It’s your live blog for the 47th annual ACM Awards show and red carpet, complete with streaming link for the red carpet! Red carpet stream starts at 6 PM Eastern and the show starts at 8 PM Eastern. Come on in and join the party!
Y’all, because this is Vegas this year’s show is expected to feature several over the top stunts including a live wedding serenaded by Martina McBride and former Kris Allen duet partner Pat Monahan singing Train’s former hit and Martina’s current single “Marry Me.” Other storylines include Kenny Chesney who comes into the night with 9 nominations, several for his critically acclaimed duet with Grace Potter, “You & Tequila” (look for him to debut a new duet called “Feel Like A Rock Star” with Tim McGraw), Jason Aldean who has 6 nominations and had the biggest year of anybody in country music when you look at radio and album/download sales, and Toby Keith’s nominated “Red Solo Cup” (which he will be performing with “special guests”). Also look out for Lady Antebellum who has enjoyed surprising industry awards love for their not very well-reviewed 3rd album and expected Top Female Vocalist winner Miranda Lambert. On a somber note, Steve Martin is expected to pay tribute to legendary banjo player Earl Scruggs, who passed away Thursday.
The show is cohosted by Reba and Voice coach Blake Shelton. Idols featured include Carrie Underwood who will open the show. She is expected to perform a low-key ballad…just kidding! Carrie’s teased that they’ve got “really fun tricks” planned for the first televised performance of her new single “Good Girl.” She’s also up for 2 awards (neither of which she’s expected to win after a quiet 2011 by her standards). Scotty McCreery will present at the ACMs, perform a shortened version of his new single
Mercury Nashville Hates Windmills “Water Tower Town” from the ACM Fan Jam, and he’s the favorite to take home the partly fan-voted New Artist Of The Year award. Meanwhile Kelly Clarkson will attend and is nominated in 2 categories for her duet with Jason Aldean, whose smash crossover success makes them the leading contender in both their categories (Single Of The Year and Vocal Event Of The Year).
So, get your Taylor Swift-patented SCHCHOCKED faces on and let’s get talking!
Red Carpet Stream
DISCLAIMER: This live blog will contain snark and especially pathetic attempts at humor. The opinions expressed reflect those of the author only and not those of management.
If there’s a lesson the ACMs should learn from tonight, it’s that more often than not, simplicity trumps ambitious production/inconsistent execution. It’s common for live TV music shows to have sound problems but tonight may have set a record for the number of times a performer gestured towards their earpiece and/or had to adjust their mic pack. Most performers had to sing at uncomfortable levels to be heard over their bands, and it usually threw them off pitch. As for our hosts, Reba and Blake struggled with teleprompter reading and mostly lame, sometimes mean jokes. They are both capable of better. Country music is capable of better. Last year’s ACMs were crazy fun in a good way because most of the performances were good with some great, watercooler worthy moments. This year’s ACMs went for crazier fun and whiffed. Looking ahead, the CMA producers should be thanking their lucky stars for a writing and host team that has such chemistry, and they should not try to outcrazy the ACMs – they can trump this show by keeping the performances simple and about the music.
P.S. Kenny Chesney started the night with 9 nominations and didn’t win a single award. I’m not too big a Kenny fan but that doesn’t seem right. At the very least I think “You & Tequila” got robbed in at least one category (Song Of The Year).
UPDATE 36: Lionel Richie and Blake Shelton close the night with their duet of “You Are”. As was the case with most of tonight’s performances, the performance goes south as soon as they try to kick up the volume for the chorus. Rough harmonies but they’re getting by on charm. Lionel Richie still has it. The performance gets cut off.
UPDATE 35: Lionel Richie talks about how much he’s enjoyed the perfomances from the 5 Entertainer Of The Year nominees tonight. That’s funny because only 4 of the 5 nominees actually performed (Taylor did not perform). Anyway, he presents Taylor with the partly fan voted Entertainer Of The Year award and she’s been made fun of enough about it that she doesn’t look shocked. Sweet shout out to Kevin McGuire, the cancer-stricken high school football player who was supposed to be her date tonight but was hospitalized just yesterday. An adult acceptance speech from Taylor, now some adult music would be nice.
UPDATE 34: Reba introduces Taylor Swift to present Top Male Vocalist to Blake Shelton. Oh please, Blake, you didn’t see this coming? It’s not like your team hasn’t been working in overdrive trying to make this happen. But, good speech otherwise quoting Dierks’s song “Home”. And, this is his 1st time winning this award at the ACMs (he’s won it 2 years running at the CMAs).
UPDATE 33: Luke Bryan is up to perform and he’s eased up on the Windmills hatred because he’s not performing that awful “Country Girl Shake It For Me” song. Instead he’s performing his recent #1 “I Don’t Want This Night To End”. This is actually not half bad and that’s partly because he doesn’t even try to outsing the band. Far from perfect vocally but good energy to this performance and it’s one of the few tonight that worked.
UPDATE 32: We now come to the portion of the show with much touted on stage wedding that’s serenaded by Martina McBride and Pat Monahan singing “Marry Me”. First Martina sounds like she’s singing in a cave, then she is virtually inaudible when she sings falsetto. The performance is marred by awkward cuts between the officiator marrying the couple and Martina/Pat singing. I think the audio levels are probably under constant adjustment for the 2 parts of this performance and it’s just not working at all. But, congrats to the happy couple (the one that got married, I mean)!
UPDATE 31: Bono (yeah, him) introduces Dierks Bentley performing the lovingly patriotic (as opposed to Toby Keith boot up your ass patriotic) “Home”. A little flat as Dierks usually is but it’s a good song.
UPDATE 30: We’re back to Mandalay Bay where Zac Brown Band performs “Whiskey’s Gone”, joined by Brad Paisley on a great guitar solo. This is a jam and a hoedown, the most fun serious performance there’s been all night, and the musicianship is great. LOLZ at Brad Paisley wearing a beanie to fit in with the band!
UPDATE 29: Blake has his 1st charming moment of the night introducing his wife Miranda Lambert performing “Over You”. She’s a little off from the band and is struggling with her earpiece a little, so I’m thinking we’ve got the same issue as most everybody’s had tonight. This isn’t a bad performance but it’s inconsistent as far as tone and phrasing with a few pitch bobbles thrown in there. What it has going for it is Miranda’s emotion. This song is one she and Blake wrote about Blake’s brother being killed in a tragic car accident when Blake was a teenager.
UPDATE 28: Ashton Kutcher is decked out in a cowboy hat and a loud red coat. He gamely tries to sing a few bars of George Strait’s “Cross My Heart”. I guess that was charming. He presents the ACM for Top Female Vocalist to Miranda Lambert who expresses how grateful she is and how proud she is of country music having a night like this.
UPDATE 27: Next up are Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw singing their new duet “Feel Like A Rock Star”. Kenny starts out flat, Tim sounds a lot better when he comes in for his verse. Kenny substitutes “butt” for “ass” but Tim’s not about that. This song sounds like a Jason Aldean/Jake Owen reject but it’s the kind of poorly written wannabe crowd pleaser that should go over great at country radio. Best thing about this performance is probably Tim McGraw’s leather pants.
UPDATE 26: Marc Anthony stumbles through his introduction of Sara Evans, who oversings “My Heart Can’t Tell You No”. She’s got a beautiful vocal tone but she’s been hit with the “too loud band that she has to yell over to be heard” stick. Recurring theme tonight. She’s going out of tune every time she tries to belt.
UPDATE 25: After calling “Red Solo Cup” the biggest surprise hit since Osama bin Laden said “Who is it?”, Blake introduces Toby Keith. He is not even pretending to be sober as he performs “Red Solo Cup” as he strolls through the crowd with Carrot Top. I think he just said “fruit to the moon” instead of “fruit to my loom”. Eric Church and Carrie are totally singing along though, and Keith & Nicole were clearly entertained by this performance.
UPDATE 24: Reba and Blake stumble through a tribute to Earl Scruggs. That segues into Steve Martin joining Rascal Flatts for a performance of their current single “Banjo”. Bad sign that Gary Levox is already gesturing at his mic pack and ear monitors at the beginning but the performance isn’t too bad, at least not until they turn into into an arena rock song. The banjo player who is not Steve Martin is getting way more feature time.
UPDATE 23: The Band Perry is out at Mandalay Bay to present the ACM for (fan-voted, according to them) New Artist Of The Year to Scotty McCreery! He shakes hands with Brantley Gilbert and Hunter Hayes and also gives them a very classy shout out. He thanks God, country radio, and the fans.
UPDATE 22: Scotty throws it back to the MGM Grand, introducing his tourmate Brad Paisley who is up performing his “Camouflage”, one of the few superstar novelty songs that country radio didn’t take to lately. The best thing about this song is Brad’s guitar picking.
UPDATE 21: Scotty McCreery’s on singing “Water Tower Town” at the ACM Fan Jam. He’s ditched the suit coat and the tie and looks great performing. He’s oversinging a little bit but overall a solid performance and the guy looks so comfortable up there on stage. Seems too short but that’s what they did to all the New Artist nominees.
UPDATE 20: After a tired Lindsay Lohan joke and an awkwardly delivered Jet Blue crazy pilot joke, Blake and Reba introduce Lady Antebellum performing their current single “Dancin Away With My Heart”. It’s a classy, elegant performance, one of their better ones lately though Charles Kelley struggles a little bit with control.
UPDATE 19: Jake Owen and Leann Rimes present the ACM for Single Of The Year to Jason Aldean and the gorgeous lady in red Kelly Clarkson plus producer Michael Knox for “Don’t You Wanna Stay”!
UPDATE 18: Brantley Gilbert introduces Eric Church singing his smash in the making “Springsteen”. This sunglasses everywhere look is Eric’s signature look I guess. Eric’s not the most in tune he’s ever been but oh well. Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman are loving this song.
UPDATE 17: New Artist Of The Year nominee Brantley Gilbert offkey growls his way through his #1 hit “Country Must Be Country Wide”, complete with Burger King flames in the background. Brantley’s New Artist nomination is supported by the fact that he cowrote Jason Aldean’s big hit “Dirt Road Anthem”.
UPDATE 16: KISS takes the stage with exposed chest hair. What was been seen cannot be unseen. At least Carrie looks amused. They present Top Vocal Group to Lady Antebellum.
UPDATE 15: Shoutout by Reba & Blake to Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson for winning Vocal Event Of The Year! And, Jason’s up to perform his current single “Fly Over States”. Jason’s been working to improve his vocals and stage presence, so this is a solid bit from him though the band’s too loud and he still occasionally sounds like the Swedish Chef with his enunciation. Nice jeans too. You can see Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum jamming. They were very enthusiastic hugging Miranda after her Album win too. Not a big fan of their music but they are classy.
UPDATE 14: We’re back to Mandalay Bay, where New Artist Of The Year nominee Hunter Hayes performs a clip of “Storm Warning” after being applauded by Zac Brown for playing on his own records. Hunter then introduces a song he cowrote to support the ACM’s coventure with ConAgra Foods to fight child hunger called “Here’s Hope.” It’s performed by Little Big Town in a mashup with John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Less production + LBT’s divine harmonies = WIN.
UPDATE 13: Eli Young Band and Grace Potter present the ACM for Album Of The Year to Miranda Lambert and her producers Chuck Ainsley and Frank Liddell. A good winner, though Eric Church made the better album (IMHO of course).
UPDATE 12: Cohost Blake Shelton performs his current single “Drink On It”. Even he looks and sings a little tired. He’s got more work to do tonight!
UPDATE 11: The ACM for Song Of The Year goes to “Crazy Girl” by Eli Young Band, cowritten by Lee Brice and Liz Rose.
UPDATE 10: LL Cool J gives a shout out to the military and introduces Keith Urban performing his song from the Act Of Valor soundtrack, “For You”. He’s still working his way back from vocal cord surgery last November but has been getting stronger since his Opry performance in February.
UPDATE 9: The Band Perry performing their new single “Postcard From Paris”. She’s having to oversing to be heard over the band.
UPDATE 8: Reba & Blake throw over to Sugarland at Mandalay Bay, where the ACM Fan Jam is taking place. Sugarland introduces Zac Brown Band, the ACM Fan Jam headliner. They’re performing “Keep Me In My Mind.”
UPDATE 7: Chris Young performing
The ACM Producers Hate Windmills “Save Water, Drink Beer” instead of his excellent new single “Neon”. Sounding good though.
UPDATE 6: Reba & Blake Shelton open with a joke about Randy Travis’s drinking issue. Classy. Now they’re dissing each other’s careers. Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow references. Blake says the Broncos were so desperate for a Super Bowl, they were willing to sacrifice a virgin. OK, that was funny. Blake talks about Taylor’s fragrance and says its name is [insert Taylor Swift shocked face]. LOLZ though Taylor doesn’t look amused. Republican primary jokes now (Newt Gingrich can’t even snag a nomination, Mitt Romney lost Blake’s vote by citing Keith Urban as his favorite country singer).
UPDATE 5: Carrie opens the show with “Good Girl”. Pink lit up mic. Big production with lights, lasers, and silhouettes, and she’s having to fight to be heard especially over the extremely loud bass. A few pitch bobbles here and there but she nails the bridge. She changes up the phrasing towards the end to work around any breathing issues. You can tell she’s out of breath at the end of the song. Not her best, but not bad. Carrie nails this with less production, so let’s go with that next time.
UPDATE 4: Toby Keith wins Music Video Of The Year for “Red Solo Cup”. That’s right folks. “Red Solo Cup” is now an award winner!
UPDATE 3: Scotty McCreery was just interviewed on the red carpet by Nan Kelley. He’s looking fly in a three piece black suit, black tie, and charcoal grey vest!
UPDATE 2: Carrie Underwood looking GORGEOUS on the red carpet in a pale yellow Abed Mahfouz gown. She tells The Tennessean she’s nervous about her 1st performance and has been working on breath control for the very vocally challenging “Good Girl”. On the GAC show she showers cohost Nan Kelley with compliments, confesses she’s been stepping all over her dress already, and talks about how the best thing about a night like this is how it’s a celebration of country music.
UPDATE 1: Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson won the ACM Award for Vocal Event Of The Year for “Don’t You Wanna Stay”. Congrats! Click the link for a picture of Jason accepting the trophy on the red carpet. Last night, Thompson Square received the ACM for Top Vocal Duo.