LAS VEGAS (CelebrityAccess) – No doubt, the Academy of Country Music Awards continue to be one of the most-polished television events out there, but there are a few quick things that just don’t come across on television.
For one, how to get into it. Security did a tremendous job to get a capacity crowd through the magnetometers even though doors did not open until an hour before the 5 p.m. broadcast and everyone needed to be in their seats at the MGM Grand Garden Arena before the show began. If not, you waited out in the concourse until the first commercial break. The only problem with that is, those who wanted to grab a drink or go to the bathroom before getting to their seats really pushed the envelope and many found that the cutoff, even for above the bowl seats in the back, was exactly 5 p.m.
Another thing with award shows that many probably don’t recognize is the directions from production. (“We are a minute away from returning from the commercial break. Everyone please take your seats” or “Please bring out your phones for the upcoming performance by Brett Young” or “We’re returning from break! Applause, please!” etc.).
Also, only so much comes across on the little screen. Little Big Town’s performance was lustrous with lasers that spread across the arena, and Miranda Lambert’s performance of “Keeper Of The Flame” rapped with pyrotechnics that fell from the ceiling in vibrant colors that could not be fully captured on video. Keith Urban’s backdrop, through which his band was visible, was far more impressive and innovative in real life.
Also, the production did not treat the live audience as a second thought. Even if the cameras were focused on one side of the stage, the other side, unseen on television, would extend the performance video graphics.
Mostly entertaining, though, is how the audience trains itself for commercial breaks. Again, they can’t return to their seats if they take too long getting a drink or a restroom break, so most learned to jump out of their seats as soon as they heard the words, “When we return … “.
On a happy note, the cheers and the sounds of “aww” were genuine when Reba announced that Chris Stapleton couldn’t make it because he is a new proud papa of twins, and on his birthday no less.
And, on a somber note, it was also genuinely emotional in the crowd when Jason Aldean accepted his award for Entertainer of the Year, in Vegas, and recognized it (and the hat tip to Live Nation’s Brian O’Connell).
Here’s a few of the awards, etc., as announced by the ACMs:
Miranda Lambert won ACM Female Vocalist of the Year for the ninth consecutive year and is the current record holder for most consecutive wins in this category. Lambert also won ACM Song of the Year for “Tin Man” along with co-writers Jack Ingram and Jon Randall, receiving two awards, both as artist and songwriter. With these wins, she now has 32 ACM Awards, and is the most-awarded artist in ACM Awards history, a record previously held by Brooks & Dunn.
Chris Stapleton won ACM Male Vocalist of the Year, his second win in this category. Stapleton also won an additional two awards as both artist and producer in the ACM Album of the Year category for From A Room: Volume 1.
Brothers Osborne won ACM Vocal Duo of the Year for the second consecutive year. The duo also won ACM Video of the Year for “It Ain’t My Fault,” along with directors Wes Edwards and Ryan Silver and producer Tiffany Davies. ACM CEO Pete Fisher surprised the duo with these awards, presenting them during CMT’s Facebook Live coverage of the ACM Awards red carpet.
Lauren Alaina, Midland and Brett Young were also previously announced winners for ACM New Female Vocalist of the Year, ACM New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year and ACM New Male Vocalist of the Year, respectively. The winners received a surprise phone call from host Reba McEntire last month notifying them of the news and were also surprised with the actual ACM Award in the days leading up to the show. Jon Pardi presented Alaina with her ACM Award during rehearsals, Midland received their ACM Award at the ACM Stories, Songs & Stars: A Songwriter’s Event Benefitting ACM Lifting Lives® and Luke Bryan presented Young with his trophy at the Cumulus/Westwood One Radio Remotes.
Old Dominion won ACM Vocal Group of the Year Award, their first award in this category. They previously won ACM New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year at the 51st ACM Awards in 2016.
Rhett Akins was announced as the winner of this year’s ACM Songwriter of the Year Award (off-camera category) on Friday at the ACM Stories, Songs & Stars: A Songwriter’s Event Benefitting ACM Lifting Lives, which was presented to him by reigning ACM Songwriter of the Year award winner Lori McKenna.