ACM Burning Questions, Answered

Before I started the live blog of last night’s ACM Awards, I listed a few burning questions. Here are the answers:

Will Carrie Underwood pull a Dixie Chicks and go five for five tonight? I can see it happening easily, but the only mortal lock she has is Top Female Vocalist.

Well she didn’t sweep, but she did win three awards: Female Vocalist, Album and Music Video. George Strait played spoiler and took Single and Song. She had the classiest speech of the night, immediately acknowledging the stunning Tim McGraw performance that preceded her final win of the evening.

Speaking of the Dixie Chicks, can this join the CMA telecast from last year and last three hours without a joke at their expense? I think Reba is more of a Vince Gill than a Jeff Foxworthy, and she was clapping with enthusiasm when they won the Grammy for Song of the Year, so I’m hoping it can happen.

The only reference was a veiled one, and a good-natured one at that. Last year, Reba took a pot shot at the Dixie Chicks at the end of the telecast, and it was widely reported. She noted that she’d learned that the “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” rule didn’t apply to her comedic material. She was an outstanding host, and while her celebrity jabs still seem forced, she was elegant and good-humored throughout the evening. Not Vince, but pretty close.

Will we get some serious turnover in some of the stale categories this year? Can Sugarland unseat Brooks & Dunn, or Little Big Town shock Rascal Flatts?

I’ve finally learned my lesson over the years: betting against Brooks & Dunn winning Vocal Duo is like betting against Joe Torre’s Yankees winning the American East division. No matter how much it looks like someone else’s year, it probably isn’t. Rascal Flatts may be the top-selling modern country act, but they remain ghettoized in the Vocal Group categories, in terms of wins at least. Then again, McDonald’s won’t top the Zagat guide no matter how many Big Macs it sells, so there’s still something to be said for substance.

Will the new single Faith Hill is debuting justify the three-month delay of her hits project?

I’d say yes. The sound system at the ACM’s was its typical mess, but I heard a great song in spite of it. Her records are always well-produced, so I’m sure it will be a keeper. Of course, Hill’s spotlight was stolen by hubby McGraw, who debuted “If You’re Reading This” and gave the performance of the night. If you’re like me, you’re still waiting for a YouTube clip so you can watch that one on a loop.

What is the mystery reason that Shania Twain is there for the festivities? Surprise tribute? To Dolly? Reba? Toby? Who knows!

She introduced Reba and gave out Entertainer. Hardly worth her time, though she proved she’s still the most impossibly beautiful woman in country music, despite all the cute young things signed in the ten years since she showed sexy sells country records, too.

And finally, can Country Universe break its one-day record of visitors on the strength of another live blog?

I’m still the only one who cares, but sometime while I was at work today, the one-day stat record was easily broken. I’m sure today’s record will hold until it’s time to do it all again with the CMA’s. God bless the refresh button!