Something amazing happened last night. There was a big awards show filled with wealthy and famous celebrities who acted...normal and sane.
On Wednesday, ABC presented the 56th Annual Country Music Awards hosted by singer Luke Bryan and Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning.
The show opened with a stirring musical tribute to country legend Loretta Lynn, who died last month. Country stars Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire, and Miranda Lambert sang a variety of Lynn's classics such as “You’re Lookin’ at Country” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
The stars sang the legend's songs with the original arrangements and lyrics rather than trying to “update” or “reimagine” classics.
Co-host Luke Bryan made the ceremony’s intentions for the night clear in his opening:
Bryan: Bottom line, as CMA awards co-host I have one goal tonight, for everybody to have fun, to come together, to unite, to country on. (Audience cheers.) That was a shameless plug there. [Bryan has a song called "Country On."] And to celebrate being Americans.
The show stayed true to that goal. Winners gave drama-free speeches thanking God, faith and family. There was not a political soapbox in sight.
Singer Jordan Davis, winner of Song of the Year for "Buy Dirt," typified the general tenor of the night in his acceptance speech.
Davis: But country radio, everybody -- everyone that's played this song and the fans. We wrote a song about -- we wrote a song about faith and family and if that's not country music, I don't know what is. Luke Bryan, come here bro.
The ceremony briefly recognized and honored a charitable program for military veterans called Createvets, “a veteran program that uses the power of music to heal.” It's rare for awards shows to tout non-partisan causes that everyone can get behind.
Singers sang in clothes that actually covered their private parts. Viewers at home didn't have to worry about quickly shutting off the screen if a child walked in.
Between the retrospective of classic country and the focus on entertaining the audience instead of lecturing them, I felt like I had stepped back into a healthier time.