From left: Robin Thicke &Miley Cyrus and Brad Paisley & Carrie Underwood
Charles Sykes/Invision/AP; Rick Diamond/Getty
It’s not every awards show where the ratio of cowboy hats per head outnumbers, well, everything else. Throw in a lot of boots and big hair and songs referencing various types of automobiles, and we reckon your Honky Tonk Badonkadonk’s definitely at the CMA Awards
But if we had to compare Wednesday night’s Nashville party to, say, August’s MTV Video Music Awards, five other major differences come to mind.
1. The Dance Moves
Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus
Kevin Mazur / Wireimage
Miley Cyrus’s nonstop twerking got all of our tongues wagging as soon as she took the stage with Robin Thicke in August for a medley of their summer jams, including “We Can’t Stop” and “Blurred Lines.” Foam fingers were violated. So were several dancing bears. However, Taylor Swift – who has never, like, ever, exploited a teddy bear in any way, shape or form – keeps her lip-sync-filled dance-alongs G-rated. No one enjoys awards shows more than Taylor (see how happy she is bobbing to Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise”?), and it’s not just because she wins everything all the time.
2. The Reality Show Guests
Jersey Shore‘s Snooki and Duck Dynasty cast
Larry Busacca / Getty; Evan Agostini / Invision / AP
The cast of Duck Dynasty made their way to Nashville from West Monroe, La., which is about 533 miles southwest of Music City (and they couldn’t even take their boat!). The reality TV family was the Southern version of MTV’s esteemed reality show guests, the Jersey Shore crew, who graciously took a break from their time-consuming G.T.L. routine for the 2013 VMAs.
3. The Hit Song
The Duck flock even helped hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood put their spin on Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” Unlike the VMAs performance, the reality stars didn’t take off their clothes, which were mostly camouflage and probably would’ve taken a while to remove, anyway. The result: “Duck Lines,” which featured lyrical modifications such as “I know you hunt it” instead of “I know you want it” and “quack quack quack” instead of that catchy “hey hey hey.”
4. The Reunion
‘NSYNC at the 2013 VMAs and Lauren Alaina & Scotty McCreery
Larry Busacca / Getty; Byron Purvis / AdMedia; Byron Purvis / AdMedia / AdMedia / Corbis
Years after saying “bye, bye, bye” to their boy band days, Justin Timberlake, Lance Bass, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick made ’90s teenage dreams come true at the VMAs when they took the stage to perform “Girlfriend” and “Bye, Bye, Bye.” No, Timberlake didn’t bust out his boots for this occasion, but American Idol alumnus Scotty McCreery, who won the show’s 10th season, and that year’s runner-up, Lauren Alaina, both showed face at Wednesday’s show. Next time we’re hoping for a duet, though.
5. The Cute Up-and-Comer
From left: Austin Mahone and Hunter Hayes
Amanda Schwab / Startraks; Larry Busacca / WireImage
Or should we say the Baby Biebers? Although country’s Hunter Hayes, 22, is older than music’s 19-year-old Canadian wonder boy, both he and pop newcomer Austin Mahone, 17, are comparable tween magnets with indisputably nice hair. While Hayes performed at the CMAs, Mahone was crowned the Artist to Watch at the VMAs. Also, both could totally take Selena Gomez home to mom (sorry, Justin).