I almost felt bad for Taylor Swift last night as she left the 2013 ACMs award-less. After years of winning everyÂ conceivableÂ award that country music gave out, she’s struck out at the past three shows. And not only has she gone home with empty hands, but she’s inspired quite the club of country music haters. Which is ironic, because that’s where it all began way back in 2006.
When she first emerged into the music scene as a fresh-faced 16-year-old singer/songwriter, the country world embraced her as the next big thing. For years she won award after award after award and by the time she went more mainstream in the late 00′s, she’d already amassed a large country following — as well as a very full trophy case. 7 CMA awards and 6 ACM Awards to be exact. But now, fast forward a few years, she’s no longer considered a country artist. Not only did her songs lose their original twang, but she’s touted by her team as a pop star who appeals to everyone.
But tryÂ tellingÂ that to Taylor Swift who stillÂ dutifullyÂ attends every single country awards show — despite the growing number of country fans who hate her for daring to get nominated in the sameÂ categoryÂ as real country stars like Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood. A group of people who seem to resent her for trying to go back and forth between the two worlds — like a loser-turned-popular-girl who still tries to talk to her old friends when no one’s looking. Or to put in more popular terms, she’s Cady Heron. And no one thinks that she’s faking being a plastic anymore. By the time she debuted Red, she’d made her mark in the music world as a real live pop star.
Now while I’m obviously aware that social media is not the ultimate judge of country music, it’s certainly a great place to see how the fans are feeling during any given award show. And considering that the coveted Entertainer of the Year award comes directly from fans voting, it’s a great indicator of who everyone’s like best. So color me surprised at how upset country fans felt about Taylor Swift being nominated for the EOTY award. While she won it last year, she lost to Luke Bryan this year. That’s in addition to the fact she lost to Miranda Lambert for female vocalist of the year and Little Big Town for video of the year. It was an 0 for 3 night. Which wouldn’t be asÂ disappointingÂ if she hadn’t had an 0 for 5 night at the 2012 American Country Awards and another 0 for 3 night at the 2012 CMAs. All in all, Taylor’s won 0 awards at the three country music award shows this (country music calendar) year.Â
Some mightÂ argueÂ that she’s still gettingÂ nominatedÂ for country awards and that has to count for something. But the cynic who lives inside me says no. She’s getting invited and nominated at these shows because she’s without a doubt the most popular star attending. And no, I don’t meanÂ biggestÂ country star — I’ve heard of Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks etc.– I mean the biggest star. Taylor Swift = ratings. It also equals conversationÂ beforeÂ during and after the show on sites that wouldn’t usually cover it.
Check out the ACM tag page on Tumblr and you’ll see that 50% of the contentÂ thereÂ is about her. Half is positive, half is negative but she’s still at an estimated 50%. Or look at this article we wrote yesterdayÂ aboutÂ Taylor Swift jokes being banned at the show that’s still garnering comments this morning. She’s a mainstream talking point and the people who produce these shows know that. They’re not going to get the same hype without her there. And what better way to get her there then to nominate her for several awards. After all, who doesn’t keep an eye out for her expressions when she loses now? Isn’t everyone still hoping to see another one of her infamous stink eyes. Now that she’s dropped her infamous “who me?” winning face, it’s a sad little treat to see the camera pan over to her moments after she loses. It’s what everyone wants to know the day after an awards show now, “how did Taylor Swift react?”
Now of course keep in mind, as far as pop music goes, she’s doing okay. And by okay, I mean she broke records this year when she debuted her album “Red.” Love her or hate her, you can’t deny herÂ successÂ as aÂ mainstreamÂ artist. I can’t even count the numbers of covers she’s been on this year nor do I want to count the number of times we covered those covers on Crushable. The question is now how much longer she can pretend to be a crossover country star when she’s clearly one of our biggest mainstream artists?