The Country Music Awards were held Sunday night, with Carrie Underwood and Lady Antebellum surprising no one by leading the field of award winners.
Lady Antebellum put a bow on a magical year, picking up five awards, including Song of the Year for “Need You Now,” a crossover hit that spent five weeks atop the Billboard country charts and continues to get airplay on mainstream pop radio.
Underwood, meanwhile, repeated as champion as Entertainer of the Year, a fan-voted award that was tabulated at www.cbs.com/vote. Underwood is the first woman ever to win the award in consecutive years.
Underwood and Antebellum are good examples of the power of crossover appeal. Both are country in roots but pop in scope, and that type of exposure is hard to match. Finding success on country radio first and pop radio second can be the formula for success, as once a song hits the mainstream airwaves it tends to stick for a long time. That’s precisely how Lady Antebellum found its way to the podium so many times on Sunday.
And, of course, the poster child for that success is Underwood, a sexy country star who began on American Idol, dated Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and hit it big on the pop charts with “Before He Cheat.”
What Underwood has mastered is the ability to sustain that success across all genres and populations. Now Lady Antebellum has an opportunity to try and do the same.