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Naomi Judd furious at CMT Music Awards' George Jones mention

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Jun 13, 2013 | 2:08pm EDT

Country star Naomi Judd has taken aim at organisers of the 2013 CMT Music Awards for failing to stage a proper tribute to the late George Jones during last week's (ends07Jun13) prizegiving. The country industry was plunged into mourning in April (13) when news of the music icon's death broke, and celebrities including Kenny Chesney, Vince Gill, Charlie Daniels and Brad Paisley flocked to The Grand Ole Opry House on 2 May (13) to bid a final farewell to the superstar at his funeral. However, Jones' passing was only briefly mentioned during the CMT Music Awards in Nashville, Tennessee on 5 June (13), with ceremony bosses recruiting rockers The Mavericks to play a rendition of the late singer's The Race Is On as the show went into a commercial break. The lack of recognition left Judd furious and she has expressed her outrage in an open letter to the editor of local paper, the Nashville Tennessean. Judd writes, "George Jones is to country music what The Beatles are to pop, the Rolling Stones to rock, Elvis to rockabilly, Mozart to classical (music) and Aretha to soul. Yet, the 'Country' Music Television awards show allowed only a 'by the way' mention of Jones' death and legacy. Incongruously, they chose alternative music group the Mavericks to perform their short version of George's The Race Is On. "True country music fans are a loyal bunch and are passionate about our roots and heritage. In the note, Judd goes on to suggest the CMT Music Awards, which this year (13) featured performances by Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban, are fast becoming irrelevant to its target audience, insisting, "Every year, CMT includes artists of unrelated genres, many of whom some country music fans don't even know. I suggest the CMT Awards show change its name. Perhaps to 'the Multi-Genre Awards Show, Featuring Artists under 30.'" Signing off, the defiant star writes, "I realize speaking out will cause me to now be forever banned by CMT. But I'm tired of folks messing with my country music. Especially when it involves my dear friend George Jones."

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