The fire chief on the red carpet in Nashville. (Courtesy of Marc S. Bashoor)

So how was it? “Rather anti-climactic,” Bashoor told us in an email.

It looks fancy on TV, but the red carpet was just an alley flanked by metal barriers and lined by a duct-taped swath of red indoor-outdoor rug. Their celebvocate escort Bucky Covington (the long-ago “Idol” finalist) arrived in an antique fire engine to shrieks from the fans, but the next VIP down the carpet was met by total silence.

Who was he? No idea, said Bashoor.

Later, at an ABC pre-show reception, his group rubbed elbows with TV execs and country-music stars. “I don’t know who they were,” he confessed. Except for Carrie Underwood: One of the younger guys pointed her out. Covington was super-gracious and down-to-earth, though, and when Underwood gave a shout-out to hurricane first responders, the folks sitting around the fire officials applauded for them. A “tepid clap,” Bashoor said, but hey, that’s “better than crickets!”

Good time? “It was an honor,” he said, “and a blast just to be there.”

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