What can you tell me about the Flame Worthy Awards?
—John R., Colorado
The Flame Worthy Awards, scheduled to air at 8 p.m. ET April 21 from Nashville, Tenn., are the official awards show of the television network CMT. “First and foremost, they are fan voted,” CMT spokeswoman Jama Bowen says. “It is country music’s only fan-voted awards show and it is also country’s only music video awards show, so that is what really makes it special.”
This year’s host is Dolly Parton. “I think the Flame Worthy Awards Show is one of the very best awards shows on TV today,” Parton says. “I am very honored to have been awarded the hosting job this year. Don’t miss us!”
Although this is CMT’s answer to the MTV Video Music Awards, there will be no “wardrobe malfunctions.” That doesn’t mean, however, that CMT’s live broadcast of the show will be boring or predictable. “You never know what is going to happen and I just might do anything!” Parton says.
Unlike the Country Music Association Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards, the Flame Worthy Awards, now in its third year, are a very relaxed affair. The stars dress more casual and aren’t nearly as nervous as they are at other awards shows. “It’s not your standard, very serious, proper awards show,” Bowen says. “It’s very fun.”
Unlike traditional awards show, the Flame Worthy Awards have very unique categories, such as Fashion Plate, Hottest Female and Male and Concept Video, in addition to the regular categories such as Breakthrough Artist and Video of the Year.
As for what “flame worthy” actually means, Bowen explains: “The best way to understand the term ‘flame worthy’ is to try to visualize a time when you’ve been at a live concert and the performance has been either moving or rousing or just so infectious that you found yourself on your feet and everybody is holding up their lighters and you have all those flames in the venue. That is ‘flame worthy,’ something that moves you to your feet.”
The 2003 Flame Worthy Awards was quite poignant, marking the last public appearance of country music legend June Carter Cash. Her husband, Johnny Cash, was given the special Visionary Award for five decades of immeasurable contributions to American music. Cash was too ill to attend, so June accepted in his honor. “The tribute was hosted by Vince Gill and we had taped messages from Bono of the group U2, the Dixie Chicks and his daughter, Rosanne Cash,” Bowen says. “Of course, Johnny Cash’s Hurt video was a huge part of that.”
This year’s show will feature performances by Parton, Sheryl Crow, Shania Twain, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Martina McBride and Toby Keith.