Gwyneth Paltrow grabbed a guitar and hit the stage for her heavily promoted live performance of "Country Song," the single from her new movie, last night at the Country Music Awards. Strumming next to country music star Vince Gill, the Oscar-winner received a standing ovation for her performance.
Many wondered whether Paltrow—a Los Angeles native who won her Oscar for playing Shakespeare's posh muse—had the Nashville chops when her single was first leaked on the Internet. Now that she's performed it live, how did critics think she did?
Popwrap noticed that the film star looked understandably terrified during the first few bars of her song, but was impressed overall:
I braced for the inevitable car crash. But I'm still waiting for impact because Gwyneth delivered a very solid—if not sensational—performance of the sure to be Oscar nominated song alongside Vince Gill on last night's telecast Albeit, she looked positively terrified throughout, but considering she's dipping a toe into totally foreign waters (which are infested with rabid catfish), I can understand the jitters.
The New York Times' Jon Caramanica thinks she outperformed the night's seasoned performers:
That Gwyneth Paltrow was joined by Vince Gill for the live premiere of "Country Strong," the title track of the forthcoming film in which she plays a country star bouncing back from addiction, wasn't a surprise. The surprise was that she didn't need his steadying hand nearly as much as some of the night's other performers.
EW's Ken Tucker agrees, saying, "Paltrow performed her song as well as any number of other pop-country acts did theirs, if not better than a few of 'em. (Rascal Flatts, I'm listening at you.)" He also makes a case for why her success is not surprising:
If Paltrow has a weakness, it's only in the fact that she tends to approach any role, including that of country singer, with a well-thought-through determination. This can result in a certain self-consciousness—her detractors would say "coldness"; I'd call it braininess. And I find such bright professional strategizing, when it's executed this energetically, charming.