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Loretta Lynn's career milestones played out on CMA stage

Loretta Lynn's career was just beginning when the first Country Music Association Awards were handed out in 1967, but five decades later, both musical institutions are still going strong.

Over the years, the award show itself has grown from a small banquet with a house band to a musical television event. Next week's anniversary show airing live on ABC at 8 p.m. EDT will feature performances by Garth Brooks with Trisha Yearwood, Brooks & Dunn, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Reba, George Strait, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban.

Lynn was the very first female vocalist of the year and went on to win eight CMAs. Here's a look back at her experiences — and the CMAs — over the decades:



The CMA was a trade organization that formed in 1958 with a mission to bring country music to the masses. That first show in 1967 was a small, untelevised affair hosted by Sonny James and Bobbie Gentry at Nashville's Municipal Auditorium.

"I even remember the little green dress I had on," said Lynn during a phone interview from her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee of that first-ever show. "It was a big thing for an artist to get that award and I got the first one."

She had just put out her second album, featuring the hit songs "You Ain't Woman Enough" and "Don't Come Home A Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)." The country gal from Kentucky had found her voice as a tough, honest songwriter.

"I think I was saying things that none of the other women were saying, but I didn't realize that they were that bad, the way people took them," Lynn said.

The second year, the show was taped and aired on NBC. By the third year, it aired live from the Ryman Auditorium.



In 1972, Lynn was the first woman to win entertainer of the year, beating out artists like Merle Haggard. Only five other solo female artists and the Dixie Chicks have since reached that pinnacle. She also took home two additional awards that year for female vocalist and for duo of the year with Conway Twitty.

At the time, the CMA Awards were still in their youth, so for Lynn, the significance of being the first woman to win the award wasn't as apparent as it is now looking back at the history of the show.

"I don't think at that time we knew what a great thing it meant," Lynn said.

But she also didn't want anybody to forget it either as Lynn named her next album, "Entertainer of the Year - Loretta."



Former CMA executive director Ed Benson had a front row seat to the growth of the CMA Awards during his 29 years with the CMA from 1979 to 2008.

"All along this same timeline, the artists themselves were becoming polished and accomplished, starting to tour on a broader basis and becoming more popular nationally," Benson said.

Another key to the show's success was to keep the focus on the performances.

"CMA only had 10 awards to give out and when the show went to two hours, you had more music than you had awards," Benson said. "When we went to three hours, it was much more music. And the ratings were really strong."



Lynn almost didn't show up to 1988 show when Johnny Cash surprised her on stage by telling her she was going to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

"Minnie Pearl said 'You have to come tonight,'" Lynn recalled. "I said, 'I am not coming. I am going to a party right across the street.'"

Pearl eventually convinced Lynn to show up. After Cash's announcement, Lynn got so excited she dropped her jewelry on stage and had to hand it off to the man in black. She joked she never really thought she could get into the Hall of Fame, saying "I could see the Hall of Shame, but not the Hall of Fame."

Lynn said she never plans a speech for the awards, preferring to just say whatever comes to mind.

"If you ever plan a speech, you're messing up right there," Lynn said. "You need to say what you're thinking right then."



For three decades, the Grand Ole Opry House was the home of the CMA Awards. The crowds were mostly members of the music industry and fans who won tickets on the radio, Benson said.

"You had this event that was live on national television, but it was an intimate celebration with the artists on stage being able to look out and getting to see their fans and supporters, managers and publishers in the front row of the Opry House," Benson said.

The show moved to an arena in 2005 when the CMAs were held at New York's Madison Square Garden. It was the first and only time the show had been held outside of Nashville, and it's been held at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville since 2006.



Lynn's last performance on the CMA stage came two years ago when Lynn and singer Kacey Musgraves performed Lynn's song "You're Looking at Country." In typical Lynn fashion, the performance had an unscripted moment when Musgraves had a wardrobe malfunction and had to ditch her underwear on stage.

"Did you know she lost her panties that night?" Lynn said with a laugh. "I said, 'What did you do, Kacey?' And she said, 'Well when they hit the floor, I just kicked them off the stage.' I would have died if it had been me."




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Miss Iceland quits pageant after being told to lose weight

Miss Iceland chose to withdraw from an international beauty pageant this week after she claims that the pageant’s owner fat-shamed her.

Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir, 20, was crowned Miss Iceland in 2015 and was competing in the Miss Grand International pageant, which was held Wednesday evening in Las Vegas. According to The Daily Beast, Jónsdóttir said she received a message from pageant staff that read: “Stop eating breakfast, eat just salad for lunch and drink water every evening until the contest. (The pageant owner) is telling you this because he likes you and wants you to do well in this contest.”

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From the judging interview yesterday ✨ #missgrandinternational #missgrandiceland #mgi2016 #missgrandinternational2016 A photo posted by Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir (@arnayr) on Oct 20, 2016 at 4:04pm PDT

Thai TV host Nawat Itsaragrisil, the president and owner of the pageant, confirmed to The Independent that when Jónsdóttir asked for suggestions for the finals, she was told that she was a “little bit fat” and she should try to lose some weight to improve her chances in the pageant. He said his staff give the same advice to other contestants. Itsaragrisil claimed that Jónsdóttir submitted photos of herself in which she looked slimmer and more beautiful than she did in person.

Jónsdóttir admits that she might have broader shoulders than the typical pageant contestant, but that’s because she is a pole vaulter and a member of her country’s national athletics team.

Jónsdóttir announced Sunday on social media that she was dropping out of the pageant. In a farewell letter addressed to Itsaragrisil, Jónsdóttir wrote that in her country, her body shape is perfect and that, “Miss Grand International doesn’t deserve my face, body, personality or heart.”

My goodbye letter✉️🖋 A photo posted by Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir (@arnayr) on Oct 24, 2016 at 3:42pm PDT

My point of view 💕 A video posted by Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir (@arnayr) on Oct 26, 2016 at 5:39am PDT

Jónsdóttir has received an overwhelming amount of support on social media.

Miss Indonesia Ariska Putri Pertiwi was crowned Miss Grand International 2016.

Review: Kenny Chesney returns with a rich and varied album

Kenny Chesney's new CD is his 17th studio album and it finds the country superstar sounding a little like a 17-year-old — caught between wild abandonment and moodiness.

The 11-song "Cosmic Hallelujah" is mature and also a little goofy. It pushes the boundaries of country and yet makes sure to come home for a comforting twang. It worries about the world and yet also blows it off. "I's overexistentializin' my redneck," he sings happily.

"Cosmic Hallelujah" was supposed to come out last summer and it was going to be called something else. A new duet with Pink, "Setting the World on Fire" — an up-tempo party tune in the vein of Sheryl Crow "All I Wanna Do" — forced Chesney to reevaluate.

After some frantic recording, the album that emerged is rich and varied, looking outward and also holed up at a bar. Beer is mentioned in five songs, whiskey in another and both are probably part of a toast on the last song, the respectful "Coach."

Most intriguing are a pair of strong songs in which Chesney worries about society. "In the streets, in the crowds, it ain't nothing but noise/Drowning out all the dreams of this Tennessee boy," he sings on "Noise." On "Rich and Miserable," his target is consumption: "We don't know what we want, but we want it/And we want it all right now."

"Cosmic Hallelujah" finds a nice balance between preachy and summer fun. As Chesney sings on "Bucket": "I quit worryin' 'bout people's expectations/And ordered up a six pack of chillaxification."


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Jennifer Nettles Returns to Host 2016 CMA Country Christmas Event

Jennifer Nettles will once again ring in the holiday season as the host of CMA Country Christmas. The singer will reprise her role for the seventh time in 2016.

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6-foot guitar statues once again honor Elvis in his hometown

Guitar-shaped statues that honor Elvis have been reinstalled in the Mississippi town where the King of Rock 'n' Roll was born.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal ( ) reports the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association installed 14 of the 24 statues honoring Elvis alongside downtown sidewalks on Wednesday. The rest were placed in other parts of town.

The 6-foot replicas of Elvis' first guitar were designed and painted by area elementary students in 2010. They were installed in Tupelo, but were removed at the start of the of the Elvis Presley Birthplace Trail construction.

Association director Debbie Brangenberg says most didn't need any repairs, but three are being refurbished.

She said tourists and residents love the guitars, which she says fit in great with the new downtown landscape.


Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal,

Man accused of taking sledgehammer to Trump's Hollywood star arrested

A man suspected of using a sledgehammer and pickax early Wednesday to destroy Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has been arrested, Los Angeles police announced Thursday.

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Authorities did not immediately identify the man. Capt. Cory Palka of the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollywood Division confirmed the arrest on Twitter Thursday morning.

Officer Andrew Chambers identified the arrested man as Jamie Otis, according to The Associated Press. He faces a charge of felony vandalism.

Otis identified himself to Deadline Hollywood on Wednesday morning as he smashed into Trump's Hollywood star with a sledgehammer and a pickax.

"I think I'll have to handle the consequences of what I've done," he told Deadline Hollywood later Wednesday. "I will gladly pay the money if I have to, and if I must go to jail, I will."

Under California law, Otis can face up to three years in state prison for felony vandalism along with a fine of up to $10,000.

>> Related: Trump's Hollywood star snuffed out in sledgehammer attack

In a video posted on TMZ, Otis said he intended to take the Republican presidential nominee's star and sell it at auction to benefit the women who have come out to accuse Trump of sexual assault. Trump has denied the allegations.

"The star was just too difficult," Otis said. "The concrete was very strong and I would have had to stay there for an hour. I really wanted to do this. I think it's a symbol for all of us who are against sexual assault, and I don't think Donald Trump deserves that star any longer."

Trump was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007 for his work on "The Apprentice."

>> Related: Mock wall erected around Trump's Hollywood Walk of Fame star

Work has already begun to repair the broken star, and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has condemned the vandalism.

"The Hollywood Walk of Fame is an institution celebrating the positive contributions of the inductees," Leron Gubler, president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday in a statement. "When people are unhappy with one of our honorees, we would hope that they would project their anger in more positive ways than to vandalize a California state landmark. Our democracy is based on respect for the law. People can make a difference by voting and not destroying public property."

Shawn Mendes, the serious, striking musician, emerges

When Shawn Mendes went into the vocal booth to sing "Mercy," the gravelly, deep, emotional rock song from his latest album, he discovered a new side of himself.

He found his voice.

"When I sing it, when I perform it, like everything to do with the song is completely, just like my heart races, my blood pressures rises, I get all hot," said Mendes, who was encouraged to scream some of the lyrics to bring the song to life. "It's something that's unexplainable."

"After the take, I almost wanted to cry because so much emotion poured through me and you feel it in the song," he added.

"Mercy" is one of the best representations of Shawn Mendes, the adult musician. His sophomore album, "Illuminate," showcases a matured, meticulous 18-year-old guitar player and singer who knows how to emote perfectly on a song.

He recruited Jake Gosling, the producer behind many of Ed Sheeran's hits, to help craft the album, which ranges from rock to pop to blues. Mendes, Gosling, singer-songwriter Teddy Geiger and others traveled to upstate New York to record — living together, running in the morning and taking walks at night.

"The scene was just so right," said Mendes, who would record during breaks from touring. "It was gorgeous because we got to sit with the music, sit with the demos ... learn what we liked and learn what we didn't like."

Mendes co-wrote each of the 12 tracks, detailing some of his own personal life on the songs. The soft and pleasant "Three Empty Words" is about him staying in a relationship that ran its course. There are other songs, too, that strike with similar passion: "Don't Be a Fool" is a soulful rock classic; "Lights On" is a sweet rock song; and on the album opener, "Ruin," Mendes sings with a commanding tone: "And I'm not trying to ruin your happiness/But darling, don't you know that I'm the only one for ya."

He started writing some of the songs the day after his full-length debut, "Handwritten," was released last year. That album and his 2014 debut EP helped him establish a feverish female fan base and launched hits like "Stiches" after he broke through by singing cover songs on the social platform Vine at age 15.

But, until now, he was boxed in the category of the teen pop performer.

"I think it's very easy because of him being — well now it's just turned 18 — for people to sort of think of him (as a) pop star than rather a true artist," Gosling said. "The first thing when I met him ... I was really surprised by Shawn's maturity to be honest with you. He's like a wise, old man."

Even Mendes is noticing how people have begun to take him more seriously with his latest release: "Within one day, within a few hours, I feel like everything has changed. Like a switch was just turned.

"And the thing is when I first started performing live I mean, I could do it, I wasn't that impressive, but I worked so hard at the two most important things in my career ... songwriting and performing," he added.

"Illuminate," released last month, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts and its first single, "Treat You Better," is a Top 10 hit; Mendes topped Spotify's 25 Under 25 list, besting Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Chance the Rapper; and he's honed his skills after touring with Taylor Swift and Sheeran, and has even become friends with one of his biggest inspirations: John Mayer ("He's a really great guy and helps with a lot of things I struggle with.")

And in just a few years Mendes has sold out Madison Square Garden, where he said he converted some of his young followers' parents into fans last month.

"I thought it was going to be the worst show Madison Square Garden ever saw (but) it was the best show of my entire life," he said. "I'm so proud of myself and I don't mean proud of myself in a conceited way. I truly worked really hard to get there and to make a great show."



Raven-Symoné leaving 'The View' to star in 'That's So Raven' spinoff

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

Raven-Symoné is headed back to Disney Channel.

The co-host of "The View" is leaving the show to return as her character Raven Baxter in a spin-off of the Disney Channel series "That's So Raven."

>> Read more trending stories

The 30-year-old actress announced the move Thursday morning on "The View."

"I'm excited and sad, but mostly excited. I have an announcement to make," she said. "I've been working internally with the Disney company ... I used to do this show called 'That's So Raven,' and we're doing a 'That's So Raven 2.'"

Raven-Symoné, will star and serve as an executive producer for the spin-off, said that the show has not yet been officially named, but it is currently in development.

"There's no title yet, but I'm calling it 'That's So Raven 2,'" she said.

The spin-off centers around Baxter's life as a single mother of two children, one of whom has inherited the same psychic powers.

"Raven's brilliant style of fearless comedy was a driving force for Disney Channel's success around the world," Disney Channel Worldwide executive Adam Bonnett said in a statement. "Her performance in 'That's So Raven' is timeless. We now have our eyes on the future with her, and we're looking forward to telling more stories for a new generation with an adult Raven Baxter raising her young family."

Raven-Symoné said casting for the show will begin soon.

"We're going to be going around the country finding ... really good, talented females and males to be in the show," she said. "So anybody who wants to be on Disney Channel, there's going to be auditions soon for the 'That's So Raven' spin-off."

"That's So Raven" ran for four seasons and was the network's first series to hit the 100-episode mark before going off air in 2007. It's unclear when the spin-off will premiere.

Other nostalgia inducing shows have been making comebacks recently. Netflix has revived both "Full House" with the new "Fuller House" and "Gilmore Girls" with "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life," which premieres next month.

Disney Channel has also revived one of their own shows by bringing back "Boy Meets World" in the spin-off, "Girl Meets World."

25 Memorable CMA Awards Acceptance Speeches

A look back at some of the most memorable CMA Awards acceptance speeches from throughout the years.

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Filmmaker claims self-defense in San Francisco killing

A San Francisco filmmaker arrested on suspicion of murder earlier this week says an intruder was shot and killed in self-defense.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports ( ) Kevin Epps says 45-year-old Marcus Polk intruded in his home and made "serious threats."

The newspaper reports 48-year-old Epps was arrested after the Monday shooting. Prosecutors decided Tuesday not to file charges, at least for now, suggesting evidence of self-defense was a consideration.

Police have not elaborated on what preceded the killing of Polk, who was homeless and knew Epps.

Epps would not describe what happened — or confirm if he had pulled the trigger — on the advice of his attorney, Mark Webb. Epps is acclaimed for movies about violence and poverty and best known for his film "Straight Outta Hunters Point."


Information from: San Francisco Chronicle,

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