Nashville, Vegas and Hollywood have mixed their brew of rising stars with award shows that cross the boundaries of selfies and stardom. The glitz usually reserved for the Academy Awards has sprouted new glamour, humor and tributes in the world of country stars. The Academy of Country Music Awards opted out of Nashville, beyond the Grand Old Opry and ventured into the heartland of celebrity and special effects. Not just a down home country show featuring the likes of Barbara Mandrell and Kenny Rogers anymore, the ACM awards show highlighted the achievements and accolades beyond the hats and halter tops.
Hosted by Blake Shelton, singer and judge from The Voice and Luke Bryan, mega hit monger in recent years, the duo orchestrated their jokes with wit and wisdom. Paying tribute to recognized stars, the show was a hit on Sunday night with awaited announcements from the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Dancing in the aisles were Taylor Swift, who is growing up before our eyes, Keith Urban and Tim McGraw. Darius Rucker rocked the group and Hunter Hayes promoted his charity Child Hunger Ends Here.
Special performances punctuated the evening with blond and brunette beauties, studs with cowboy hats and limited limo service to Mandalay Bay Casino of encore acts. As guitars imploded the stage, emotions were ripe with affection and attention with such presenters as Kellie Pickler, Trisha Yearwood and Sheryl Crow. Tight jeans and make-up did not distract from the overall attitude of gratitude and giving. The huge group of united ACM comrades have a common bond through their music and missions.
Rising above the hoopla of backward hats and fake rhinestones, the crew on stage and in the audience enjoyed the ride of the show and the rise to fame from the endeared fans. Each humble acceptance was a tribute to the fans that have purchased records and albums. Owing thanks to all, each performer seemed easily in cahoots with the next ACM award winner.
A highlight of the evening involved Stevie Nicks and Lady Antebellum singing Golden. The group sung with ease including Nicks’ sexy, husky voice. Most enjoyable, as Fleetwood Mac is scheduled for a new tour starting this summer. The constant and comforting drumbeat throughout the awards show helped to unite the flair, finesse and unmasked flirting.
As ACM winners were announced, Merle Haggard stood by. On his 77th birthday, he was honored with a special tribute. The once wayward soul was recognized for his contribution to country music and was applauded by all. Other keen acts were enjoyed as Keith Urban, Tim McGraw and Toby Keith took the stage. A force within the country world of music was felt beyond the awards.
As Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood presented outstanding awards, the audience was awed unsurprisingly with the most deserving of ACM recipients. Earning record of the year was Miranda Lambert for Mama’s Broken Heart. Male vocalist was awarded to Jason Aldean, standing proud with his cowboy hat and earrings. Album of the year went to Kacey Musgraves for Same Trailer Different Park. Vocal Group of the year was The Band Perry. Entertainer of the year was unsurprisingly awarded to George Strait, a most deserving contributer for many years in country music.
By: Roanne FitzGibbon
Country Music Awards