I always have so many questions after watching a three-hour awards show. And fortunately, after this year’s CMA Awards, I have finally found some answers.
Country Aircheck, the Nashville-based industry publication and website, had the chance to talk with Robert Deaton, the CMA Awards show’s executive producer all about what goes into each decision for a show that extensive. They came right out and asked him about Eric Church’s budget for pyrotechnics during his intense performance of his new single, “The Outsiders.”
“I don’t even know,” Deaton said. “I can’t remember at this point. I’m sure it was expensive. This has been one of my favorite years with music. I don’t feel like there was anything that would be slow or out of place. Eric Church tore everything up.”
There was so much smoke and so much fire that if I’d been in the arena during that song, I might have been looking around for the nearest emergency exit.
“For the three hours, this was probably one of our best shows musically I can remember in the last five or six years,” Deaton said. “It represented the best of what we are.”
Deaton was also asked about Kacey Musgraves’ performance of her new single “Follow Your Arrow” — specifically, the censoring that went on during the lyric about rolling up a joint.
He said he knew they’d be omitting that one little word.
“That is a broadcast standards and practices issue for ABC,” he explained. “They told me she couldn’t say that line. I went to her manager Jason Owen, who said she didn’t want to change the lyric, which I totally respect. I went back to the network and told them, so they said they would take the audio out. There’s nothing I can say at that point. That’s an ABC call.”
In the backstage pressroom, Musgraves was asked about the decision.
“I guess for some reason, people feel the need to censor that word, but they leave ’crack’ in,” she said.
“That was her idea,” he said. “Over the years, I’ve worked with her so much and have a really great rapport. Once again, it added to the balance of the show. When she told me what she wanted, I was all for it. Any time we can present a song differently, it’s great television. Having Vince Gill and Alison Krauss on the show — my hat is tipped to Taylor. She is an absolute genius.”