2018 Academy of Country Music Awards
What better way is there to celebrate having access to such great music every single day… than having a party?
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The Academy of Country Music Awards (from here-on known as the ACMs) are one of many country music awards shows which takes place through-out the year.
The difference with the ACMs is that: a) It’s in Las Vegas (this year at the MCM Grand Garden Arena) b) It’s positioned as the awards show where Nashville comes to party… and last night, at the 52rd ACMs, it was certainly a party!
Watching from home as a relatively new country music follower the awards were as much of an education into country music culture as it was a genuinely entertaining viewing experience. Opening with a sombre tribute to the Las Vegas Shooting from October 1st 2017 (whereby 59 country music fans were killed, and a further 851 injured) – the show quickly launched into rounds of performance-after-performance, only to be briefly interrupted by trophies being handed out to their deserved winners.
One notable feature of the ACMs is the sheer amount of performances – during the nearly three-hour show there were a stellar 25 performances.
Highlights included Kelsea Ballerini’s performance of ‘I Hate Love Songs’ which included her floating down to the stage in the centre of a heart (in Glinda the Good Witch fashion) and a super-fast costume change during a guitar solo. In that performance she proved her worth as a global pop star of the future.
Also, Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line performed a wowing performance of hit single ‘Meant To Be’ (despite not even being 3 minutes long it featured one hell of a choir(!) and got us very excited for new FGL music), New Male Vocalist of the Year winner Brett Young performed a vocally stunning rendition of single ‘In Case You Didn’t Know’ and, another favourite, was Thomas Rhett’s performance of ‘Marry Me’ which really emphasised in approximately 2 minutes just how much of a star he is... making everyone (and we mean EVERYONE) want to cry.
Midland performing ‘Drinkin’ Problem’ was another highlight (of many), as the New Group winners sung their hearts out and proved themselves to be worthy of the prize. Equally, Carrie Underwood showed that she was back and better than ever with the worldwide premiere performance of new single ‘Cry Pretty’ (she has stayed out of the limelight recently after a freak accident left her with stitches).
As entertaining as it was to watch Gwen Stefani sing every single word of husband Blake Shelton’s new single ‘I Lived It’ – and Nicole Kidman singing every single word of husband Keith Urban’s single ‘Coming Home’ – it wasn’t all high notes in the performance region. Maren Morris’s performance of ‘Rich’ (the second performance of the show) was full of swagger, but vocally was not what it could have been and only bringing on Julia Michaels for essentially the last verse of ‘Coming Home’ was Keith Urban’s fault.
Another artist who proved themselves worthy of an award was New Female Vocalist winner Lauren Alaina - a highly competitive category which leaves us thinking…
Yo, Lauren, we’re really happy for you, we’ll let you finish, but Danielle Bradbery had one of the best new albums of the year! One of the best new albums of the year!
But either way, her performance with New Male Vocalist nominee Kane Brown was still worthy… no hate.
Onto the awards side of the night - Chris Stapleton (the most nominated artist of the night, with 5 nods) won Male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year, ty-ing the award for most awards won by Miranda Lambert who won Female Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year with ‘Tin Man’.
Also, notable mentions to Midland for winning New Group of the Year – a highly deserved win, acknowledged by all – and also a shout out to Old Dominion winning Vocal Group of the Year… it was quite a moment seeing all of their partners grouped together crying whilst the band thanked their families for allowing them to do what they need to do. It was one of many moments during the evening where the passion and dedication of artists was properly respected.
Watching the ACMs was an experience really unlike any other awards show – whereas at some shows, even the Grammys to some extent, when an artist comes on that you don’t know, you switch the channel, at the ACMs the true artistry of the performers makes for captivating viewing.
As the awards show attempted to capture the true impact that music, of all sorts and genres, plays in our lives, you couldn’t help but think that this was perhaps one of the most effective ways of celebrating it. After all, what better way is there to celebrate having access to such great music every single day… than having a party?