Performers and audience members alike were left feeling awkward when the CMA Awards’ “In Memoriam” segment for country-legend Willie Nelson was attended by none other than a surprisingly-alive Willie Nelson. The Memorial segment was quickly re-dubbed a “Tribute”, with the aged-superstar even climbing onstage to join-in on his own homage.
“I felt like I was in that one part of Tom Sawyer, you know, where Tom & Huch show up at their funeral?” said singer Blake Shelton, who was awarded the CMA 2012 Entertainer of the Year award during last night’s ceremonies. “We’re getting ready to roll video on the memorial bit, and then somebody points out ‘Hey look, he’s sitting right there!’ Well, what do you do? We just kinda plowed ahead and made the best of the situation. Just because he wasn’t dead didn’t mean he didn’t still deserve some sort of recognition for all he’s done.”
Preston Scott, a representative for the Country Music Association, explained the basis of the mis-fire. “Frankly, we all thought he had passed-on by now. I mean, come on, look at him! How the heck is he even still standing, let along still playing? He’s been at this so long, and been living the most hard-core lifestyle of any country-singing, pot-smoking, IRS-evading bad-a** out there, you just kinda have to assume that the odds would have caught-up with him by now. But that said, we really should have researched this a little better, maybe checked on his Wikipedia page first or something, just to make sure before planning the memorial. We won’t make that mistake again.”
The memorial-turned-tribute included performances by current country stars Lady Antebellum, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw, ending with Nelson himself performing “On the Road Again” with the assemblage. Though many in attendance felt exceptionally uncomfortable about the grievous faux pas, Nelson later told reporters that he wasn’t bothered in the slightest. “Everyone keeps thinking that Darwin’s had to have already got me. You get used to it after a while. I actually have a running competition with Keith Richards on which of us can rack-up the most of these accidental memorials, and this one puts us back at a tie. All in all, I’d say that makes it a good night for me.”
Willie Nelson/CMA photo found at http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2012/11/cma-awards-2012-willie-nelson-gets-an-all-star-tribute.html