The 2022 ACM Awards, which returned to its longtime home in Las Vegas this year, have concluded, with a slate of new winners including Miranda Lambert (who earns her first entertainer of the year trophy), Carly Pearce (who took home female artist of the year, as well as music event of the year for her collaboration with Ashley McBryde), male artist of the year winner Chris Stapleton, Lainey Wilson (new female artist of the year and song of the year winner, with nods as both artist and writer) and more.
For all of the music and awards acceptance speeches fans heard during the broadcast at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium, that wasn’t the only place to catch the winners’ joy and excitement. Many moments shone just as brightly backstage in the press room area.
Here, Billboard shares things viewers didn’t see during the broadcast
Three-time ACM winner Lainey Wilson Offered Advice to Her Younger Self
“If I could talk to Lainey who moved here in 2011 in a camper trailer, I’d say a lot of people are going to think you’re crazy, and you might be a little bit,” she told reporters backstage. “But put in the time, roll up your sleeves, elbow grease, faith and you’re going to be ok. Just tell the truth and write the truth and let your light shine.”
Old Dominion’s Matthew Ramsey Expressed Support for People in Ukraine
“I’m feeling very grateful that we are living in a country that allows us to fight for our dreams. These are things that we take for granted that we can work so hard, and we imagine something and we can make it happen….but also, my heart just hurts for the people right now who are hiding in basements and trying to get out of the country and their very way of life, their lives the lives of their children are in danger all the time. It’s a strange feeling to be dressing up in these nice clothes and in this beautiful building. I feel grateful, but also just silly at the same time, if that makes sense.”
Brothers Osborne member TJ Osborne Expounded on His Earlier Awards Show Comment About The Duo’s Single Being Pulled From Country Radio
“I mentioned this recently in an article just with us feeling like we’re underdogs the whole time and that’s part of it, is that we don’t get necessarily a lot of the love that some of the other artists do on radio,” Osborne told reporters backstage. “I’m not necessarily criticizing anyone specifically for that, but it’s just a fact, and to be there tonight, I guess some people were upset that I said that. Like, I said a true statement, I don’t know, our single literally got pulled last week and we just won an award. If you’re upset about that, maybe you’re part of the problem.”
Osborne added, “There are a lot more avenues and to have a lot of success at radio is really amazing and has done a lot of people a lot of good, has changed their lives, but there are more than one way to do it. At one point, there wasn’t, and now there are a lot of ways. We see people getting successes through winning awards, and our beautiful industry lifting us up, and other people building their careers just via the Internet with no record deals at all, so there are a lot of opportunities for lot of artists and in my own humble opinion, I think that is amazing. I think that’s incredible and a beacon for us in this industry.”
New Male Artist of the Year Winner Parker McCollum Said He Won’t Be Singing at His Own Wedding
McCollum will wed Hallie Ray Light later this month, but he told reporters backstage at the ACM Awards that doesn’t mean he’ll be singing. “That’s my day off,” McCollum said, adding that he was asked if he wanted to sing. “I said, ‘If you want to write me that check, I’ll sing.’ But I don’t think I’m going to.”
Jason Aldean Said He is “Kind of at Peace” With His History in Las Vegas following the tragedy of Route 91
“It’s not quite the way I wanted to be attached to the city by any means, but I do feel a special connection to this city, and moreso since Route 91. But I mean, I enjoy coming back here,” Aldean told reporters backstage. “I always enjoy being here and some of the highlights of my career happened here in this town, at this particular [ACM Awards] show, so I have a lot of great memories here and I enjoy coming back, with the exception of the one time, it’s always been great. I think for me, obviously it’s something we think about a lot and probably always will, but I feel like for me personally, I am kind of at a peace with everything and just try to move on and make the best of a bad situation. That’s all you can do.”
HARDY Gave Props to Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert and Morgan Wallen
“It started with FGL,” said HARDY, the ACM Awards’ songwriter of the year winner for 2022. “They were the first-ever people—I was nobody—but they were the ones who were like, ‘You are doing something cool and we want to do what you are doing.’ Since then, Dierks has been a guy that really believes in my craft and what I do. Brantley Gilbert, Morgan Wallen…there have been so many. The past couple of years have been crazy, because I’ll just get a text from somebody saying, ‘I’m trying to finish my record…do you want to help me?’”
Brothers Osborne’s TJ Osborne Talked About Growing Representation in Country Music
“I think it’s important in a lot of ways,” TJ said. “I think originally, I didn’t really understand the gravity of it for the moment when I would come out and share that with everyone, how that would help so many other people, and that has been such a beautiful thing to experience. Country for the longest time has prided itself on being, as Harlan Howard said, three chords and the truth, and I think now that it is a place where you can live your own truth, I think it is that way and an awards show with so much different representation with my brother and me and Brittney [Spencer] that was really cool.”
Carly Pearce Discussed Female Artists Winning Numerous ACM Honors
“I feel like for the last year I’ve been saying, ‘The ladies are here to stay.’ I feel like so many amazing women are in our format right now and I’m just so proud to be a part of it…It feels so good to see people that I admire, and people that I’ve championed, win.”
Carrie Underwood Discussed Her Dramatic Entrance During Her Performance of “If I Didn’t Love You” With Aldean
“This is my home away from home with our [Reflection Las Vegas] residency not too far from here, so I feel like I’ve gotten a taste for Vegas showmanship and it’s so much fun. We were thinking of ways to make this performance fresh and fun. When someone said, ‘How would you feel about descending from the ceiling?’ I was like, ‘I’d feel good about that.’ I was excited and it was something I’d never done before and I’m always up for trying new things and adding a bit of danger to the moment.”
The 57th Academy of Country Music Awards is produced by MRC Live & Alternative, which is owned by MRC. MRC is a co-owner of Billboard through a joint venture with Penske Media titled P-MRC.