CMA award show amid a pandemic

Peyton Finnegan , Courier Staff

The 54th Annual Country Music Association Awards were held this past Wednesday, at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn. and were hosted by CMA Award winners Darius Rucker and Reba McEntire.

Unlike many televised awards shows during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CMA Awards were held with an audience. CMA chief executive officer Sarah Trahern stated, “although the show will feel a bit more intimate this year, we look forward to hosting our nominated artists and their guests as we celebrate the best of country music in a fully safe and physically distant environment. It will be an honor to bring the biggest country stars in the world together – in one room – for the first time this year. You won’t want to miss it!”

 On Nov. 9, following the announcement that two of the artists originally scheduled to perform on the CMA Awards had tested positive for Coronavirus, the CMA released a statement to Entertainment Tonight explaining, “We have been extremely diligent with our testing process in advance of anyone entering our footprint. Every single person has been tested, and many will be tested repeatedly throughout the week. This is in addition to wearing PPE and of course practicing social and physical distancing. We have an incredible show planned and look forward to bringing the country music community together. However, our number one priority has been and will continue to be the safety of our artists, our crew and our staff.”

  In order to decrease the likelihood of spreading Coronavirus during the ceremony, only the nominees, their staff, guests and the crew were allowed into the venue and the traditional red carpet did not take place. Longtime CMA producer Roger Deaton confirmed to The Tennessean, the daily newspaper in Nashville, that the show would incorporate both live and pre-recorded performances, with around 60 percent being performed live. Multiple stages throughout the venue would be utilized in order to account for how each stage must be fully cleaned and sanitized by crew members after each performance. Seating arrangements for the attendees were designed to strictly adhere to social distancing guidelines, with a banquet-style layout; an artist and their guests each have their own table which is spaced eight meters apart from the other tables.

Miranda Lambert led nominations going into the event with seven, followed by Luke Combs with six. The show also featured performances by Dan + Shay with Justin Bieber, Keith Urban and Ashley McBryde. The coveted Album of the Year award went to Luke Combs and Entertainer of the Year was awarded to Eric Church.