(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)
It’s virtually impossible to put the CMT Music Awards ’ backstage energy into one word. But if I had to, I’d say, chaos. But like a blessed, thrilling, spirited, glamorous kind of chaos — the kind where all the guys from Journey walk by you one minute, then you turn around and Brad Paisley’s dad is giving you parenting tips. And bless those fine folks at Southern Living magazine who were in the green room handing out jars of CMTea, which is a blend of Jack Daniels, sweet tea, lime juice and ginger beer.
Here are some of the star-studded moments that made my night:
I asked Mike Fisher, Carrie Underwood’s husband, what his favorite video was. He hesitated, like a good husband saying he loved them all, he but ultimately decided on “Temporary Home.” “Just because of the meaning it has,” he told me. “But the next one’s she’s got coming is really great, too.”
Remember when Miranda Lambert tweeted about loving this new artist Rachel Holder? Well, when we were backstage, Holder asked me to introduce her to Lambert. Which I did. There was hugging, picture taking and maybe even some tears, and I felt good to be a part of that.
I told Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley that I loved how his white Ellen DeGeneres underwear were showing during his rehearsals on Tuesday (June 5), and he said, “I’ve got more on tonight. See? I’ve got like a hundred pairs that she sent me,” he said, revealing his black ones.
Before he went onstage to present the big award of the night, I had a chance to tell Alan Jackson how much I’m loving his new album. I also admitted I’d been a fan for a very long time. “How long?” he asked me. “Well, I sang my babies to sleep with ’Buicks to the Moon,'” I admitted. “God, you are a big fan. I loved that song, too,” he said and started to sing me a little bit of it.
I’ve noticed that usually at these events it’s the stars who are in awe of the country singers. But when the always-gorgeous Denise Richards walked into the green room? Everybody stopped. Big Kenny of Big & Rich couldn’t resist asking her if they could get a picture together, even asking Richards’ makeup artist to take a bunch of shots just to get it right.
Doug Paisley, Brad’s father, gave me some solid advice about raising kids. “Be consistent. Stand your ground. It’s what we did with Brad, and I see him doing it with his boys now,” he told me. “They may fight you on things, but that’s OK.”