Jason Aldean won Entertainer of the Year at the ACM Awards, while Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town and Chris Stapleton racked up multiple wins on Sunday night (April 3) in Las Vegas.
“I was just starting to think this one wasn’t in the cards for me,” he said, referencing the fact that he’s been nominated for the last six years in that category, but only just now won the award. Because he is a former Male Vocalist and Top New Male Vocalist winner, Aldean can also claim a rare Triple Crown achievement. He thanked his wife and daughters, his business associates, country radio and country fans. “This is one of the best nights of my professional career,” he stated.
Lambert and Little Big Town won a Vocal Event of the Year award for “Smokin’ and Drinkin'” during a red carpet appearance. As the show progressed, Little Big Town picked up their third Vocal Group of the Year award. Lambert, meanwhile, collected her seventh consecutive Female Vocalist award.
Stapleton continues to rack up awards, for Album of the Year (Traveller), Male Vocalist of the Year, and Song of the Year (“Nobody to Blame”). Prior to the telecast he was named New Male Vocalist. As previously announced, Kelsea Ballerini picked up New Female Vocalist and Old Dominion claimed New Duo/Group of the Year.
Dolly Parton won the Tex Ritter Award for achievements in presenting country music in film, saluting her TV movie, Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors. One of the most star-studded performances came when Parton and Katy Perry teamed up for a medley of “Coat of Many Colors,” “Jolene,” and “9 to 5.” Parton wore a glittery, multi-colored jacket and white pants, while Perry pulled out a pink, shiny outfit with yellow accents, and they hammed it up with funny choreography and silly riffing. Alyvia Alyn Lind, who starred as a young Parton in the movie, danced in the audience.
Other highlights included Blake Shelton’s surprise appearance at the beginning of the show, when he suddenly appeared to overshadow Dierks Bentley’s first year as co-host, stepping out on stage to surprise Luke Bryan, who couldn’t help but grin.
New singles were the name of the game in Las Vegas. Bryan performed “Huntin, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day,” Shelton sang “Came Here to Forget” and, later in the show in the middle of the audience at MGM Grand, Bentley offered “Somewhere on a Beach.”
Eric Church’s rendition of “Record Year” paid tribute to late heroes like David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Lemmy and Scott Weiland. Charles Kelley offered “Lonely Girl” from his new solo album, Ballerini teamed up with Nick Jonas for a mashup for “Love Me Like You Mean It” and “Peter Pan,” and Cam brought the rowdy crowd to a hush with “Burning House.” Cole Swindell scaled it way back for an acoustic rendering of “You Should Be Here.”
Kenny Chesney roused the crowd with “Noise,” while Stapleton took a subdued approach with “Fire Away.” Aldean’s “Lights Come On” and Keith Urban’s “Wasted Time” previewed new albums, while Thomas Rhett delivered “Die a Happy Man.” Earlier in the night, he picked up his first ACM Award when that tune won Single of the Year.
Other performance slots included Sam Hunt’s elegant “Make You Miss Me,” Tim McGraw’s eloquent “Humble and Kind,” Old Dominion’s catchy “Snapback,” and Carrie Underwood’s dramatic “Church Bells,” incorporating the impactful production value that she’s become known for.
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