Remember When Rascal Flatts Caused Controversy With Their ‘I Melt’ Video?

In 2003, Rascal Flatts turned heads with their sultry hit “I Melt” and ended up causing quite the controversy with…


Lauren Jo Black

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July 21, 2020

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Rascal Flatts

In 2003, Rascal Flatts turned heads with their sultry hit “I Melt” and ended up causing quite the controversy with the song’s racy music video.

Upon releasing the sexy song to country radio, the award-winning trio paired the tune with a steamy music video featuring model Christina Auria. Filmed by Robert Deaton and George Flanigan in Miami, Florida,  the clip featured shots of Auria nude in the shower and topless (from the side). The music video also included a now-infamous shot of Joe Don Rooney’s bare butt and when it aired on CMT, it became the first music video to show nudity on the network.

People had a lot to say about it. In fact, some groups even demanded that CMT and GAC (Great American Country) ban the video from airing. GAC reportedly took the clip out of rotation, however, CMT aired the video and it went on to reach the top spot on CMT’s Top Twenty Countdown later that year.

Rooney’s rear end was quite the buzzed-about topic and even became the subject of bits from late-night comedians. At this point in time, he likely had the most famous backside in country music.

“I don’t know about it being the most famous butt in country music, but it’s the only one that’s been seen on TV,” Rooney later shared in an interview.

He went on to discuss the video’s concept and how the song and video impacted country music’s growing audience.

“We just said, ‘Let’s make the best damn sexy video we can.’ Anytime you do something to shake things up . . . you’re going to have some negative reaction,” he said. “But I think the country crowd is evolving and the demographic is widening. We’re reaching a younger listening audience, and a song and a video like this just brings more people in.”

Click below to re-live the infamous “I Melt” music video.

YouTube video


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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.