All Things ACMs
The Academy of Country Music Awards brought the country music party to Las Vegas last night with Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan co-hosting the whole affair. Friends first, it didn’t stop them from poking fun at each other and all the nominees. From standout performances to emotional acceptance speeches, Billboard.com presents a rundown of the top 10 moments you may have missed.
1. Blake Shelton And Luke Bryan Take Jabs At Each Other
Luke Bryan is well known for his hip-shaking antics in tight jeans at his live shows, so Shelton of course had to reference his “spray-painted” jeans. “You know what Motel 6 and Luke’s jeans have in common?” Shelton asked. “There’s no ball room.”
But Bryan didn’t let Shelton have the last word. “Blake’s jeans are like buying something on credit…nothing up front. What size is that? Extra empty?” he joked.
2. Eric Church Goes Acoustic
It’s been a minute since we’ve seen Eric Church without his signature attire of a baseball cap and sunglasses. The country rocker decided to switch things up with a stripped down performance of “Like Jesus Does” off his award-winning album of the year, “Chief.” Church sat on a stool by himself in the middle of the stage for his set, which was projected in black and white except for a slight tint of his guitar and guest vocalist Valerie June dressed in red. Showing just why his album was so deserving of the award, his song struck a chord.
3. Miranda Lambert Gets Feisty With New Single
Leave it to Shelton for a memorable introduction. “This next performer is nominated for entertainer of the year and song of the year but the coolest thing is this morning I saw her naked.”
Lambert channeled her vaudeville side for a standout performance of “Mama’s Broken Heart.” Prancing around the stage in her black stilettos while screaming some of the lyrics, she captivated the crowd and had everyone, including her Pistol Annies bandmates, singing and dancing along.
4. Miranda And Blake Are The New June & Johnny
It’s hard not to root for country’s new royalty. During their acceptance speech for song of the year, Shelton gave his wife all the credit. “Last time this happened you didn’t get a chance to talk and you’re not going to get chance this time either,” he said. “I’ve learned so much from this human being standing next to me. She blows me away. I used to think I was a decent songwriter until I was hanging around with her and this is proof of it. Thank you so much baby. I love you.”
5. Little Big Town Get Artistic
Little Big Town have been releasing hit after hit thanks to their album “Tornado.” While their past few singles have showed off their aggressive and fun-loving side, their performance of “Your Side of the Bed” introduced a new aspect to the band. The poignant ballad was brought to life as dancers were suspended in air.
6. Pistol Annies Are America’s Sweethearts
Sometimes award shows are best spent with your girlfriends and Pistol Annies’ Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley were the belles of the ball last night. During every performance the cameras cut to the trio who could be found singing word for word or tearing up when Lambert took home many of the awards.
7. Brad Paisley And John Mayer Are Guitar Gods
Performing for the first time at an awards show since being diagnosed with a granuloma, John Mayer joined Brad Paisley for a standout duet on “Beat This Summer.” Mayer kicked off the song on vocals while rotating lines and guitar riffs with Paisley. Putting his own bluesy spin on the track, Mayer impressed while Paisley continued to showcase his fast fingers and signature guitar licks.
8. Miranda Shows Her Soft Side
It’s hard to imagine a girl with a mic stand in the shape of a rifle will ever let her guard down, but Lambert did just that. After winning her award for female vocalist of the year she confessed she didn’t think she’d win. “I for sure thought Carrie had this and she damn well deserved it.” Earlier, she explained why she didn’t say much when she accepted the award for song of the year. “I didn’t know what to say about song of the year because my husband was about to make me bawl and I was trying to keep it together.”
9. Luke Bryan Is Speechless
His first time nominated as entertainer of the year, Bryan took the stage to accept his award in tears. After trying to compose himself he finally got a few words out and it was evident just how much this award meant to him as he thanked his fans. “Thank you so much for making my life what it is. What I always wanted to be was just a country singer that got to ride on a tour bus and show up at a new stage and play new music every night,” he said. “I swear to God, every time I step on stage it’s a blessing for me to play to fans. This is the defining moment of my life and it means the world to me and I will never take it for granted.”
10. Stevie Wonder Makes Everyone Sing
Stevie Wonder closed the show and with good reason. There wasn’t one person seated when he took the stage for “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” Faith Hill joined Shania Twain in singing in the audience while Taylor Swift danced along. Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton and Hunter Hayes joined the band onstage for an epic end to the 48th annual Academy of Country Music Awards.
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