Reba McEntire Weighs In On Lil Nas X Controversy

After being pulled from the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, which is was climbing, because Billboard said it "does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music," Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" claims the Number One spot on the Billboard Hot 100 this week. Country fans, industry and artists are split over the issue of whether the song has a place on country radio given all the cross-genre hits, including hip hop-influenced hits like Jason Aldean's "Red Dirt Road" remix featuring rapper Ludacris.

Backstage at the ACM Awards earlier this week, the show's host, Reba McEntire, weighed in on the controversy. While she wasn't familiar with Lil Nas X's song, Reba tells us she was surprised that any song that blurs the lines would be removed from the country chart. "Country music has always been very diversified. One time it'll be very traditional then it'll be very contemporary then it'll all go with the girls then it'll all go with the boys and then everything changes up. It's cyclical, but I think we've had that before. I didn't know this about taking it off the charts. I'm very surprised because I think it's been very open in a way except for the women recording."

Brothers Osborne's John Osborne was singing a different tune, telling Billboard that there's no place for a song like "Old Town Road" on country radio. He said, "There are a ton of girls just waiting for the moment, writing great songs . . . then this guy comes along and puts out a song with quasi-country lyrics. Go listen to Kris Kristofferson and then go listen to (‘Old Town Road’) and if you tell me they have anything to do with each other, then I will quit. I’m out. I’m done with the genre."

FGL's Tyler Hubbard said, "If you’re trying to put things in a box or a genre, you’re kind of wasting your time. If you like the song, play the song, if you don’t then don’t." Brian Kelley added, "If we sit here and try to figure out if it’s country or not, we miss the point of it being a great song. I mean that as respectfully as possible. I love the song. I don’t think the question is whether it’s country or not; it could probably fit in there. I don’t have a problem with that at all."

Billy Ray Cyrus was recently added to a remix of "Old Town Road."

The song has been streamed more than 47 million times in the last week and has been downloaded 22,000 times.