During the CMT Music Awards Wednesday night, reality show alums took home three of the nights biggest prizes: Miranda Lambert for Female Video of the Year, Cassadee Pope for Breakthrough Video of the Year, and Carrie Underwood for Video of the Year. Each walked away with a belt buckle award during a ceremony dominated by male winners and performers. But their wins signify more than just an acknowledgment of their respective talents and hard work but also the impact that reality singing competitions continue to have on country music and the music industry as a whole.
As recapped by Yahoo Music, the 2014 ceremony, held in Nashville, Tenn., at the Bridgestone Arena, spotlighted the past year's best country music videos as voted on by the fans and CMT network viewers. So it shouldn't be that big of a surprise to see stars like Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, and Cassadee Pope walk away with awards. And who better to win a few awards for videos, a marketing and entertainment tool supported by television, than those who got their big breaks on television shows?
Truthfully, if you think that reality singing competitions like "American Idol" and "The Voice" have no real impact on the music industry, then you haven't been paying much attention for the past few years. And for all those snarky nay-sayers that proliferate in the comment sections and continually deride reality show singers, well...
Carrie Underwood's Video of the Year award for "See You Again" is her third straight victory in the category and her fifth CMT Music Awards Video of the Year award altogether. The "American Idol" Season 4 winner also now holds the record for most CMT Music Awards trophies, having won 11 in her career thus far. Not a bad showing, considering the show only gives away roughly a dozen awards per year.
Miranda Lambert, who placed third in the first season of "Nashville Star," took home her fifth (2010-2014) consecutive Female Video of the Year for "Automatic." And not only has Lambert dominated this category at each annual CMT Music Awards, but she has also dominated the Female Vocalist categories at both of country music's largest and most famed awards ceremonies, the Country Music Association Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards. Lambert's current role as the reigning Queen of Country Music is unprecedented, to say the least.
Cassadee Pope took home the title and won the album contract on Season 3 of "The Voice." From her album Frame by Frame, she's had two hits, including the platinum-selling Top 5 "Wasting All These Tears." The video for "Wasting All These Tears" garnered the 2014 CMT Music Awards Breaktrhough Video of the Year trophy.
And they're not the only ones. Buddy Jewell, who topped Lambert on "Nashville Star," had a string of hits following his win. Chris Young, who won Season 4 of the show (it ran for six seasons), pulled off four Top 10 Country Music Albums (including three Top 5, two of which peaked in the Top 5 on the Billboard 200 as well) and a string of five consecutive No. 1 songs on the Hot Country Songs chart since graduating from the singing competition.
"American Idol" not only launched the country music career of Carrie Underwood but also that of Scotty McCreery, the Season 10 winner who's debut album has since went platinum. (He also won the 2012 CMT Awards Breakthrough Video for "The Trouble With Girls".) Kellie Pickler came in sixth during the talent-heavy Season 5 (Chris Daughtry, Katharine McPhee, Elliott Yamin, Mandisa, Bucky Covington, and winner Taylor Hicks) and went on to put together a set of ten hits on the country charts, including five that peaked in the Top 20. Her video for "I Wonder" won the 2008 CMT Music Awards Breakthrough Video of the Year. (Although "American Idol" is mostly known for producing pop stars from various genres, it has also produced several country artists the aforementioned -- which includes Bucky Covington. Other notables include Season 2's Josh Gracin, Season 7's Kristy Lee Cook, Season 8's Danny Gokey, Season 9's Casey James, and Season 10 runner-up Laren Alaina.) Pickler also went on to win the Mirrorball Trophy on "Dancing With The Stars" in 2013 and was chosen as one of the best dressed at this year's CMT Awards.
"The Voice," though not the star-generating powerhouse that "Idol" is, has contributed a few hitmakers to the country charts as well. Besides Pope, Season 4 winner Danielle Bradbery has also made an impact, charting with "Heart of Dixie" (No. 16).
It should be noted that Blake Shelton, who, like his wife, Miranda Lambert, has dominated the male categories of awards shows in recent years, won for Male Video of the Year for "Doin' What She Likes." His win is undoubtedly in no small part beholden to his rise in popularity since taking on the role of judge and mentor on NBC's hit reality singing competition, "The Voice." No doubt his pride runneth over, considering not only the win for his wife but also Cassadee Pope's win, because she was a member of Team Blake when she won "The Voice" (as was Danielle Bradbery).
Sure, there might be a few catcalls and derisive remarks about reality television and its singing competitions, but when there are claims that the singers from those shows go on to anonymity or produce nothing after their brief stint on the shows, awards shows like the 2014 CMT Music Awards are ample proof otherwise.