Country music’s newest trophyfest, the American Country Awards, held its third annual event Monday night (12/10) at Las Vegas’s Mandalay Bay Events Center. The show was packed with performances, starting with Luke Bryan’s opening number “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.” As usual, he was having as much fun onstage as onlookers were in the audience. He went on to earn nine guitar awards, including top honor Artist of the Year. Full winners list here and photos here.
Hosts Kristin Chenoweth and Trace Adkins kept the hokey jokes flying, including Adkins carrying his half-pint counterpart in a baby-sling during a reference to Hillary Scott’s recent pregnancy news. Unfortunately, all the gags weren’t as timely, such as Chenoweth’s impersonation of Honey Boo Boo, and the “motorboating” jokes that just won’t go away.
The event had several highlights, including a teary-eyed Lauren Alaina winning New Artist who confessed to the audience, “I can’t breathe!” The show also handed out Breakthrough Artist honors to Jake Owen, but didn’t elaborate on the difference in the categories.
Dierks Bentley turned in a solid performance of “Country and Cold Cans.” Kip Moore showed growing stage confidence as he worked the front row, slapping hands during his medley of hits “Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck” and “Beer Money.”
Jason Aldean offered a solo take of “The Only Way I Know,” his current single which features Luke Bryan and Eric Church on the recorded version.
Following an introduction by Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham, Keith Urban took the stage with seven young musicians who participated in the GRAMMY Camp music program for an inspiring performance of “Crossroads.”
Owen sang his hit “The One That Got Away,” but the set borrowed a little too heavily from LBT’s much-talked-about CMT Awards performance of “Pontoon.”
The show scored a 1.4 rating for the key demographic, adults 18-49, down 30% from last year’s 2.0, according to preliminary ratings from Zap2It.com. About 5.12 million tuned in.
The ACAs will re-air on GAC Wednesday, Dec. 26, at 9:00 pm ET.