WTF: What Was That Weeping Sound?
In an awards show where the Backstreet Boys seem to make sense as a performer, it was damn near out-of-place to hear a little crying fiddle and weeping steel. But, lo and behold, there they were, adding some classic country cred to two of the night's centerpiece performances. Darius Rucker's show-closer "Straight to Hell," a Drivin' N' Cryin' cover he sang with Luke Bryan, Charles Kelley and Jason Aldean, made room for a tasty fiddle solo. And Aldean's "Drown the Whiskey" moved along on a slippery steel guitar lick. For all the grief Aldean catches for blurring country's edges with R&B fare like "Burnin' It Down," there was something defiant about him performing such a clearly honky-tonk ballad, proving he's still the guy who cut the epic heartbreaker "The Truth" nearly a decade ago. J.H.