a band’s going to play with another band and it’s going to be unbelievable, complete with banjo. Then there’s another thing that’s going to happen outside the venue that will blow your mind. And then there’s one video that plays behind an artist (Kenny Chesney) that is so sexy it’s amazing CMT is able to televise it.

But those top secrets aside, I can tell you this: watching rehearsals never gets old. Yes, you are watching an artist sing the same song over and over until they get it right. But if that song is one you are crazy about, say Luke Bryan’s “Drunk on You,” then what’s not to love? Same with when you’re so close to the action that you notice that one of your favorite bands’ frontman (I’m talking to you Charles Kelley) is wearing underwear from The Ellen DeGeneres Show as they take the stage with a great band. Whatever. That’s another one I also can’t mention. And watching The Band Perry bring out a resonator mandolin and a new cowboy hat that make a familiar song feel new all over again? Loved that. Or counting Toby Keith’s beers right along with him while he sings about his memories from 1,452, 1,562, 1,652 and 1,653 beers ago, if I was counting correctly. And then you hear a brand new tune from Zac Brown Band and remember why you fell in love with country music in the first place.

Then there are the little things that happen backstage that have nothing to do with the show. Like how every time the announcer announces a winner’s name, Adele’s “Someone Like You” plays. Or how a compliment of Zac Brown’s Power Balance band led to him giving me the balance test. (It really works.) Or how, between practice runs of his own song, Bryan warmed up his vocals with Keith Whitley’s “I Wonder Do You Think of Me,” Brooks & Dunn “That Ain’t No Way to Go” and Reba McEntire’s “You Lie.”

Stay tuned for more details from Wednesday’s rehearsals.

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