(LAS VEGAS) — Lady Antebellum getting an award from KISS, in full makeup? Ashton Kutcher singing a George Strait classic? Toby Keith singing a duet with Carrot Top? Bono introducing a number from “my friend, Dierks Bentley?”
No, it wasn’t some crazy dream — it was just another night at the Academy of Country Music Awards, held Sunday night in Las Vegas.
Taylor Swift took home her second straight Entertainer of the Year trophy, and for once, she didn’t make her famous “surprised face” — probably because co-host Blake Shelton made fun of it earlier in the evening. Accepting the award, Taylor gave a shout out to Kevin McGuire, the leukemia-stricken teen who was supposed to be her date for the show, but who had to be hospitalized and wasn’t able to make it.
“Kevin and all your family and friends, thank you for wanting to take me to the ACMs,” she said. As for the award, she said, “I’m so happy about this!” and thanked her band and fans. Taylor is the second woman ever to win this award twice: the first was Carrie Underwood.
It was also a good night for country’s current power couple, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert. Miranda took home the Album of the Year trophy for her disc Four the Record, and it’s the third time she’s won that particular award. The only other artists who’ve won it that many times are Alabama and George Strait.
“Seriously?” asked an unbelieving Miranda when she got onstage. “I’m so thrilled. I will never take this trophy for granted. My albums are my babies. It’s what makes me wake up in the mornings.” Miranda also once again picked up the award for Female Vocalist, and while accepting that honor, she said, “I really am so humbled; I don’t know what to say.” She added, “Thank you, Jesus, for giving me this gift I can share will all my fans.” Hoisting the trophy, she declared, “I’m so proud of country music and I love us all. We deserve this!”
Blake, meanwhile, was named Male Vocalist of the Year. Noting that he’d been thinking of the lyrics of Dierks Bentley’s song Home, he added, “It’s been a long hard ride, and got a ways to go, and that’s still how I feel man, but I’m proud to take this home tonight.”
Kenny Chesney was the leading nominee going into Sunday night’s show, with a whopping nine nods, but he went home empty-handed. Still, Kenny got his moment in the spotlight: he and Tim McGraw, his partner on the upcoming Brothers of the Sun summer tour, debuted their new collaboration Feel Like a Rock Star, the first single from Kenny’s upcoming album Welcome to the Fishbowl.
The much-hyped live wedding between real-life couple Christina Davidson and Frank Tucci took place onstage as planned, with the two saying their vows in the background, while Martina McBride and Train’s Pat Monahan sand a duet of Marry Me in front of them. The audio of the ceremony was faded down while the two sang, but the audience did got to hear the couple say “I do” — or in this case “I will” – and the official pronounce them husband and wife, adding, “Now, you may kiss your bride!”
Blake and Reba McEntire kept the performance-packed show — 24 in all, if you were counting — moving along, and got off a few good jokes in the opening. They poked fun at Randy Travis’ DUI arrest and Tim Tebow’s alleged date with Taylor Swift, among other things, and also took some potshots at each other.
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