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Darius Rucker Is The CMA's Best New Artist? Wait A Minute, That's Hootie!

A lot of things about last night's CMAs confused me. For example, why was there not a break in the middle so ABC could broadcast Modern Family at its regularly scheduled time? And why did no one (rightfully) interrupt Taylor Swift to point out how much better Beyonce is than her?

Oh, and why was Hootie named "Best New Artist?" Look, I know Darius Rucker's "daring" move in to the country genre is kinda-sorta novel, but, c'mon, this guy sold 16 million copies of his band's debut. It's the fifteenth best-selling record of all time. How is he a "new" artist?

Rucker is a nice guy and it is nice to see Country music, an obviously whitebread genre, giving a big award to a black man. It's sort of a feel good thing, I know. As Rucker said in his speech, "First of all to the fans, thank you for accepting me."  You're welcome, Darius.

But, like I said, Hootie and the Blowfish sold 16 million copies of their debut. In fact, this guy got a "Best New Artist" Grammy 13 years ago with his band! Seriously CMAs?

Look, it wouldn't bother me so much if I wasn't constantly crusading to make people accept Country music as part of the larger world of popular music. Rock, Rap, R&B, and Country are all popular music and ought to be covered the same way by publications like New Times, I always argue.

But then some dumbasses in Nashville decide to pretend the rest of popular music doesn't exist by giving a "Best New Artist" award to some dude who has had a platinum -- neigh, a DIAMOND -- record hanging on his wall for over a decade? It's as if they really, really want the world to think of their genre as some totally separate and distinct class of music where they can ignore simple facts like, say, that their "Best New Artist" has been a star since the Clinton administration.

Listen, Nashville: Either you're part of mainstream America -- in which case we can maybe tolerate you pre-empting the best new show on network TV -- or you're not, in which case your awards show should be sandwiched between Dukes of Hazzard re-runs on CMT. But, if you're part of mainstream America you need to recognize that Darius Rucker is in no way a new artist.