REUTERS, Harrison McClary/ABC
On a night when it was supposed to be about the history of country music, the 50th Annual CMA Awards surprised fans everywhere with a performance from the Dixie Chicks and pop sensation Beyoncé.
They performed a medley of Beyoncé’s song “Daddy Lessons” and the Dixie Chicks’ “Long Time Gone”. The cameras showed some country stars enjoying the performance and America became fixated on Kenny Chesney’s very serious face, to which Beyoncé’s fandom trolled him for on the Internet.
He later defended the look on his face and called out her fans for being so quick to judge him.
According to a Nashville manager who was sitting behind Jackson at the awards show, the legendary singer, who also performed that night, left his front row seat in the middle of the performance.
“I think it was a flat performance overall and a lot of industry people I have talked with were not impressed for a variety of reasons,” the manager told Billboard. “The overall show was great, but in my opinion that seemed out of place and felt forced. It just didn’t fit the night to me, celebrating the 50 years, and the Dixie Chicks seemed like her backup band on it, without enough of a real shout-out to them. I was sitting behind Alan Jackson, and he actually stood up from the front row and walked out in middle of the performance, so I think that spoke volumes for the traditional, real country acts.”
Jackson hasn’t spoken out about his walking out, but he has been using the hashtag “#KeepinItCountry” on his social media accounts since the CMA Awards.
While it’s still unclear why Jackson walked out during this CMA performance, Alan Jackson has protested awards shows in the past. In 1994, Jackson was scheduled to perform at the ACM Awards. Before the show, the producers told him to perform with a pre-recorded track, instead of live music. He didn’t like that at all and had his drummer perform without drumsticks to clue the audience in.
In 1999, George Jones’ song “Choices” was nominated for Single of the Year at the CMA Awards, but was only offered one minute to perform the song. He declined and didn’t even attend the awards show. Jackson didn’t take this lightly, so when he went onstage to perform his current hit “Pop A Top”, he stopped and started performing “Choices”.
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