Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kenny Chesney V The Band Perry

Entertainer of the Year

Now THAT's funny. 

First off, let's acknowledge that Brad and Carrie are the real Entertainers of the Year. 

Now that awards season is doling out gongs for the year’s achievements, The Inky Jukebox would like to take a moment to reflect on two phenomena.

The first concerns last night’s CMA Awards at which The Band Perry walked away with three major awards. Fair enough: when it comes to an individual song it comes down to personal preference and all the nominations were good. But should they have won Best New Artist among such a stellar company? Absolutely not. Are they better than Eric Church, who has three incredible albums to back up his claim? No. 

But, I hear you say, does that also mean that Taylor Swift should not have won Entertainer of the Year? Nope. Taylor Swift, by any measure, put on one of the best spectacles of the year, touring her little ass off with a truly entertaining concert. She deserved to win for the second year in a row. Chances are good, however, that any act that pulls the kind of numbers she did by touring stadiums, will generate enough fans to drive votes in this category. Here's a taste of why she won:

Hey — it’s how Kenny Chesney won so often. Which brings us to issue two: Kenny Chesney’s show. He wasn’t nominated for much, yet put out one of the year’s best albums, and had (and continues to have) hits off it, supported by a grand tour which took four acts out on the road all summer. He entertained me all year long. So how come he wasn’t nominated?

Well, it’s because he’s already won it and folks want to cheer for someone else for a change. This does not mean that they love him any less, however. The Inky Jukebox went to a lot of shows this year — though not Brad Paisley’s one-two punch with Vocalist of the Year Blake Shelton, because they cancelled their Heinz Field show (still no explanation boys?) — and the Kenny Chesney Experience rocked the dust off all of them (Taylor coming a close second).

Why is this? Kenny Chesney is a little peanut-looking fella. It feels distinctly naff to like him. Yet his stadium show provided a whole day of stellar entertainment with four acts you’d want to see, and made use of the venue to great effect. The Zac Brown band, his “support” act, are worth the price of admission alone. But the crowd who comes to see Kenny are there because they’ve been to one of his shows before and have resolved to always buy a ticket whenever he comes to town. This is real fan loyalty. What it produces (apart from guaranteed ticket sales) is the sound of 60,000 people singing along to every single word at the top of their lungs — an exhilaratingly uplifting experience. In short, the show is truly entertaining; it’s a rockin’ good time.

This is reflected in his release of live albums and especially in his latest video for “Reality,” which is a montage of clips from his tour. It is well done and gives you a taste of why it matters not if he wins yet another trophy: he’s already won.

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