During last night's live broadcast of the 51st annual Academy of Country Music Awards, all eyes were on Chris Stapleton. Since he swept the CMA Awards last year, he's become an absolute phenomenon, and has been celebrated for his incredible live performances. Only one other artist managed to supply a performance on par with Stapleton last night, yet her performance seems to be going unnoticed.
Newcomer Cam did all the right things when she took the stage for a performance of her breakthrough single, "Burning House." Instead of filing the stage with brightly-colored LCD screens or unneeded props, she simply took the stage and sang her heart out. Sadly, that's an ability that fewer and fewer female country artists are able to pull off. This isn't always because of a lack of talent, but more because they simply can't afford to.
As mainstream country music continues to fail in providing a fair playing field for both sexes, many female artists feel like they are forced to try and become the next Carrie Underwood. Not only do you have to have a hit, you have to be what popular culture defines as beautiful, have great choreography and have a personality that everyone loves. Thankfully, artists like Cam are breaking that mold and bringing people's attention back to what matters - the music.
While Twitter exploded with gossip over Miranda Lambert's new boyfriend Anderson East and the faux bromance between Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley, Cam's stellar performance got little social traction. Ironically, that's probably because there wasn't much to criticize. Unlike the somewhat messy collaborations between Kelsea Ballerini and Nick Jonas or Little Big Town and Trombone Shorty, Cam's performance was steady and solid throughout.
While Cam and Chris Stapleton are two very different artists, they should both be applauded for their ability to stay true to themselves while providing fresh and inspired country music. Hopefully, Cam's triumphant performance will spur a new wave of female artists who present their music without gimmicks or expectations set by the male-dominated industry.