10 Biggest Stories of 2013
Two country deaths make this list of the 10 biggest stories of 2013. There's also a birth, one amputation, an arrest and a shiny trophy. It was a strange year, with more highs, lows, excitement and head-scratching moments than one remembers in previous years.
George Jones' death is the event most will recall 10 years from now. His passing in April 2013 began a two-week long procession of remembrances (official and non) and memorials. Was there a bigger news story in 2013?
Faith Hill was the face and voice of NBC's 'Sunday Night Football' opening for six years, but she stepped aside in April 2013. "I’ve just let everyone there know it’s time 2 let someone else rock the open," she said. That someone else proved to be Carrie Underwood.
While tabloids were busy spreading rumors about Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert's marriage, she was busy working out and eating right. Prior to the 2013 CMA Awards, Lambert stepped out in a dress that showed off her trim bod. She says she was motivated by her 30th birthday, but she also wanted to show fans she's committed to her career in every possible way.
This story just kept growing bigger and bigger, and then took a gruesome left turn. Jake Owen was involved in a go-karting accident while racing two NASCAR drivers in July. At first, his hand was just bandaged, but a month later he learned he'd need to have a finger cut off at the first knuckle. It was excruciatingly painful, he said before he shared a picture of his nub (against the wishes of his record label).
Kellie Pickler's final dance with partner Derek Hough during the May 2013 finale of 'Dancing With the Stars' is one of the show's all-time greatest performances. The couple clicked from the very beginning, and Pickler quickly became a favorite to win the competition. Zendaya gave her a run for the mirror ball however, leaving the outcome in question until the final moments.
This was the upset, although few will say it was undeserved. The success of Luke Bryan's 'Tailgates and Tanlines' album (especially the song 'Country Girl') led to high-profile television appearances, a gig co-hosting the ACMs and many, many sold out shows. Typically, an artist has to lose a few times before being awarded the big prize. That wasn't the case in April, when Bryan embraced the award on the Las Vegas stage.
Billy Currington was charged with terroristic threats and abuse of an elderly person in April 2013 after an incident which involved a tour boat captain and the waterway that runs in front of Currington's home in Georgia. The plaintiff claimed Currington came at him in a boat and shouted threats and obscenities at him before speeding away. In September, the country singer pleaded no contest to the abuse of an elderly person charge and received five years of probation and a $1,000 fine.
Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum and husband Chris Tyrrell welcomed Eisele Kaye Tyrrell on July 22. It was the year's most anticipated childbirth, with the singer excitedly sharing every detail of her pregnancy. It'd be several months before she'd share a picture of the baby girl, however. Her name is pronounced “eyes-lee” and is a combination of Tyrrell’s mother’s maiden name and Scott’s mother’s middle name (Kaye).
In early July, Randy Travis was hospitalized and diagnosed with a viral cardiomyopathy, a heart-weakening virus that ultimately led to a stroke and several surgeries. It's not clear if the country legend was ever near death, or how he's doing since going into recovery and physical therapy. His team stopped issuing official updates in early August. The incident began a few very tense weeks for the singer's friends, family and fans.
In February 2013, Mindy McCready took her own life, leaving behind two sons and many devastated and confused fans. Her boyfriend, David Wilson, had committed suicide just weeks earlier, so the singer's final days were filled with sadness and frustration as she denied accusations that she had something to do with his passing. The 37-year-old was living in Heber Springs, Ark. at the time of her death. After a lengthy custody battle, son Zander went to live with his father. It's not clear who was granted custody of the youngest child, Zayne.
George Jones died on April 26, 2013, and it was the saddest day of the year for any true country music fan. Jones is often called the most important country singer of all time. He was a great influence and friend to many rising stars during the last five decades. His funeral at the Grand Ole Opry was filled with big-name stars, who were there to pay their respects and celebrate his life with song. Jones' official cause of death was listed as hypoxic respiratory failure. The Possum was 81 years old.