Gwyneth Paltrow performed at the CMA Awards on Wednesday night in Nashville, enduring Coldplay jokes from Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley because she has a movie to plug - the upcoming Country Strong.
Brad Paisley, who hosted the show with Carrie Underwood, addressed her as she sat front row in the audience. He said: "Gwyneth, I’ve always wanted to ask you something... can I have two Coldplay tickets?" Underwood added, "Can you make it four?"
The remarks drew guffaws from the audience and Paltrow smiled, but franky, it was a total diss, as if there was nothing else remarkable about her except being the wife of Coldplay frontman, Chris Martin. Nothing else remarkable that is, except she’s an talented Academy Award winning actress, with a stellar career in her own right. Did you see/hear Paltrow on the CMAs? What did you think? Watch the performance again and then let us know at the Coldplay forum here onwards.
But ABC and the CMA producers knew what they were doing when they scheduled Paltrow’s performance near the tail-end of the show — there was a curiosity factor at work here: Would Paltrow be able to cut it in front of an audience of country pros sitting in front of her? Of course she could. Strumming an acoustic guitar, looking a little nervous but singing the movie’s title song in an expressive, surging tone, she didn’t really need the assistance of the wonderful Vince Gill, there to give a polite, country-industry imprimatur to Paltrow’s efforts.
Paltrow’s performances on the Country Strong soundtrack album are solid ones. She delivers the songs with a conversational directness in a tuneful voice. She’s bound to come in for some ridicule from folks who don’t consider this scion of Los Angeles show-biz royalty “authentic” enough. The entire notion of authenticity in popular music is questionable at best and ludicrous most of the time, and when it comes to country music in particular — well, this sort of cold shoulder extends at least as far back as Olivia Newton-John. In other words, it’s a criticism that is old, tired, and irrelevant.
If Paltrow has a weakness, it’s only in the fact that she tends to approach any role, including that of country singer, with a well-thought-through determination. This can result in a certain self-consciousness — her detractors would say “coldness”; I’d call it braininess. And I find such bright professional strategizing, when it’s executed this energetically, charming.
Gwyneth Paltrow performs Country Strong at the Country Music Awards in Nashville (10th November 2010):