Big Night At ACMs
Carrie Underwood made history at the Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday night, becoming the first woman to win entertainer of the year twice.
Underwood won the show’s top honor last year. This year, she beat out Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, the Zac Brown Band, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, George Strait and Keith Urban.
Top-selling trio Lady Antebellum were the dominant winners, grabbing five trophies, including song and single record of the year for crossover hit “Need You Now,” while also snapping Rascal Flatts’ seven-year run as best vocal group.
“We are having a blast tonight,” singer Charles Kelly told the crowd after win No. 4. “We love you all. We will never forget this night.”
Lady A came into the awards ceremony at the MGM Grand with a leading seven nominations and had won five of seven possible (they got two trophies for their single record of the year win because they also produced the record, and also got two trophies for their song of the year win because they composed “Need You Now”).
Best bud Miranda Lambert had three trophies on the night. She beat Lady A’s self-titled debut for album of the year with “Revolution.” It was the second time she won the honor; her “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” won album of the year in 2007. She also beat Lady A in the video category with “White Liar” in awards given out Saturday night.
Lambert didn’t get to say much when she won album of the year. She started to address the crowd, then stopped short to make sure producer Frank Liddell got a moment in the spotlight. But as soon as he started to issue thank yous, he was cut off and the camera panned away, eliciting boos from the crowd.
After a commercial break, she came back on stage to perform her latest single, “The House That Built Me,” and got another chance to speak when she won top female vocalist, beating out the likes of Swift and Underwood. The tearful Lambert was in disbelief at her win.
Lady A also had a connection to one of the night’s other winners, Luke Bryan, who nabbed top new artist. Lady A’s Kelley and Dave Haywood helped their good buddy write his hit, “Do I.”
Paisley, after a performance of his single “Water” where he fell backwards into a pool of water on stage, won top male vocalist of the year for the fourth consecutive time.
And Brooks & Dunn, who are retiring after a summer tour, won best vocal duo for the 10th time in their two-decade long career.
“We are currently in therapy with Brett Favre trying to figure out how to waffle on this,” Kix Brooks joked after the win.
The show, held at the MGM Grand, was heavy on performances. It kicked off with Carrie Underwood and Lambert, joined on stage later by Brad Paisley, Charlie Daniels and John Fogerty, who ripped through a rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Travelin’ Band.”
“That’s how you start a television show, son!” shouted Daniels, who recently recovered from a stroke.
Swift began her performance of “Change” while soaring over the crowd on a platform. She ripped off her white dress and reveal a black outfit underneath, made her way through the crowd and joined the Tritones, a college co-ed a capella group on stage for a spirited chorus. She then fell backward into a crowd of fans.
The Zac Brown Band wasn’t able to make a show because of a USO tour in the Middle East. But the band sent video of a performance of “Chicken Fried” from overseas that included altered lyrics aimed at the military.
Keith hit an emotional note with a performance of “Cryin’ For Me (Wayman’s Song),” dedicated to his late friend, jazz artist and former basketball star Wayman Tisdale, who died last May.
The show also had it’s share of non-country celebrities, including LL Cool J, Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn and Las Vegas staple Cher, who goofed when she announced that Blake Shelton had already won a CMA Award — instead of an ACM — the previous evening.