At first glance, I was like, “DUDE. Gwynnie’s waist is SO SMALL WHAT IS UP?”

44th Annual CMA Awards - Arrivals

Then I realized that what I thought was back-drop was actually still part of her body and Gwyneth has not started corseting herself into Scarlett O’Hara proportions — something for which we can all be grateful (especially, I suspect, Gwyneth) if only because this means we won’t have to sit through some crazy GOOP all about how GP’s trainer decided it would be a good idea to get her midsection looking more antebellum. All those GOOPs about exercise really harsh my mid-morning toast buzz — all I want to do is read Gwyneth’s take about where I ought to stay in Marrakesh over breakfast, not feel guilty about my lackluster work-outs. Anyhoodle: I have to admit that I actually don’t super-hate this, but it just seems like a LOT of skin for Gwynnie, what with the legs and the side-midriff and the bare shoulders. On J Lo, I would love it, but, darling amigos, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez are very different ladies and never should their stylistic twain meet, in my opinion.

I’m relieved that she went much more simple for her performance:

44th Annual CMA Awards - Show

A bit of a snooze? Perhaps. But I feel like keeping it simple was totally the right call for this moment — when you’re making your country singing debut, and you’re best known as a (somewhat snooty) actress, you don’t want to come swanning out in something corny or over the top. And I didn’t watch the entire show, but I did watch Gwynnie’s performance on YouTube, and she was totally decent, though clearly super nervous  and I feel like I have to give the girl some props. I don’t think anyone expected her to sound like Kelly Clarkson (who was, as always, great — I also YouTubed her but not out of curiosity as much as because I LOVE HER) but I also think a lot of people would have loved it if Gwyneth had come out and fallen into the drum kit and then shrieked her way through something utterly off-key the entire time before setting her hair on fire and tripping over Keith Urban on the way out. So good for her for playing it cool. And thanks, Gwynnie, for at least wearing something semi-cracked out on the red carpet. I like to have SOMETHING to work with if you’re not going to do that hair-setting-on-fire thing.