At this year’s awards, country music got political — relatively speaking.

A week before the 51st CMA Awards, the Country Music Association all but ensured its annual awards show would become politicized by demanding it not be politicized.

On November 2, the organization issued media guidelines threatening to revoke the credentials of press who, in their coverage of the event, focused on “the Las Vegas tragedy, gun rights, political affiliations or topics of the like.” By the next morning, country star Brad Paisley, who in 2017 marked his 10th year co-hosting the event with Carrie Underwood, had called out the move on Twitter, urging the CMA to “do the right thing and rescind these ridiculous and unfair press guidelines.” Less than two hours later, that’s precisely what happened, but the shadow of the attempted censorship loomed over Wednesday night’s awards, particularly in Paisley and Underwood’s opening to the show.

“Now Brad, I don’t know if you’ve heard about this, but the CMA has given us guidelines with some specific topics to avoid,” Underwood said, continuing, “This year is a politics-free zone.” That was setup for a twist on the pair’s tradition of parodying popular songs during the awards show, wherein Paisley lamented all the potential sendups they couldn’t do, like “Hold Me Closer, Bernie Sanders,” “Harper Valley DNC,” “Stand By Your Manafort,” and other lyrics tweaking Hillary Clinton and Anthony Scaramucci.

But the ribbing got a little more intense as Paisley turned his attention and guitar to the subject of Donald Trump, in a parody of Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” that took aim at the president’s social media habits: “Right now, he’s probably in his PJs watching cable news and reaching for his cell phone,” Paisley sang as Underwood feigned mortification. The song continued:

Right now, he’s Read More Here