Check out the fashion hits and misses of the night here.
Aaaaand we're back for another country-soaked weekend in Sin City, folks. Las Vegas has the annual distinction of hosting the Academy of Country Music Awards for quite a few years running--a more peanut-butter-and-jelly combo than one might think. The best aspect of the country genre is its ability to be simulaneously down-to-earth yet covered in stardust, and what city does that better than you-know-where? Besides, well, Nashville of course.
To that end, here's our annual "who won vs. who shoulda won" rundown. Quick aside: Wherefore art thou, Tim McGraw? But anyway, let's get on with the nuts and bolts.
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR:
Carrie Underwood deserved the win, if only for the massive secrecy surrounding her dress and all that. (Just kidding. She always looks great, no matter what she wears, so who cares?) No, really--in all seriousness, it's kind of nice to see someone break Kenny Chesney's winning streak, and a gal at that. Underwood's ability to cross-pollinate the pop genre on a real, adult level is refreshing, and deserving of an epic award.
TOP MALE VOCALIST:
The usual suspects. Kenny again (mildly low-pro in the past 12 months), George Strait doing his best thing (i.e., keeping on keeping on), Toby Keith god lovin' her. Keith Urban pulled a fair advantage this year, what with his high-profile dad status of one of the cuter babies of last year, plus excellent buildup to his new 2009 record. In the end, however, Brad Paisley and his smoking guitar work took the award.
TOP FEMALE VOCALIST:
All about the Carrie this year, despite formidable opposition by the other crossover chickie (Taylor Swift), Ms. Saucy (Miranda Lambert), breakout hitmaker Heidi Newfield, and critical pick Lee Ann Womack. My gosh--I just realized all these women are very, very blond. What does this mean, subliminally? Anyway, a fair win for Carrie, as she's reaching the largest mature audience out there.
TOP VOCAL GROUP:
It's not really fair to pit anyone against Rascal Flatts--even if we are talking upstart talents such as Lady Antebellum and the Lost Trailers, who have been marinating in buzz long and hard enough to have lost feeling in their toes at this point. Or Little Big Town, ditto, not quite as on the crescendo. However, the Flatts are one of those acts that really should be in Entertainer of the Year status and keep getting bumped into group category wins--for about ten zillion wins straight. Which makes it a little hard on those who compete against them. But, as it were. (BTW--Jay DeMarcus: "Now I know how Brooks & Dunn feel"--ha ha ha ha! LOL! That was good.)
TOP VOCAL DUO:
Sugarland can't quit. Of late, they're not only scaring the likes of Montgomery Gentry, they've been knocking down the formidable Brooks & Dunn door. Sure would be nice to see our fave raunchy pals Big & Rich win (Taxman! John Rich! Yeah!), and it's fun to see "Cheater, Cheater" Joey + Rory nominated as well. But hey, can't deny that Jennifer Nettles continues to be skinny, sexy, and damn good video/audio.
TOP NEW ARTIST:
Zac Brown Band put up a hell of a fight. Dang, "Chicken Fried" really held on there for months, didn't it? And Jake Owen made some impressive chart moves as well. However, I can anecdotally record that my 11-year-old niece and her friends have a "We Heart Julianne" club in which they collect every scrap of evidence that Ms. Hough lives and breathes. Plus, she's a good time. Sunshine, good looks, dancing with the stars--a very nice package indeed. No hard feelings on this win whatsoever.
TOP NEW MALE ARTIST
Jake Owen took this one, which is a bit of a surprise given the Grammy attention paid toward Jamey Johnson. Well, good for Jake. He's been deserving of this sort of attention for a couple years now.
TOP NEW FEMALE ARTIST
Julianne Hough again, but she wasn't up against formidable competition. No offense, Ashton Shepard and Sarah Buxton. There just wasn't a chance.
TOP NEW VOCAL GROUP
Eli Young Band and the Lost Trailers both were nice and buzzy, but again--not really formidable competition in the face of the brute damn force of Ze Zac Brown Band. Not much to comment on except, "Easy win."
SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Okay, now we can get back to comparing some close calls. Jamey Johnson was the star Grammy nom boy and all that, and "In Color" is a great tune. Competing against stalwarts Brad Paisley and Trace Adkins is some tough row to hoe, though. Not sure if Miranda Lambert and HeidI Newfield are up to the plate in this category although both singles did smoke and steam. If pressed, we would have guessed Brad would have taken the honor, but it was nice to be surprised and have Trace pull through.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Taylor Swift. Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. It was. Just shut up and admit it.
SONG OF THE YEAR
Jamey Johnson. He had to win something--all that hype couldn't be for nothing, right? Nah, just jesting--good tune. Interesting that this category was almost identical to single of the year, no?
VIDEO OF THE YEAR
We had some decent contenders here, with the best probably being Carrie or Taylor running around in fancy dresses looking aching and longing. In the end, though, can you really beat a cute as hell video featuring ANDY GRIFFITH? It would be like beating...America. Good win, Brad. Good work.
VOCAL EVENT OF THE YEAR
Aw. Come on. Brad Paisley plus Keith Urban? You might as well just hang it up and go home.
Until next year, podners. Or, well, until later this year anyway, when we recap the CMA awards. Stay Country!