(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that's happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)
Looking back at 2012, it was a huge year for country music. There were some big changes to be really proud of and a few shameful moments that I wish would just go away. And has gone ahead and named their bests and worsts of 2012. For now, let's just focus on the positives, like Little Big Town. EW liked their "Pontoon" because of its tongue-in-cheek tone. Hard to argue with that. Then there is Kip Moore's "Somethin' 'Bout a Truck," which was his debut single and led to him winning EW over. Another truck song they loved? "Cruise" from Florida Georgia Line. Other favorites from the year were country's lesser-talked-about girls, like Kellie Pickler and her outstanding 100 Proof album, Kacey Musgraves' notice-me hit "Merry Go Round" and Kelly Clarkson going "full-tilt country." Guys who made the list were Eric Church for his sand-papery voice, Dave Haywood for getting married and Brad Paisley for getting funnier as a co-host on the CMA Awards. Next, I'll go over the worsts, which really aren't even all that bad.