Oh great. Yet Another Country Music Awards Show Coming Soon

No, we’re not talking about the inconsequential “CMT Awards” – country music’s third-tier video attendance trophy that has never been and never will be relevant for anything other than trying to keep the last gasps of music alive. a decrepit cable franchise alive. Yes, they announced their “nominees” earlier this week, but don’t let anyone tell you that everything that happens there matters.

Any awards show hosted by Kane Brown and Kelsea Ballerini begs not to be taken seriously. And the fact that the CMTs are inexplicably being held in Austin this year makes it even more of a curiosity. Let’s hope the waves of homelessness hamper all their efforts. CMT will air on CBS on April 2, because no one knows how to locate CMT on their TVs anymore, while many people under 30 don’t even have a TV.

Nor am I talking about the ACM Awards, organized by the Academy of Country Music. They arrive on May 11 and have just as inexplicably decided that Texas is a sweet spot for their crap, streaming alongside the stinky socks of the Dallas Cowboys football team at their practice facility called The Star. Granted, even a Cowboys practice facility is pretty grand. But in 2015, the ACMs aired their 50th anniversary presentation at AT&T Stadium where the Cowboys actually play. How the mighty fell.

The ACM Awards have also been relegated to streaming on Amazon Prime after being essentially canceled by CBS, which replaced ACMs on the network with CMTs. Yes, it’s the Country Music Awards with musical chairs. The problem is that so many rural country music fans don’t have adequate broadband access, and so streaming the ACM Awards online is a buffering nightmare.

But forget all those secondary and tertiary price discounts for a second. There’s yet another awards show coming online in country music, as if three isn’t enough when you count the CMA Awards, which are probably the only ones that really should count.

After NBC Universal bought a 30% stake in Grand Ole Opry’s parent company, Ryman Hospitality, in April 2022, you knew there would be an effort to crossover the two companies for better or worse. Lo and behold, in September we will now have the “People’s Choice Country Awards”, i.e. a country music spin-off of the existing, silly People’s Choice Awards on NBC.

Prepared for a two-hour presentation from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, it promises to be the “biggest country music celebration of the year” (it won’t be) and the only fully voted awards show. by country music fans. CMTs are also voted on by fans, but CMT executives choose the nominees. Presumably with the People’s Choice Country Awards (PCCA?), people will be able to choose the nominees, which means they’ll be terrible and probably monopolized by Morgan Wallen fans.

Country music needs another awards show like it needs another Kane Brown or Kelsea Ballerini. The idea that you could squeeze another annual awards show into the busy schedule has been tried and failed before. FOX attempted to launch the American Country Awards from 2010 to 2013. They were generally devoid of talent and attention and disappeared. They tried to rename them and bring them back as the American Country Countdown Awards in 2014 and 2016, and they also failed and were canceled.

And none of this mentions the Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, etc. which also cover country. Awards show ratings have stabilized from all-time pandemic lows, but these presentations still feel in many ways like relics of the past and are well below their highs. The People’s Choice Country Awards are like a Hail Mary to make the NBC/Opry partnership work. And if inexplicably it does, it will likely come by cannibalizing another price discount, potentially the CMTs, which aren’t real anyway, or the ACMs, which are sort of, and have close to 60 years of history behind them.

Instead of throwing an awards show, why not go back to showing the Grand Ole Opry in its entirety on television, or at least, prime time every Saturday night leading up to Saturday Night Live? Who knows, maybe the PCCAs will surprise us. But that seems rather unlikely. There may be an appetite for more country music on TV. But it looks like the appetite probably isn’t for another award show.

We’ll see I guess.

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