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The CMAs: proof that country is suffering from “Postpartum Taylor Swift Disorder”

Last Wednesday marked the 48th annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards, and it was one of the most unusual in country music’s history.

Expected: the disappearance of Taylor Swift, who finally made an overdue step down from her soapbox to accept the inevitable genre classification of pop — something she should have done two years ago, when her last album Red was a smashing hit.

Regardless, the show was missing that usual pep in its step. Swift’s awkward dance moves were missed this year.

Hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood joked all night about “post-partum Taylor Swift disorder,” which was funny, until they wouldn’t stop — like when a friend keeps obsessively explaining to you why she doesn’t care that her ex-boyfriend didn’t show up to the party.

Unexpected: one of the opening acts consisted of Meghan Trainor singing “All About That Bass” as a country-fied duet with Miranda Lambert, and Ariana Grande coming out of nowhere to similarly sing “Bang Bang” with Little Big Town.

My guess? They met backstage for the first time five minutes before performing.

Both were not only out of element for all artists involved, but also unnecessary. These forced collaborations added nothing more than a noticeably sore attempt to fill the pop-music void Swift had left behind.

Aside from the two outliers, most performances lacked chemistry and offered frayed vocals. Things were too off-balance as many of the slower, duller songs from the past were done, rather than the loud strumming of a country guitar and those flashy lights that give you goose bumps.

Don’t get me wrong, the classics are always great, but the show seriously lacked younger, more current country artists. Instead, they left us with their year-old leftovers — nothing too fresh or too new.

Luckily, Kacey Musgraves brought a little hope to my sinking heart as she won “song of the year” for “Follow Your Arrow.” Musgraves showed the boot print Swift left behind when she reshaped country music’s sound and individualism, something also seen from young artists like Hunter Hayes, Dan + Shay and Lucy Hale.

Though I’m a fan of the artists who took away the highest awards including Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, the Association should have widened their spectrum more.

Swift was a legacy, but the fire of country needs a strong re-kindling since she hopped off the saddle years ago.

Follow Audrey Bittner on Twitter @PodgeTown

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