On Sunday night, the Academy of Country Music (ACM) held its 47th annual awards show—country music’s biggest night. Well—at least until the CMA Awards next fall.
Anyhow, it was Nashville’s biggest night—oh, wait, the ACMs are in Las Vegas.
Anyway, it was big.
The ACM Awards, broadcast live on CBS, had several high points, some not-so-high points, and few surprises overall. Blake Shelton and Reba McEntire reprised their roles as hosts, opening with the typical entertaining banter. The one awkward moment was when Blake Shelton teased Taylor Swift about her rumored date with Tim Tebow, which made Swift squirm in her seat a little bit.
Since it’s all about the music with country fans, the ACMs were loaded up in typical fashion with live performances—some awesome, and some not so much. Some of the highlights:
- Carrie Underwood’s powerful opening performance of “Good Girl” proved to be a great start to the show, and the song itself might eventually match the success of “Before He Cheats” on the charts.
- Keith Urban sang a rocking (and highly moving) tribute to the troops with his song “For You,” from the soundtrack for Act of Valor. At the song’s conclusion, it looked like even he was on the verge of tears.
- Marks for “most fun to be had at a live performance” went hands-down to Toby Keith’s performance of “Red Solo Cup,” sung in entirely while mingling with the partying crowd (and with a little help from Carrot Top).
- Steve Martin sat in on banjo with Rascal Flatts on the song “banjo”, a tribute to banjo legend Earl Scruggs who passed away the week before.
- The wedding performed live onstage. I might take some heat for this one, but it was a good idea executed poorly. No offense to the couple, but having Martina McBride and Patrick Monahan sing “Marry Me” while the officiant shouted the vows behind them? It just didn’t play well, and it came off as more schlocky than genuinely moving.
- Lionel Richie and Blake Shelton’s end-of-show duet. Richie’s new “country” record Tuskegee came out this week; it’s basically a country rendering of Richie’s hits, sung as duets with country artists. Only Lionel Richie is not a country artist, and unfortunately, it shows—and the live performance didn’t make it any better. They’ve reallllly been promoting this thing, and this was an obvious attempt to add to that promotion. Not your best moment, guys. It was an act of mercy when the credits rolled before the song finished.
As to the awards themselves, like I said, no real surprises. Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, recently married, are having a very good year as country music’s new “sweethearts.” Blake took Male Vocalist of the Year, while Miranda took Female Vocalist. Lady Antebellum took Vocal Group of the Year, while Scotty McCreary, on a roll since his American Idol win, took Best New Artist. (I have to admit, this guy has come a long way; he handled himself like a total pro onstage during the awards.)
Perhaps the night’s one surprise was the first award of the night, Song of the Year, which went to Eli Young Band for “Crazy Girl,” beating out Dierks Bentley’s “Home” and Lady A’s “Just a Kiss.” Taylor Swift, who didn’t receive much this year in the way of nominations and spent most of the evening at her seat, ended up taking top honors with Entertainer of the Year thanks to text and online voting from fans during the telecast—proving that at the very least, she still has the popular vote.
Highs and lows aside, the Academy of Country Music Awards 2012 was entertaining and worth watching, if only mostly to confirm what we already knew. A recap of last night’s winners is below.
SONG OF THE YEAR: “Crazy Girl,” Eli Young Band
SINGLE RECORD OF THE YEAR: “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” Jason Aldean, Kelly Clarkson
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Four the Record, Miranda Lambert
NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Scotty McCreary
VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR: Lady Antebellum
VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR: Thompson Square
FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR: Miranda Lambert
MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR: Blake Shelton
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR: Taylor Swift