Kacey Musgraves' Resplendent Rodeo
The millions who tuned in to watch the CMAs from home know Kacey Musgraves' performance of "Dime Store Cowgirl" was great, but they'll never know just how great. You really had to be there, in the room, to marvel at how well the perma-rhinestone-bedazzled singer used the cavernous Bridgestone Arena to her advantage. The big-picture visual — a vivid cinema screen framing the singer and her band in soothing shots of sun-kissed desert skies and child-like psychedelic animations of ponies and such — looked stunning. And the song — a bittersweet-sounding reflection on preserving core identity in the face of newfound fame, basically her answer to "Mississippi Girl" or "Jenny From the Block" — sounded rich and full, captivating the crowd in a listening experience that really came as a relief in the midst of other performers' shrill, off-balanced backing tracks. A.G.