CMAs mostly ignore COVID-19 pandemic other than some awkward jokes

The annual Country Music Association Awards Wednesday night seemed a bit off from the get go. The ceremony was held indoors in Nashville, Tennessee, with a slimmed down but live audience, and though the tables were further apart than you’d normally see at an awards show, there were virtually no masks. This despite the fact that Tennessee recently recorded its largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases, and on top of that, several artists slated to perform at the CMAs were forced to cancel due to positive COVID-19 tests. But despite the obvious elephant in the room, there was little talk of the pandemic other than several social distancing jokes that failed to land.

The Country Music Association found itself in hot water last week after it sent out a tweet that seemed to discourage speakers and performers from getting political. Multiple singers took issue with this and voiced their opposition, causing the CMA to post another tweet clarifying that the phrasing in the original post, which stated it was “a no drama zone,” may not have conveyed the message they had intended. This could explain why co-hosts Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker kept things light and merely danced around the subject of COVID-19. But multiple viewers objected to the way the ceremony was handled, particularly the fact that it was indoors with a live audience and there were very few masks.