The Jake Owen CMT Music Awards Performance Was Upbeat, Odd, & Basically Just Needed Left Shark

The performances at a country music awards show should be pretty straightforward, right? There are bands and there are singers. However, country artist Jake Owen's performance at the CMT Music Awards defied conventions with a peppy rendition that was catchy, if not exactly what I expected.

No matter what the lyrics say, the performance of Jake Owen's "Real Life" was anything but real. The stage was filled with cartoonish props and dancers that looked like they would rather be backing up a teen pop star or starring in a Disney Channel Original Movie than a country singer. To borrow from Saturday Night Live's Stefan, this performance had everything. There were pizza beds, silent boom boxes, crowd on a well-made mattress, and animated backdrops behind the many bouncing beach balls. Not to mention the inflatable donuts that looked right out of The Simpsons —maybe Jake Owen missed the memo that National Donut Day was last week.

I'm not going to lie, my favorite thing about this song is the shout out to real food and real waitresses at Waffle House. Judging by the "Real Life" album art, this is an intentional theme. Excuse me while I whip myself up some hashbrowns — smothered, covered, diced, and capped. It's a Southern thing, for sure.

Apparently I wasn't the only one who thought this was reminiscent of Katy Perry's Super Bowl Half Time show, either. A quick look at social media proves that these performances are kindred spirits.

Did I love this, or was I too confused to process? It was definitely different, if a bit bizarre. Kudos to Jake Owen for trying something a little different at the Country Music Awards. Was this an artistic interpretation, or an attempt to go viral? The single is launching his return after not releasing an album since 2013 — so this is definitely one way to get people talking.