November 11th, 2010
12:00 PM ET
Judging by audience reaction last night, there was nothing weak about Gwyneth Paltrow's "Country Strong" performance at the CMA Awards.
By the end, the Hollywood star had everyone from Reba McEntire to Nicole Kidman rising to their feet to give her a standing ovation.
But celebrities weren't the only ones impressed by Paltrow's performance. "Strumming an acoustic guitar, looking a little nervous but singing the movie’s title song in an expressive, surging tone, she didn’t really need the assistance of the wonderful Vince Gill, there to give a polite, country-industry imprimatur to Paltrow’s efforts," writes Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker.
Despite her success, not everyone was happy about the star's big night. The Hollywood Reporter noted earlier that day that many Nashville insiders rolled their eyes at the news of her CMAs appearance.
“The feeling is that she’s taking a slot that would otherwise go to one of our acts - be it a new artist or someone who’s actually nominated - just so ABC can garner some ratings,” sniffed a record label executive.
But clearly, Paltrow means business. The soundtrack for "Country Strong" – released October 26 - was executive produced by Tim McGraw and features contributions from some of Nashville's most acclaimed songwriters and session players. Paltrow's husband, Coldplay singer Chris Martin, was also reportedly involved, claims the Hollywood Reporter.
"Country Strong," in which 38-year-old Paltrow plays a recently rehabbed country singer attempting to make a comeback, arrives in theaters nationwide January 7.
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