American Country Awards 2012 – Live Blog & Discussion!

Welcome to your 2012 American Country Awards live blog & discussion post, featuring rescue attempts a performance by Keith Urban and appearances by Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina, Casey James, and Carrie Underwood. Tonight’s proceedings will be cohosted for the 2nd straight year by Trace Adkins and Kristin Chenoweth.

Luke Bryan opens the show with his latest #1 country hit “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” and his trademark grinding hips. Yeah. Carrie’s singing along.

We get a pretaped skit from our cohosts Trace & Kristin that plays off their height differential and has them reminiscing fondly over their baby carrier gag from last year (Trace carried Kristin in one). This year, they take the stage Kristin in a baby-bearing sash, which they promptly gift to Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum, who recently announced her pregnancy. There’s also some kind of voting gag in which our hosts will dress up as Santa and a elf? OK?

  • Miranda Lambert presents the ACA for Group Of The Year to Lady Antebellum.
  • Dierks Bentley performs “Country & Cold Cans” from his EP of the same title.

    Ladies & gentleman, today’s country summarized in 1 simple statistic:

    Backwards baseball cap count: 2
    Cowboy hat count: 1

  • Scotty McCreery presents the ACA for New Artist Of The Year to Lauren Alaina! Congrats Lauren and her fans! She seems sincerely surprised and moved, thanking God, the fans, and hugging her award before cutely wondering if she’s even holding it right.
  • Rascal Flatts borrows the American Idol 2003 era Burger King background flames to perform “Hot In Here,” which is not their new single. Some caterwauling ensues.

    Florida-Georgia Line (who have grammar problems, or as they’d spell it, problemz and the current #1 country song “Cruise”) introduces Kip Moore to perform his current t10 single “Beer Money” in a medley with his 1st #1 hit, “Somethin’ Bout A Truck.”

    Backwards baseball count: 3
    Cowboy hat count: 1

    Comedian Ron White is up to present with his mother Barbara. After some banter about having as many Tour de France titles as Lance Armstrong, they present Breakthrough Artist Of The Year to Jake Owen.

  • Casey James, Jana Kramer, and Lee Brice present the Touring Artist Of The Year to a hatless Jason Aldean. He says awards for touring mean more to him than any other award could.
  • Trace Adkins performs Lynyrd Skynyrd. They’re singing Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “What’s Your Name”.

    We’re back from commercial break and Kristin Chenoweth is gamely doing her best Honey Boo Boo imitation. Carrie and Keith look a little confused.

    Gloriana introduces Jake Owen, who performs his latest #1 “The One That Got Away”. Is it just me, or are the ACAs mostly a showcase for 1980s pop/rock? I guess that’s country music these days.

  • Comedian Rodney Carrington joins San Francisco Giants Brandon Phelps and Barry Zito to present the ACA for Female Artist Of The Year. Rodney jokes about wanting a kiss from the winner. OK. The award goes to Carrie Underwood, who also wins the Vocal Collaboration award for “Remind Me” with Brad Paisley, bringing her 3 year total to 11 ACAs. Carrie totally almost dissed Rodney Carrington when she went up to accept her award but, he got his cheek kiss. Carrie thanks the fans, God, and her peers.
  • Dustin Lynch and Carmen Electra introduce Jason Aldean who has found his cowboy hat. He is performing his current single “The Only Way I Know.” He does the solo version (the single/album version feature Luke Bryan and Eric Church.

  • Trace Adkins wonders what Brad Paisley would do. Kristin is meanwhile locked in his guitar case. She tells him Brad would never have done that to Carrie. They introduce Penn & Teller with Lauren Alaina. They’re going to present the ACA for Single By A Female Artist, which will presumably go to Miranda Lambert (she’s there, surely she won’t go home empty-handed?). Penn & Teller also planning a magic trick involving Trace Adkins’s black hat. Lauren’s got good timing with this banter. The winner is indeed Miranda Lambert for “Over You”. Miranda gives a cute shoutout to Lauren for her endearing speech and also her husband Blake Shelton who is competing in the same timeslot on The Voice.

  • Kristin Chenoweth is up to perform “What Would Dolly Do?” She’s dragging behind the beat a little but it’s actually kind of a cute song and no doubt it’s actual country. It’s definitely better than her performance last year. The “WW double-D” though? OK that performance went south around the time she went for a “phone call” to Dolly.

  • Chris Young and Leann Rimes are up to present the ACA for Music Video Of The Year By A Group goes to Little Big Town for for the smash “Pontoon.” In the middle of their thanks, Kimberly Schlapman is surprised to discover these award guitars are actual guitars. Karen Fairchild thanks the people who bronzed their legs. LOL.

  • Kristin pimps the 2013 Fleetwood Mac tour and introduces Lindsay Buckingham, who introduces Keith Urban, who will save the show by performing Eric Clapton’s “Crossroads” with seven kids from the Grammy Foundation Camp. Keith starts off the song but backs off to let the kids shine. This is the show highlight by far.

    Eli Young Band introduces Little Big Town to perform their current single “Tornado”. They may have borrowed Carrie’s “Blown Away” wind machines and confetti storm. Reverb is a little too big but they sound great as usual. Probably the only act performing tonight who could follow Keith.

  • Newly announced Kelly Clarkson duet partner Jewel and her rodeo husband Ty Murray arrive to present the ACA Artist Of The Year award to Luke Bryan, who wins 9 ACAs tonight. Despite his shake-it/boom boom songs, Luke himself is a very likeable guy and gives a sincere speech thanking everybody he works with, and his family, as well as country music fans. Did he just call Jason Aldean baby? Isn’t that a Luke Bryan song, is someone else calling you baby? He gets played off.
  • When we come back, Lady Antebellum closes the show. But not before we are subjected to Trace Adkins the elf and Kristin the Santa Claus. *le sigh* They introduce Lady A, who sing “Christmas, Baby Please Come Home” to cap off a classy half hour of performances.

    And with that, the show is over. Thank goodness.

    Follow me

    Deb B

    Also known as Windmills, I cover country music news and live televised country events, in addition to recapping ABC's 'Nashville.' Additionally, I occasionally do long-form chart analysis that has been cited by Entertainment Weekly, Pitchfork, The Guardian, The New Republic, NPR, and more.
    Follow me

    • James M.

      And Brandon Belt and Barry Zito from the 2012 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants will be presenting Female Artist of the Year!

      GO GIANTS!

    • DoesMonaKnow

      Congrats Lauren!

    • tucker davis

      Congratulations to Lauren Alaina! She was in a tough group & won! Also looked great on stage!

    • CanadianLady

      Lousy commentary from the hosts, and they could totally skip having hosts for me. Why do they think awards shows needs opening patter anyway, never mind stupid garbage like that?

      Scotty and Lauren look great, and congratulations to Lauren for winning the BNA!

    • tucker davis

      Love seeing the Idols in this show…Scotty, Lauren, Casey J., and of course Carrie! Lauren thanked American Idol in her speech. It was touching to see Scotty embracing Lauren on stage..brought back old times!

    • CanadianLady

      And one classy looking guy sans hat named McCreery.

    • tripp_ncwy

      What!!!  Lauren. Go fans!!!

    • Lexie O’Neill

      Oh, daggum it, I missed it!  Love my daughter but swim practice shouldn’t interfere with my fan watch;)  

      Hope there will be videos!

    • AlesheaDominique

      And my snowflake pics up her first award *Yay Lauren*. Now I’m so thankful I voted everyday like a tween seeing her first WGWG on Idol. Here’s hoping Carrie and Casey J can pull out a few wins.

    • andy

      Congrats Lauren.  Love seeing these kids win their first and seeing their reaction!

    • BonnieDee

      Congrats to Lauren!!!  So happy for her.

    • tucker davis

      Loved that Lady A won the group award. My husband taught Charles & Dave in high school and thinks the world of them. They were great kids…smart & extremely talented! They continue to give back to our community. (I’m a she..Tucker is my dog!)

    • tucker davis

      Congrats to Carrie…also cute dress!

    • DoesMonaKnow

      Carrie has won the most ACAs since 2010 ever!

    • Jason Scott

      YAY! Go Carrie! :)

    • tomr

      Lauren makes Kellie look like a rocket scientist.

    • Erlinda

      Wow! I am so happy Lauren got her New Artist Of The Year award! Also happy to see Scotty was there to present the award. It’s good to see both of them..

    • Kesia Monteith

      Congrats on the award, Lauren!

    • DoesMonaKnow

      Oh dear, I was hoping we wouldn’t have to hear any more of Cheno’s attempts at singing country music. I know she can sing but the genre does not suit her.

    • DB987

       Congrats to Carrie and Lauren for her first award. Scotty giving her the award was cool he looked handsome and Lauren was stunning the kids have grown up.
      Hoping 2013 brings them continued success.

    • Jason Scott

      I was mostly disappointed in the hosting. All of Trace and Kristin’s material seemed to be 2nd rate CMA stuff…Brad and Carrie are still the BEST hosts of any awards show ever.

    • fantoo1

      Happy for Lauren!! And Carrie! Go idol! :)

    • Jason Scott

      Side note: I LOVED all the former Idols represented tonight.

      Carrie (S4), Kristy Lee Cook (S7), Taylor Hicks (S5), Scotty (S10), Lauren (S10), Casey (S9)…just impressive.

    • durbesque

      The country folk take care of business.  Always giving themselves awards for sangin’.

    • DB987

      You shouldn’t mistake either one of these ladies down home sincerity for lack of intelligence. They both know exactly what they are doing at all times.

    • DB987


    • blackberryharvest

      Aw, Lauren looked genuinely moved. Now we get an idea of how she would have reacted if she won American Idol lol.

    • write4yourlife now

      This comment is absurd. Lauren is known to be brilliant, both on stage, and off.  And clearly, Kellie hasn’t done too badly for herself either!

      But onward…Lauren won and she so deserved it!  She’s worked like a maniac this year and has just grown into an incredible artist.  Very proud of her.

    • Tuki

      So happy for Lauren! I loved her so much when she was on Idol and I knew she would have a great career in country music. This is just the beginning for her.

    • Larc

      I was mostly disappointed in the hosting. All of Trace and Kristin’s material seemed to be 2nd rate CMA stuff.

      Second rate???  You really think it was that good?  ;)

    • CassandraSC

      So happy to see Lauren Alaina win  Best New Artist @ the ACA Awards, and also nice to see her friend Scotty McCreery present it to her. Scotty has great appreciation for her singing and had requested his fans on Twitter to vote for her. Lauren has a beautiful voice and is a wonderful entertainer. She so deserved this honor. I voted for her every day. Congratulations to Lauren and also to her family for their support that allowed this very talented  singer to establish her career at such a young age.

    • BonnieDee

      Agree with both of you.  Kristen Chenoweth especially is a horrible host.  I really hope they change it up next year. 

    • Indigobunting

      Ah, the ACAs, the cheesiest of the cheesiest and most meaningless of the meaningless.  They sure rounded up some Idols this year…..

      Entertainment, none the less.

      Congrats to Lauren-good voting fans!

      LBT Tornado better song and more country >>>>>Carrie’s tornado song, sorry Carrie

    • arkboy

      Congrats to Lauren & Carrie ( her absolute domination of these awards continues) ANNNNNNDDDD, not a single award for Taylor Swift (ain’t that a wonderful thing)!!!

    • Jason Scott

      Carrie’s “Blown Away” is up for 2 Grammys. Just saying ;)

    • tomr

      You’d think that after more than a year of experience in front of the camera, Lauren would present herself as other than a ditz.  Women do not need to act as if they have little between the ears.  Lauren certainly didn’t “know” what she was doing to come across as she did.  The abrupt ending to her comments did not come across in a positive manner.  It may have been endearing to diehard fans but I watched with a relative who did not know who she was and couldn’t believe how inarticulate and “goofy” she was.

    • blackberryharvest

      You have to remember she is just a child still. Sure she just turned 18, but she is a senior in High School who got surprised on national television. I don’t think she was expecting to win at all.

    • DB987

      If only a diehard fan would find that endearing then only an ardent nonfan would be so critical.  She was articulate enough to thank every important group she had to.   She is a teenager ditz is part of the package.  I have seen adults with years in front of the camera be a lot less articulate.  
      Sally “you really like me” Fields come to mind as one.
      I would say given what I’ve read today and her itunes bump she came accross quite well. 

    • tomr

      Having worked with hundreds of teenagers for many years, I have found that the great majority are articulate and well spoken by the time they are 18.  Someone needs to work with Lauren on her communication skills since she is in the position to be a role model.  Her acceptance speech was not articulate and young people need articulate models so that they may aspire to be as effective a communicator as possible.  I agree that there are adults that are ineffective (Pamela Anderson comes to mind) and the result is that, when they attempt to communicate an important message, their ineffective skills interfere.  Communication skills develop throughout childhood with the goal being effective articulation.  Most (in my opinion) have reached goal by 18.  Lauren still needs work. 

    • DB987

      Lets see she thanked God, her fans, her management and record label and her mother very clearly. I think her young fans heard that loud and clear. Not sure what you found so confusing but whatever.

    • windmills

      tomr:  Lauren still needs work.

      Sure, I agree with that. But, she’d just won something and was taken aback by the moment. That wasn’t Taylor Swift fake surprise, it was genuine. I don’t think her brain was functioning too well in the moment and since this it really meant something to her that her fans had voted for her, I don’t have a problem with the way she responded. Heck, Miranda Lambert thought Lauren’s speech was cute enough to mention when Miranda was giving an acceptance speech. It’s not like Miranda has any special investment in promoting Lauren.

      When Lauren was back up to present an award and had to deal with Penn & Teller’s magic banter, I thought she was poised and showed good timing, acquitting herself very well.

    • windmills

      tomr:  Lauren still needs work.

      Sure, I agree with that. But, she’d just won something and was taken aback by the moment. That wasn’t Taylor Swift fake surprise, it was genuine. I don’t think her brain was functioning too well in the moment and since this it really meant something to her that her fans had voted for her, I don’t have a problem with the way she responded. Heck, Miranda Lambert thought Lauren’s speech was cute enough to mention when Miranda was giving an acceptance speech. It’s not like Miranda has any special investment in promoting Lauren.

      When Lauren was back up to present an award and had to deal with Penn & Teller’s magic banter, I thought she was poised and showed good timing, acquitting herself very well.

    • Happyhexer

      Very happy for Lauren.  Congrats!  She has an incredible voice.  Wish I heard it more on the radio.  (Hint hint.)  At least one non-monitored station in my neck of the woods does play her music — LMMD & GP.  (Not sure whether I’ve heard EI played, though.)  Hope the airplay, such as it is, brings new fans.  Her voice deserves to be heard.  

    • Claudia Rodriguez

      As Windmills said she was overwhelmed with the surprise and didn’t have
      anything prepared but still stood there and gave her thanks to everyone
      important to her in a semi coherent manner.

      Lauren commenting on her win, she says she doesn’t remember it:

    • write4yourlife now

      Look, I don’t know why you are bent on saying that Lauren was inarticulate and didn’t come across well.  You posted some version of this three times in two days… on this blog, no less.  If you read all the reviews online (professional reviews, done by professionals, NOT diehard Lauren fans) everyone (bar none) thought her speech was endearing and charismatic and in general, made people want to cry, or did make people cry, because of it’s genuine innocence and realness.  You’ve made THREE posts about this, and obviously, you have something inside you that has nothing to do with Lauren’s speech that is making you write this.  Go think about it, and leave Lauren alone.  Most are charmed by her, and obviously, many think she’s talented beyond belief — think “Best New Artist Award”  she just won.  IF you have worked with hundreds of teenagers for many years, you are old enough to know better than to be post such harsh criticisms repeatedly of a young talented, bright girl, who met the award stage with sweet pure emotion.

    • Chris

      I am horribly late, off the blog for a while but really happy for Lauren.

    • Chris

      I think Windmills reply was clear but I will add Lauren has been nominated for awards and not won. So anyone with eyes can see she was surprised. She sat there, she slowly walked up, she hugged the award like a giant Teddy Bear. This was not a canned speech by a pro, it was more Sally Field, “you like me!” Most people prefer the latter.

      I have teen daughters and would expect the same because I would be telling her, its an honor just to be nominated, don’t be crushed if they call someone else. Its a dance between managing your emotions and being ready to speak.