KEITH URBAN was the Entertainer of the Year at last night’s ACMs. KACEY MUSGRAVES won Top Female Artist, and Album of the Year for “Golden Hour”. THOMAS RHETT won the other big award, taking home Top Male Artist.
DAN + SHAY also had a huge night. They won Top Vocal Duo, and their hit “Tequila” won Song of the Year and Single of the Year.
REBA MCENTIRE hosted like the pro that she is. You knew she’d joke about country music’s “female problem.” Here’s the best one: “Do you know it snowed in Las Vegas a few weeks ago? It was so cold it froze us women out of Entertainer of the Year.”
The women may have been cheated out of the top award, but they did not let it get them down. They had many of the best performances of the night.
MIRANDA LAMBERT didn’t add to her record 32 ACM wins but she did tear through a medley of hits to remind us why she’s a champ. She did “Kerosene”, “Gunpowder & Lead”, “Mama’s Broken Heart”, “White Liar”, and “Little Red Wagon”.
ASHLEY MCBRYDE showed some serious talent, bringing the crowd to their feet with an acoustic version of “Girl Goin’ Nowhere”. And she traded lines with ERIC CHURCH during his political protest song, “The Snake”.
LITTLE BIG TOWN introduced an emotional new song called, “The Daughters”. It’s about women’s empowerment and it really hit home with the crowd. When it was over the camera panned to several women in the audience who were moved to tears.
LANCO brought some serious energy to the show when they did “Rival” . . . and OLD DOMINION’s performance of “Make It Sweet” had everybody out of their seats.
Traditional country was represented when GEORGE STRAIT sang “God and Country Music”, and a little later when Miranda Lambert joined him for his classic song, “Run”.
George Strait also passed the torch to JASON ALDEAN as the latest ACM Artist of the Decade. Jason performed “Lights Come On”,“Don’t You Wanna Stay” with KELLY CLARKSON, and “Dirt Road Anthem”. He got choked up in his thank you speech.
The big all-star performance was strong. “This Is Us” actress CHRISSY METZ sang “I’m Standing With You” from her movie “Breakthrough”. She was joined by Lauren Alaina, Mickey Guyton, Maddie & Tae, and Carrie Underwood.
And there was a great moment when DIERKS BENTLEY teamed up with BRANDI CARLILE for their song, “Travelin’ Light”. Man, did she cut it loose.
(Taste of Country has a selection of Red Carpet pics. People.com did a slide show of country couples on the Red Carpet. Billboard.com has photos from all over the night.)
Entertainer of the Year: Keith Urban
Top Male Vocalist: Thomas Rhett
Top Female Vocalist: Kacey Musgraves
Top Vocal Group: Old Dominion
Top Vocal Duo: Dan + Shay
Album of the Year: “Golden Hour”, Kacey Musgraves
Song of the Year: “Tequila”, Dan + Shay
Single Record of the Year: “Tequila”, Dan + Shay
Video of the Year: Chris Janson,“Drunk Girl”
Vocal Event of the Year: “Burning Man”, Dierks Bentley and Brothers Osborne
(Best New Artist was once again split into three categories, and they were announced last month. Lanco won New Duo/Group, Luke Combs won New Male Vocalist, and Ashley McBryde was named New Female Vocalist.)