ACM 2008 Live Blog

ACM Live Blog

11:02 From the comments: Jonathan notes that the AP says Tracy Lawrence won Vocal Event.   That settles the final open question of the evening.   All of you in the comments helped make a boring show interesting. Have a good night!

10:58 Any idea who won Vocal Event?

10:57 Kenny just mention what I think he mentioned about his parents?

10:56 Like I said when that whole foot thing happened, I don’t want to hear anybody complaining about this win!

10:55 Entertainer: Kenny Chesney

10:53 Where’s Dolly Parton?

10:52 Okay. I totally thought that was Dr. Phil in a biker fetish outfit.

10:50 Wasn’t Dolly supposed to perform?

10:48 I think the two straight wins for Carrie at ACM and CMA (and Grammy) were a given. It will be interesting to see if she can be a three-time winner this fall and next spring.

10:45 Female Vocalist: Carrie Underwood.

10:44 “Country music legend Dwight Yoakam.” That both pleases me to hear and makes me feel old.

10:43 What’s with all the oddly colored microphones?

10:41 LeAnn Rimes is singing “Family.” I was hoping for “What I Cannot Change.” The sound mix just doesn’t favor loud songs like this, as the lyrics get lost in the shuffle.

10:34 Male Vocalist: Brad Paisley.


10:31 Somebody put Christina Ag’s “Beautiful” and Martina’s “This One’s For the Girls” in a blender and served it to Pickler.

10:29 Kellie Pickler got a performance slot?

10:23 Good lord, she can sing. Here’s that great performance I’ve been waiting for.

10:22 Hey, that’s the clip I talked about in the Eddy Arnold single review. Absolute class.

10:22 Eddy Arnold tribute. Thank goodness.

10:17 I think I’ll go make some dinner. Just to make Gary jealous.

10:16 Seriously, give Buxton a full-fledged duet. She’s worth it.

10:15 That Sarah Buxton beatboxing in the back?

10:13 Keith Urban may be the most effortlessly cool guy in the history of country music.

10:13 Paris Helton gets that big a laugh? Really?

10:11 Vocal Group: Rascal Flatts. Meh.

10:06 Good that Garth gave some love to Reba. Anyone who’s seen her live knows she’s without peer.

10:05 Apparently Reba will be attending a wake after the show.

10:03 Garth is just a damn good live performer. The whole room should be taking notes.

10:02 TRISHA YEARWOOD! Finally, a fantastic singer! Wow, she puts the rest of the show to shame.

10:00 Interesting that all the songs so far are 1993 and earlier.

9:59 “Callin’ Baton Rouge.” My favorite Garth single to date.

9:58 Come on, Garth. Show Rodney Atkins how a medley is done.

9:57 That was the most hurried introduction to an award I’ve ever seen.

9:51 That wasn’t a great performance. Actually, have there been any great performances tonight?

9:48 When Trace Adkins said that he was rushing out a Greatest Hits album because he had some big opportunity coming his way, I thought he was crazy, especially when the opportunity was Celebrity Apprentice. Wow, was I wrong. That did more for his career than Badonkadonk.

9:46 Vocal Duo: Brooks & Dunn. Give me a frickin’ break.

9:45 From the comments – Louis C: Get Home Depot to fix the leak above the stage, NOW.

9:44 Rascal Flatts apparently do a lot for charity. I think it would be an act of charity for them to stop singing. But that’s just me.

9:43 Skeezy, Mr. Kix Brooks.

9:42 Lip-synching in the rain. Beautiful.

9:40 Of course she was wearing a prom dress under the hoodie. Thank God those dancers were there to rip her clothes off for her. That doesn’t send a bad message to young girls at all.

9:39 The teacher in me wants me to tell her to put her hood down.

9:36 So Sugarland should be the big winners tonight, assuming they win Vocal Duo. Big question marks right now are who will win Male Vocalist, Female Vocalist and Entertainer, I think.

9:33 I know they’ve been whitewashed from country music’s collective memory, but the Dixie Chicks had three big hits without drums from their Home album.

9:32 Song: “Stay” – Jennifer Nettles, Sugarland

9:31 Apparently while I was typing, Reba decided to put herself in it. When they toured together, Ronnie Dunn and Reba did a killer “You Don’t Know Me.” Much better than the song they actually recorded together.

9:29 While this B&D silliness is on, some ACM history. The Academy is notorious for giving Album to projects because of record sales, rather than quality. LeAnn Rimes won for Blue, Tim McGraw won for Not a Moment Too Soon. I’m trying to think of another time they so clearly went for the musical excellence over the record sales, and I can’t think of one. Hope this is the start of a new trend.

9:28 The women in Brooks & Dunn songs don’t exist in real life.

9:22 Couldn’t we get some more music in? Artists performing more than once, silly stage banter, hosts introducing introducers, clip packages. How many more artists could’ve been given performance slots instead of all this junk?

9:21 Well, the best album won. Nice.

9:20: Even Miranda said “Holy Crap!”

9:20 Album: Miranda Lambert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9:19 Hey, I like one of these two presenters.

9:18 Nope. This hook won’t get annoying at all.

9:16 Two predictions: This will sound much better on the record, and it will be a huge hit.

9:15 New Sugarland single. Cool. I hope.

9:14 I love the pro-soldier sentiment, but could’ve done without the mental image of Reba getting dressed.

9:10 Hat hair!

9:08 I want to add that it was classy of Reba to refer to Kenny and George as two of the greatest country entertainers of all time, especially since she’s a better entertainer than both of ’em.

9:07 Not exactly George & Alan, is it?

9:06 Guess they didn’t win Vocal Event.

9:05 Actually, given George’s history, I think it’s awesome that he can sing a song about a newborn daughter.

9:04 Wow. Country mosh pits suck.

9:03 George really did start breaking out the religious songs these past few years. I like this one, but I think “You’ll Be There” was better (and more age-appropriate.)

9:02 Aw, Reba borrowed one of Taylor’s prom dresses.

9:00 Again, can’t make out a word that he’s singing, and I have this album.

8:59 Chesney proves that sometimes the turtle wins the race. Heh. He kinda looks like a turtle.

8:58 Fun historical fact: Kenny Chesney won ACM Top New Male Vocalist a freakishly long time into his career, too.

8:51 Dick Clark. Much better shout-out than Huey Lewis.

8:50 This is a good speech.

8:49 Top New Male Vocalist: Jack Ingram

8:48 Promoting the new single might’ve been a better use of that performance slot.

8:47 A medley of all the hits. Wilson Phillips did that once.

8:46 Wow, he sounds..not so good.

8:45 Rodney Atkins is so country he thinks when he dies, he’s going to Atlanta. Funny.

8:40 I didn’t know Victoria Shaw produced them. Cool.

8:39 Top New Vocal Duo/Group: Lady Antebellum

8:38 My recommendation for all artists performing on the ACM’s: Strip down the arrangements.

8:37 The sound mix is just so bad. I feel like I say this every year, but c’mon.

8:35 She needs to put out a concept video for this song.

8:34 Blake Shelton must be introducing Miranda Lambert.

8:29 Seriously. Shout-outs to Garth from Jay Leno and some TV star I’ve already forgotten the name of. Shouldn’t it be, you know, country artists doing that?

8:28 I think she only owns prom dresses.

8:27 Top New Female Vocalist: Taylor Swift

8:25 This is the stupidest definition of masculinity I’ve ever heard. And I suspect that Paisley’s gotten quite a few facials in his time.

8:23 I can’t hear a word that Brad Paisley is singing. The sound mix is terrible. That may be why Carrie was straining earlier this evening.

8:22 Question: Why have a host if you’re going to have other people introduce the acts?

8:21 Jason Alexander. Bedazzler joke. How timely.

8:20 Video: Brad Paisley, “Online”

8:18 Louis C. in the comments says Sugarland’s going to have a big night. Seems possible that they could win Song and Duo along with Single. I’m trying to find the pre-show winners online.

8:16 Jennifer Nettles sounds like she’s explaining the category to a first grade class.

8:14 Single Record of the Year: Sugarland, “Stay”

8:14 Banter could’ve been cut so we could hear the songs nominated.

8:13 “Last Name” is this year’s theme song? And who is Poppy Montgomery?

8:11 Toby seem thin, or is it just me?

8:10 Did Reba just roll her eyes at Toby’s song there?

8:09 Reba’s a little raunchy tonight.

8:09 Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman are going to have beautiful, beautiful children.

8:08 Rascal Flatts is not everybody’s favorite vocal group.

8:07 Nice little dig there about the all-male Entertainer category.

8:06 She brought up Roger Clemens. Yikes.

8:05 In case you’re curious, host Reba McEntire hasn’t only hosted the show ten times, she’s won Female Vocalist seven times.

8:02 Quite a bit of over-singing going on.

8:01 Her microphone is all sparkly.

8:00 Carrie Underwood opening the show with “Last Name.”

7:47 Live blog will begin shortly.


  1. Boy, the vocals sound tinny on HD. When I go over to analog, it looks lousy, but everyone sounds much better. I’ll stick with the pretty picture, I guess.

  2. Hey there, LeeAnn.

    Am I the only one who is off-put by the fact that Jennifer Nettles’ aw-shucks drawl gets thicker with every public appearance? I like Sugarland well enough, but I’m increasingly convinced that she’s faking that. “Stay” was a good choice for Single of the Year, though.

    I’m not a fan of Carrie Underwood’s at all but can at least admit that she usually sounds the same live as she does on record, but she sounded like she had a sinus infection tonight. The fact that she was shouting the song at full lung capacity from the first note didn’t really help, either.

    I like Brad Paisley but can’t stand 3 of the 4 singles he’s released from 5th Gear, particularly “I’m Still a Guy.” He sounds rough tonight, too. Maybe they’re using the same sound techs as the last CMA awards…

  3. I think they opened with Carrie because they wanted her to go high-energy with “Last Name.” Hopefully, she can just sing normally on the tribute to Eddy Arnold. She can bring it, but with this sound system, it’s tough.

  4. Yeah. Miranda sounded great… her backup singers? Not so much. So I’m back on the “fire the sound guys” train.

    There’s something off about Little Big Town “passing the torch” to Lady Antebellum. The latter is fine– of the 9 “Top New” nominees, they’re about the only one I’d listen to on purpose– but it seems like they’re primed for much bigger success than the former, who are much better at almost the exact same thing.

  5. I don’t even think the songs are sliding into each other well…they could’ve done better if they were going to do this.

  6. Are those folks down front moonlighting? They are the same people from the pit on “American Idol,” right? Can’t have a show without the clappers and wavers near the stage…

  7. Chesney, bringing the Hoyay! and sounding completely tone-deaf, as usual. He looked visibly annoyed through most of the performance, but it’s not like the poor sound-tech work made him sound any better or worse than any other awards show performance I’ve ever heard him give.

    Those watching in HD may disagree, but George Strait doesn’t seem to have aged over the past decade…

  8. The chorus sounds a bit catchier than I remember it. I think the last time I listened to this song is when I reviewed it. Is there more twang in this performance than the record…more accoustic guitar too?

  9. Hey, usually female acts get less twangy with time as they go after the pop audience. Guess she deserves credit for going in the other direction.

  10. So… as was the case at the CMAs, Jennifer Nettles proves that a great singer can overcome bad sound work…

    But holy (insert your favorite swear here), that single was as wretched as Kristian Bush’s polka-dot suit.

  11. To go all Taylor Swift’s fanbase for a minute:

    OMG Miranda!!!1!!11!1!!! [/end teenage girl internet speak]

    I actually didn’t think that would ever happen, but wow, was that gratifying.

  12. Yay Miranda, Yay SUgarland. We’ve got some good results this year although I think Jake Owen should have won New Male instead. Still Jack took it with pride and respect. I agree that Rodney should have done his new hit instead, that was a little strange, but a nice tribute to the start of his career all the same.

  13. I’m definitely going to watch this show now. YAY Miranda! I’m thrilled for her! I wish she would have performed “Guilty in Here” on the show, but who cares, she won!

    Is it normal to have album of the year so early on? I would have thought that (with maybe the exception of Entertainer of the Year) that Album would be the big one to go last???

  14. No to my question on Taylor.

    Lynn, I thought album was supposed one of the big ones too!

    Cowboy Blue, I agree with you on Jake Owen.

  15. Lynn,

    Album’s the big one at the Grammys, but the country shows tend to end with the vocalist awards and Entertainer. I agree with you that it should be later.

  16. K, so taylor goes hoddy then encourages girls to rip their clothes off.

    Also the water was a little uncalled for.

    However, I give Tayor credit because she looks so much more comfortable and at home on the stage now.

    Oh and when is she going to start dating her guitarist. Everytime I se them they seem to get more physical.

  17. Thanks Leeann! I’m on the west coast, so I can’t comment substantively until then, but I’m enjoying reading the comments! I wonder if Miranda’s album win had anything to do with the fact that it was loved cross-genre by the critics. Country hasn’t had the greatest reputation for quality lately. Maybe they felt the need to reward quality and show up the critics in that very “defensive” way country has… ?

  18. I love that not even all the ProTools in Nashville can get Taylor Swift close to an actual note, but I will give her credit for figuring out novel ways to distract people from her glaring non-talent– lip-synching in the rain (awesome, by the way, Kevin) seems to have done the trick. And I’m sticking by my prediction that her fanbase abandons her as soon as she cuts her hair.

    Kevin, I loved Pam’s female vocalist win (considering the talent throughout the 90s, I do think that the ACMs and CMAs did a fairly good job of spreading the wealth), but I’m definitely still thrilled about Miranda’s win tonight.

  19. I never would’ve thought the ACMs would be the ones to give that album its due credit, especially after CMA and NARAS didn’t even nominate it. Thank God they did. It’s an awesome album.

  20. I agree with everything you are saying. I’m watching the most cause of Garth, and hopefully I’ll see Trisha somewhere. *Looks around to see a glimpse of her* Guess I’ll have to wait.

  21. Again I fail to see where the comment about RF stopping singing is in any way appropriate. I’m sry but these guys are great, but thats just ME.

    Although there live performances on these award shows usually have some pretty interesting flaws, I wonder if they have any this time..or have they performed yet?

    Anyways I think that comment was a little over the top and uncalled for. TO each his own.

  22. The comments on Taylor make evident even further the double standard in country music. Women are supposed to be fantastic singers, while men can get by on “attitude” even if they aren’t great tonally.

  23. At least the transitions are better on garth’s medley than Rodney’s…though I’m not wild about medleys of hits.

  24. Stephen H, you make a valid point there. I can think of many male singers who’re revered despite their mediocore voices, but the female singers are expected to be more polished.

  25. K, B&D…no,no,no

    Anyways Great job from Garth, awsome, awsome awsome.
    It may not actually be a bad thing that Rodney did a medly of his recent hits because in a way he has the potential to be the next Garth so maybe it’s fitting.

  26. So, I’ve reviewed close to 300 albums over the last three years and heard at least three times that many, and I don’t think I’ve hated anything more intensely in that time than the stupid little faux-beatbox vocal effect that runs through the entirety of this Keith Urban song.

  27. Garth’s performance made the show ten times better, I’m glad I waited for that, and Trisha not only looked great but sounded amazing(as always) They both brought the show back to greatness. Man I wish ACM’s were as good as they were with Garth and Trisha back in the 90’s. I’m super hyped from the medley. Anyone else think Rodney was almost stealing Garth’s thunder? I mean the shows only big enough for one medley right? lol. What is Keith singing, or better question who is that girl in the back say chic chic. She’s a little annoying.

  28. I agree, Keith seems to just have that vibe about him. Anyways going right into the audience and stuff, awsome

  29. Kevin, I wasn’t saying YOU weren’t pro-woman. But Taylor being revered in spite of poor vocals is rare for a female artist in the mainstream, although it’s completely the norm for men.

    Also, did anyone notice that David Spade called these the CMA Awards?

  30. rascal flats are revered for poor vocals probably as much as taylor. i think they’re the only ones that are really that level of awfulness live

  31. I’ve actually never had a problem with Rascal Flatts’ vocal abilities. Their songs just, almost without exception, completely suck.

  32. Carrie and Brad really sound good together. FIrst “Oh Love” off of 5th Gear and now this, awsome. Very touching a respectable tribute to Eddie, very tastefully and nicely done.

  33. Enunciation isn’t LeAnn’s strong suit and the terrible sound mix isn’t doing her or this song any favors. I’m with you, Kevin, on wishing she’d done “Things I Cannot Change,” which is hands-down the best thing she’s ever done. I know “Good Friend and a Glass of Wine” has (undeservedly) stalled at radio, but I’m surprised she went with “Family” for her performance.

  34. i agree about the enunciation. i love her voice, but it irritates me at the same time because i can’t understand what she says

  35. Caught that comment about Trisha. She’d probably secure enough in herself to dismiss it. Lord knows she could out-sing anyone on that stage. Even Carrie.

  36. Dwight Yoakam was on? I love him. He has that Keith Urban effortless cool thing going for him as well.

    (ah…I’m glad someone else was ticked about the Trisha comment too!)

  37. Speaking of the9513, I always think of their review when I hear this song–that they should probably be singing “we” instead of “I”.

  38. Troy looked surprised when Eddie came in full-blast in the third line of the chorus …

    I’m not a fan of this song, but if nothing else it proves Troy Gentry isn’t suffering from Kix Brooks/Kristian Bush/Big Kenny syndrome.

  39. “Dr. Phil in a biker fetish outfit” for the win.

    Not terribly surprised by the Chesney win; his core fanbase is intense. Had Taylor Swift been nominated for Entertainer of the Year, though, she would’ve won.

  40. Oh bobby I didn’t mean that Rodney’s medley was better, I thought he shouldn’t have had a medley because it was Garth’s big night. To actually tell you guys the truth I don’t like Rodney’s music all that much. I like music from the 90’s and early 2000’s. Yeah that’s right I’m one of those country fans and a young 15 year old at that.

  41. im soo mad i missed the live blog….my internet decided it was going to take an untimely break last night so i had to keep all my snarky comments to myself…trust me not as much fun

    made for good reading today though so thanks for the live blogging kevin and leanne

  42. Oh yeah, one of my snarky comments didn’t get posted because my internet had a glitch for a minute too. It was about Rascal Flatts. So, it’s probably best that it was left unposted.:)

  43. Ah, Gaby, my dog doesn’t appreciate my sarcasm, cinisism and wit as much as I think he Should either. In fact, he had the nerve to just sleep through the whole show. Then again, I might have done the same if it hadn’t been for Kevin’s fun live blogging, the great comments and a few good performances: Carrie & Brad.

  44. Yeah leanne i agree.. carrie and brad together was the best

    seperate…well…other than a few wonky notes carrie’s was at least enertaining….brad not so much, but i don’t really like his song either

  45. I dvr’d the show and fast-forwarded through much of it later – the usual problems, wretched sound, poor arrangements, acts that could use dress consultants

    Also a Jerry Wallace tribute would have been in order too

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