LAS VEGAS (AP) — Everything went to script Sunday night at the
Academy of Country Music Awards until the end — when Luke Bryan pulled off an
amazing upset and won Entertainer of the Year.
Bryan beat out some of country music's top stars, including two-time winner
Taylor Swift and overall award leader Miranda Lambert, in an upset that few
would have predicted. The 36-year-old Georgia native recently began headlining
his first arena tour and was the co-host of this year's show.
After an emotional speech, co-host and fellow nominee Blake Shelton held
Bryan up and joked that he won in his "first and last year as co-host" of the
Shelton shared one award with Lambert, his wife, for "Over You," the deeply
personal song they co-wrote. With three other wins — including her fourth
straight as Female Vocalist of the Year — Lambert was the night's most-honored
"Over You," written by the couple about Shelton's late brother, won Song of
the Year at the Country Music Association Awards last November as well.
"As a songwriter, having your song and your lyrics recognized by your peers
is pretty much as good as it gets," Lambert said. "And I'm so thankful for being
in this genre of country music, every single time someone's nominated, I just
cheer, because I love everybody to death. So thank you for accepting me as a
songwriter, not just as a singer, because that means the world to me."
Eric Church won two awards, including Album of the Year, and was tied with
Jason Aldean, Little Big Town and Florida Georgia Line.
Church, this year's top nominee, also won Vocal Event of the Year for his
collaboration with Aldean and Luke Bryan on "The Only Way I Know," and performed
his somber but powerful song "Like Jesus Does" with only an acoustic guitar and
a backup singer.
"I can't believe I just met John Fogerty," Church said as he accepted the
album award from the Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman and Lambert. "We
should hang out later."
Aldean, country's top-selling male act, won male Vocalist of the Year. Little
Big Town had wins for Vocal Group of the Year and Video of the Year. Florida
Georgia Line won for New Artist of the Year and were previous winners in the New
Vocal Duo or Group of the Year category.
Bryan took his turn: "Blake's jeans are like buying something on credit —
nothing up front. I mean, what size are those, extra empty?"
Husband and wife Shawna and Keifer Thompson continued their feel-good story
as Thompson Square won its second straight Vocal Duo of the Year award.
Shawna Thompson gave a shoutout to her mother from onstage.
Tears came to her eyes backstage as she explained that her father had
recently passed away, and she wanted to acknowledge her mother during her
acceptance speech to support her.
"She's just having a really hard time," she said.
The night was full of colorful performances, but the anticipation of Garth
Brooks and George Strait performing together overshadowed almost everything
else. The two paid tribute to the late Dick Clark, the executive producer of the
show since 1979 who passed away a year ago.
Brooks appeared onstage in a flannel shirt and black cowboy hat with a Fu
Manchu mustache to perform his hit "The Dance," before Strait joined him for
"The Cowboy Rides Away."
Reba McEntire introduced the two and paid tribute to Clark, momentarily
breaking down as tears appeared in her eyes.
"He would slap me if he saw me crying up here," she said.
Shelton kicked the show off with his new single "Boys 'Round Here," a
hip-hop-flavored ode to redneck swag. He was joined by Bryan, Brad Paisley,
Sheryl Crow and Pistol Annies, a trio that includes his wife, Lambert.
Strait made his first appearance of the night earlier, singing "Give It All
We Got Tonight." Lady Antebellum debuted their new song "Downtown," and Charles
Kelley finished off the song by rubbing pregnant trio-mate Hillary Scott's
belly. Carrie Underwood stepped out of a black Cadillac parked on stage as she
started her song, "Two Black Cadillacs."
Lambert appeared later performing a fiery, diamond-studded rendition of her
recent hit "Mama's Broken Heart."
John Mayer joined Paisley for a guitar summit on "Beat This Summer," and
Taylor Swift and Keith Urban joined Tim McGraw onstage for "Highway Don't Care,"
which Urban finished off with a scorching guitar solo.
I agree with you. Alot of these so called 'country' singers aren't singing country at all. Sounds more rock, pop, and rock-a-billy. And OMG alot of people may like her and that is great. But Taylor Swift was just on singing with Tim McGraw and Keith Urban and she can't sing.....Omg that sounds horrible!!!! She ruined it completely! And the girl needs to eat, she doesn't even have a shape to her she is so thin. I think I will turn the channel and just read who won tomorrow cause this just sucks!
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