ACM Winners and Live Blog



ENTERTAINER: Carrie Underwood

ALBUM: Taylor Swift, Fearless

SINGLE: “You’re Gonna Miss This” – Trace Adkins

FEMALE VOCALIST: Carrie Underwood


VOCAL DUO: Sugarland

TOP NEW ARTIST: Julianne Hough

VOCAL GROUP: Rascal Flatts

SONG: “In Color” – Jamey Johnson


11:00 Wonderful ending to a pretty good night!

10:59 ENTERTAINER: Carrie Underwood!!!

10:57 Matt and Jamie Foxx should co-host next year.

10:56 Matthew M. was the “Walkaway Joe” in Trisha’s video from 1992.

10:54 The show got better as it went on. I’ve really enjoyed most of the later performances.

10:49 This is the best I’ve heard Rascal Flatts in a very long time. I would buy this song arranged and performed like this.

10:47 Not much in the way of multiple winners tonight, at least in the marquee categories. Brad Paisley has 3 (Male, Video, Vocal Event), Julianne Hough has 2 (New Artist, New Female Artist.)

10:45 ALBUM: Taylor Swift, Fearless (Leeann has to be far ahead by now)

10:42 Blake got Brad Paisley’s slot, I think. Good to hear him. I like this song.

10:36 Who will win Female Vocalist? You need a better teaser than that. Who’s in charge of the clips here?

10:35 SINGLE: “You’re Gonna Miss This” – Trace Adkins  (His first industry award since winning ACM Top New Male Vocalist twelve years ago.)

10:34 Anybody else lose sound?

10:33 She’s getting a Crystal Milestone award for winning an award last year? Really?

10:30 I really need to see them live. If they’re this good on award shows, they must be amazing with their own audience.

10:29 Jennifer Nettles attended Keith Urban’s charisma workshop.

10:28 Reba just said “Any-hoo.”

10:22 The contrast in phrasing between Adkins and the choir is jarring. But Good Lord, this is the best song of the night.

10:19 Amazing how war songs are timeless, even when they describe wars from long ago.

10:15 FEMALE VOCALIST: Carrie Underwood

10:13 She’s getting lost in the mix, but from what I can hear, it’s like “For My Broken Heart” with a brighter morning.

10: 12 New Reba. Good so far.

10:07 Little Jimmy Dickens got served.

10:05 MALE VOCALIST: Brad Paisley

10:04 None of these guys are really at the top of their game.

10:02 She really does put everyone else to shame. This is better than the record.

10:01 Carrie saw it in the window and she just had to have it.

9:54 It’s been 34 minutes since the last award. Yeesh.

9:53 “Hell Yeah”, Part II. Among country recycled grooves, I dig MG’s the least.

9:51 Ladies and gentlemen, Anita Cochran on lead guitar!

9:50 Then again, I’m not sure she’s singing live. Anybody heard the record?

9:49 Alright, I’ll say it. She’s got better vocal chops than most of the people on tonight’s show. I’d like to swap teen idols with pop music right about now.

9:47 Perhaps one of the reasons it’s been such a wild ride for both you and Miley is that you won’t get off her horse.

9:45 Random aside: Is anyone else seeing the Gene Simmons commercial for Cherry Dr. Pepper? Why doesn’t Cherry Coke Zero get such a big promotional push???

9:42 Coming up…Miley Cyrus and Carrie Underwood. Why not?

9:41 This live blog brought to you from New York City. We’re not part of the real world, but thankfully the internet can beam us to those of you who live in it.

9:40 Good to know some tools are still made in America.

9:39 A rundown of working class anthems should’ve included Aaron Tippin.

9:37 I didn’t realize LeAnn Rimes did so much humanitarian work. I guess she has nothin’ better to do.

9:35 She dances like Natalie Maines. Heh.

9:34 I like the imagery. She’s quite the songwriter, assuming that she wrote this.

9:33 Am I the only one who can’t help but think about Mindy McCready’s “Maybe He’ll Notice Her Now” with these lyrics?

9:32 New Miranda Lambert song. Can’t wait to hear it.

9:26 Urban reminds me just how much the new artists lack charisma. He should give workshops on charisma.

9:23 Of all the country superstar recycled grooves, Urban’s is my favorite.

9:21 If Nettles had turned quickly at an angle, this show would be on tape delay next year.

9:20 VOCAL DUO: Sugarland (Finally! First time B&D ever lost a pure Vocal Duo race at the ACM’s!)

9:19 I think we may have peaked for the evening. Sigh.

9:17 So far, this is the only performance of the night that I can say improves on the recorded performance.

9:15 Lee Ann Womack is doing “Solitary Thinkin’.” One of the better tracks from Call Me Crazy.

9:10 Lady Antebellum sounds very generic.

9:06 She gets a crystal milestone award for her incredible record sales? Her albums combined haven’t matched the sales of Underwood’s first album, the first three Dixie Chicks albums, three Shania Twain albums.  Why didn’t Rascal Flatts get this award? John Michael Montgomery? Toby Keith? Kenny Chesney? I’m just confused.

9:05 This reminds me of the Brooke White girl from Idol last year.

9:03 David Copperfield did not, in the end, pull an auto-tuner out of his hat.

8:54 Standing O? Wow, the value of those have plummeted. Must be the economy.

8:53 TOP NEW ARTIST: Julianne Hough

8:52 We like to blame the sound mix for less than par performances. But notice how George Strait still sounds great  – and mark my words, Carrie Underwood will, too.

8:51 I love this song. “Troubadour” couldn’t be a better fit for him.

8:50 I wonder how many of the new artists knew that was a George Strait song.

8:49 He could do a sketch as Wanda the Ugly Girl trying to out-dress Carrie Underwood.

8:48 Seriously, he’s killing. Please let him host next year.

8:47 Jamie Foxx. I’d love to see him host the show next year.

8:43 Poor Nashville viewers had to deal with storm warnings during the Johnson performance. How cool would it have been if those popped up last year during Taylor Swift’s performance of “Should’ve Said No”?

8:41 As for the actual performance, he sounds good. Still overwhelmed by the backing track, but that seems inevitable on these shows. I’m surprised they didn’t do a stripped-down performance a la “Stay.” Those are the only ones that ever sound good on these shows.

8:40 So I get the whole conceit here, but give me a break. There weren’t huge projection screens in the days of black-and-white photographs. Or TV for that matter. This is way too pretentious for my tastes.

8:39 Oh dear God. It’s in black and white. I didn’t see that coming.

8:38 Here comes Jamey Johnson. I suspect we’ll see it in color.

8:36 I wonder if McGraw’s production differences had something to do with those screens behind the artists?

8:35 Toby Keith’s best recent performance wasn’t on a country music award show. Check out his roast of Larry the Cable Guy.

8:29 I’m excited for Toby Keith, though he always seems to do rave-ups. Shame, since he’s such a great balladeer.

8:27 VOCAL GROUP: Rascal Flatts (There goes my lead)

8:26 I wonder if next year she’ll be back singing “Amy and Vince” or “Tim and Faith.”

8:23 I feel bad that Heidi Newfield has nearly no chance despite five nominations. A bit weird to see her dolled up. She was Gretchen Wilson before Gretchen Wilson was Gretchen Wilson.

8:22 Home Depot has been a big friend to this show. They supply the wooden performances.

8:17 Methinks that Jamey Johnson would look better out of color. Yikes.

8:16 SONG: “In Color” – Jamey Johnson  (I called this one, y’all – he’ll repeat at the CMA’s)

8:15 J Love is a huge fan of country music. I’m a huge fan of the Ghost Whisperer. Cool.

8:14 Random pics in the back of young college-age girls partying. Weird.

8:12 Anyone in the comments want to explain the appeal of Chesney playing live? What are his shows like? I’ve never been.

8:11 First time in a long time there’s been a woman in there. I think the Dixie Chicks were the last ones.

8:10 Who’s on the couch with Brad Paisley and Little Jimmy Dickens?

8:09 A gay joke? Really?

8:09 George Strait is indeed the man himself.

8:08 Please say Rascal Flatts from the behind of a cow.

8:07 That was interesting, but I wonder how much cooler it could’ve been if it was done later in the show, and was built around ballads with “Very Last Country Song” being the framework.

8:06 I do not want to hang with you and your gang.

8:05 I think they’ve run through all of country’s multi-platinum acts.

8:04 Love me some Carrie Underwood. Hope she has a big night.

8:03 Sugarland, I wouldn’t mind hearing the full song. At least Leeann got a bit of “It Happens.”

8:02 Wow, George Strait snarled at his reference until he noticed the camera was on.

8:01 Taylor Swift doing “Picture to Burn.” Is this a medley of annoying songs performed poorly?

8:00 We’re starting with some sort of jam beginning with Brooks & Dunn. “Play Something Country” still annoys me. The melody is ripped off from “Shut Up and Kiss Me.”


  1. Oh my gosh. Tim McGraw is a country diva, sorry Mindy McCready, you’ve got some competition.

    Taylor Swift will be singing “You’re Not Sory” and will be partnering up with a magician to create another magical performance like last year’s “Should’ve Said No” waterfall.

    Hmm…if Tim McGraw’s spot is blank…maybe Pickler can fill in for him? Awww…wishful thinking.

  2. “Hopefully, the magician has an autotuner in his hat.”

    I can tell it’s going to be a classic live blog tonight!

  3. Ha, Kevin!

    Sugarland keep performing all my least favorite songs from Love on the Inside at major award shows. “All I Want to Do”, “Love”, and now “What I’d Give”. The only one left I don’t care for is “Joey”, so I guess they’ll have to save that for the CMTs. :/

    I wonder if the Miranda Lambert song is a cover of the Stones’ “Dead Flowers” from Sticky Fingers? That’s a good country-rock tune, but I wouldn’t see it going over well at a show like this.

  4. I cannot wait! There are actually some things that I’m anticipating now, particularly the Reba and Miranda performances and the Loretta tribute.

    Haha, Carson and Kevin.

    This will be fun!

    Poor Tim seems to be taking “Angry All The Time” and “The Cowboy In Me (“Sometimes I just wake up fightin’ mad”) to heart these days.:)

  5. Is it just me, or are the ACMs totally outclassing the CMAs recently? They had the Eddy Arnold tribute last year, now they have a Loretta tribute (and a George Strait one, or did I make that up?), and they’ve got an all-around better set of nominees (and winners, based on last year). And I remember they gave Loretta a performance slot a few years back. I’m starting to give them a lot of credit.

  6. Dan, Miranda’s song is new and completely written by her! She said she’s only played it live 3 times.

    Also, I agree Sugarland is very bipolar on their award show performances- they jump around and sing random songs, such as when they sang “Stay” and then released “Everyday America” instead, ditto for “Love” and now “What I’d Give”. “What I’d Give” used to be my least favorite song, but it’s been growing on me recently.

    For Lee Ann Womack, it’ll either be “Last Call” or “Solitary Thinkin’ “, but probably the former since it’s been a “big” single for her and is probably why she is nominated anyway.

  7. Yay, that pumps me up for the Miranda performance. And I’m really excited for the Womack, too. She can’t go wrong either way, although I’d personally rather hear “Solitary Thinkin'” on this particular occasion. Jamey Johnson and Reba are going to be great, too.

    Anyone else oddly excited to see what embarrassing thing John Rich says onstage during his performance?

  8. I just love “It Happens” (guilty, guilty pleasure) so much that I wish Sugarland was performing that one. It would be a lot of fun live.
    Dan, I agree with you. The Academy seems to show more respect to the better part of country music than the CMA has been doing, even if they falter at times in certain areas.

  9. I hope that Sugarland will do “Very Last Country Song” at the CMA’s this year.

    I agree that the ACM’s are outclassing the CMA’s these days, though I think that’s as much a reflection of how far the CMA’s have sunk than anything else. Really, once they moved from the Opry house and stopped doing the Hall of Fame, it was all over.

  10. I’m not sure what’s going on with this medley of Brooks & Dunn and everybody else, but Taylor Swift made me realize how high my volume was.

    Jennifer Nettles sounds great.

  11. “I’m not sure what’s going on with this medley of Brooks & Dunn and everybody else, but Taylor Swift made me realize how high my volume was.”

    Ha, J.R.

  12. Rebas opener was good. She sure gives high praise to all her fellow singers, and still manages to be funny.

    Kenny puts on a good show. He has high energy songs and really gets the crowd in party mode. Even if you dont really like him, you should go see him just to see the show that everyone talks about.

  13. I’m less than enamored with Johnson, but I fully expect him to do well on the country award show circuit this year. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him sweep the CMA’s, actually.

  14. I am happy for Jamey and James. As for a Chesney show, it’s pretty fun live (at least it was when I saw him years ago). That opening sequence was a cluster-you-know-what. LeeAnn Womack looked like “WTF?” they call this country music?

  15. I like Heidi Newfield but her ‘ballads’ are not her thing. She’s better running around the stage. She also sounds very crappy here and is much better than this live.

  16. A bit late here, but I agree with Matt about the opening medley: The reaction shots to Womack and Jamey Johnson really told the story on that one.

    Heidi Newfield sounds rough. But I like that her nominations show that the ACMs were really thinking for themselves this year.

  17. I’m inclined to side with Peter Cooper on whatever it is. Toby’s a great singer, but he’s never sent us a nice note. :)

  18. Toby hates that Peter didn’t ‘fact check’ a story Ethan Hawke reported in Rolling Stone about Kris Kristofferson. Kristofferson is the authentic badass (not that T.K. isn’t an “outsider”).

  19. Regarding Female Vocalist, Heidi told CNN: I hope the makeup’s rockin’. I hope I look good at that moment when they call out, “Carrie Underwood.”

  20. For the first time in award show memory, the lead voice is way too prominent in the mix here. It’s not too flattering.

  21. I think the issue is that Cooper– a writer whose work I generally like quite a lot– decided to turn Ethan Hawke’s Rolling Stone piece about Kris Kristofferson into something of a “blind item” in The Tennesean, basically taking a third-hand account of an altercation between Keith and Kristofferson that may or may not have actually happened.

    It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. But I would tentatively say “Team Keith” in that contest based upon what’s been reported about it thus far.

  22. Kevin, Jamey does indeed look better in B&W…

    I hate that Nashville’s tornado warning sounds for the mid state region are beeping over the songs.

  23. Is it entirely necessary to have a hundred random pictures scattered around Johnson like in the video? Tacky.

  24. Great. One of the two performances I was really interested in seeing on the show gets pre-empted for a severe thunderstorm warning halfway through the first chorus…

  25. “8:40 So I get the whole conceit here, but give me a break. There weren’t huge projection screens in the days of black-and-white photographs. Or TV for that matter. This is way too pretentious for my tastes.”

    Yeah, not a big fan of whoever came up with the production choices for this show.

  26. Someone needs to remind the producers that this is a COUNTRY award show…we don’t need to see actors and rappers…we just want the country music.

    And I hope I didn’t just set Kevin up for another Taylor Swift crack. I actually can’t wait to see what she whips up.

  27. This song has really grown on me. I gave this one a bad review, but I’d change it now. I’ve got no credibility, folks.

  28. Oh my gosh I bet Taylor will sing either “Check Yes or No” or “Troubadour”. Because she’s young, and she sings about love. Hahahaha.

  29. Sounds like Linda Ronstadt was right when she said that country music had devolved into “mall crawler music.” I’ll be sure to miss this train wreck when it airs on its tape-delay basis at 8 PM here in L.A.

  30. I agree with LeeAnn: “Troubadour” has definitely grown on me, but Strait didn’t sound all that great.

    I find Julianne Hough endlessly charming in spite of myself, which only makes me wish that I actually liked her music at all.

  31. Really, did anyone not expect the “New Artist” result? I mean, c’mon that was cemented once they announced fans would vote it. Which means Carrie Underwood is the EOTY.

  32. I just got home and turned on the TV to catch the tail end of Julianne Hough’s embarrassing acceptance speech, and to hear the announcer list a name of the acts that are coming up next, none of whom I like. I can remember a time when I actually used to enjoy watching these award shows.

  33. Hough seems like a lovely person, and I much prefer her vibe to, say, Kellie Picklers’. But I haven’t been convinced that she’s going to be a viable country singer yet.

  34. I guess I can’t complain about Jamey Johnson’s performance getting bumped for a weather advisory, since the same thing just happened for the beginning of Taylor Swift’s. Thank you, David Copperfield!

  35. I knew the Academy would want to acknowledge her somehow. I wonder if this mean she won’t win album after all?

  36. 9:05 This reminds me of the Brooke White girl from Idol last year.

    Did Taylor stop, apologize, and then re-start her performance?

    And does the fact that the ACMs just made up a completely arbitrary award just for Swift mean that she’s not winning anything else?

  37. Wow, Lady Antebellum already way more musically satisfying than anyone else tonight. These lyrics are so weak, though.

  38. The music is drowining out their vocals (Hillary Scott is a bit off, Charles Kelley isn’t). Dave Haywood looks like a young version of Kristian Bush.

  39. [quote]And does the fact that the ACMs just made up a completely arbitrary award just for Swift mean that she’s not winning anything else?[/quote]

    This is actually the same award they gave to Garth Brooks last year, for his achievements, over a career that’s a year older than Ms Swift.

    Gee Garth could have had it quicker with a MySpace page! (Yes, I’m being ironic.)

  40. @ Razor: Because Hilary’s Mom used to be a country singer.

    I really like Lady Antebellum though.

    That Crystal Milestone award for Taylor Swift surprised me though. What was that for again?

  41. One of my sisters who isn’t into country music fan heard that Lady A song and asked me about it. She was like, “I like it, but why was it on a country station?”

  42. “Razor X.,

    That’s a tired arguement… ”

    But nonetheless a legitimate one.

    I’ve never seen Lee Ann Womack play guitar before. This is not one of her best songs.

  43. Now would be a good time to re-visit those website poll results about a possible 5th single from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Ran…

    It’s a little premature to be worried about what this might mean, but that wasn’t up to her usual standards at all.

  44. Yeah, that makes me wish she had just performed “Dry Town” or “Guilty in Here.”

    Also, what a nice speech by LeAnn Rimes. I couldn’t agree more.

  45. I actually like the John Rich song. It’s at least it’s a real representation of what is happening in America, unlike “It’s America.”

  46. Miley’s voice really bothers me; how the heck can a 16 year old sound like she drowns in bourban with a 2 pack a day habit?

  47. I’ve always found Eddy’s voice to be more interesting than Troy’s, even though Troy’s may be technically better.

  48. CU seems to be wearing a household’s worth of duvet covers all sewn together. Not a good idea to take your Gran’s linens for a frock.

  49. Do you really believe none of those guys are at the top of their game…Brad is at least, 10 or 11 #1 hits in a row a top touring act and topselling album….yea he’s way up there right now.

  50. Paisley’s doing well, but I think he reached his peak with the Time Well Wasted project.

    I think “top of their game” is a stupid phrase, and all five of this year’s nominees are neither at their commercial or creative peaks, IMO.

  51. That should’ve said…”wow Jennifer. After a rocky start with the lower register, once you got in the high notes, you totally worked it out dawg! That was Hot! I was like WHAT?

  52. I have a HUGE amount of problem with her accent. I know she’s from Georgia, but so is Trisha Yearwood and I can understand her. Maybe it’s me as I’m Irish, but I find her hard to understand

  53. Kristian Bush’s guitar playing marred an otherwise good performance. Is this an example of what he meant about being versatile and knowing how to play multiple instruments? He should stick to the mandolin.

  54. @Razor: You’re definitely doing better with your predictions than I am. I think I have 2 right so far. Looks like you’re going to have the most right – I just hope your Entertainer prediction is wrong.

  55. This Rascal Flatts song pisses me off because it tricks you into thinking it might be good at the beginning. But then…

  56. Nuts.I’d been watching on delay trying to catch up and I made it to live right as Rascal Flatts was starting. How depressing…

  57. Speaking of autotuning….. I saw them before they were ‘Rascal Flatts’ at In Cahoots in 1991; they were horrendous. LeVox was still using his real last name. Can’t be arsed to look it up, as that’s how unimpressed I was with them.

  58. Maybe the Loretta Lynn (and Tim McGraw) thing all had to do with the George Strait tribute that they’re taping tomorrow?

    Loretta Lynn and Marty Robbins are both previous Artist of the Decades, I believe.

  59. Anyone else think pretty much all of the songs that have been performed tonight “stripped” have sounded way better? The only one I thought was weak without the production was “Shuttin’ Detroit Down.”

  60. Wow, anyone else seeing this Kenny Chesney Corona commercial with the acoustic version of “Beer in Mexico”? I like that.

  61. Wow, that was even more amazing than the time he was on The Daily Show and told a story about the van he has and his friend Gus used to have with a “pee hole” in the back floorboard…

  62. It was still pretty lame to me, but I don’t care for most of mainstream country right now, so what’s new? It was miles better than the CMAs.

  63. Carrie is a great singer. Love the joke about the boots she made in the speech. Enjoyed it as usual, Country Universe.

  64. Matt,

    Don’t blame Al Gore. Blame the folks who didn’t listen to him. :)

    I enjoyed the back half of this show quite a bit. A lot of solid performers and no embarrassing wins in the major categories. Good show.

  65. Matt, if I didn’t watch it you’d be telling me I had no right to gripe about something I didn’t see. Sorry that I can’t bring myself to be an apologist for mainstream mediocrity.

  66. “I agree Carrie’s acceptance speech was genuinely appreciative.”

    As it should be. I’d appreciate it too if I was handed an honor over four colleagues who were more deserving.

  67. Razor,

    I’m no apologist. I like a lot of what comes out, all mutations of the genre.


    I hope you know I was being sarcastic w/the reference to my neighbor…

  68. I personally thought Carrie Underwood was far more deserving than her four colleagues for the award this year, so I’m thrilled that she won.

  69. “Matt, if I didn’t watch it you’d be telling me I had no right to gripe about something I didn’t see. Sorry that I can’t bring myself to be an apologist for mainstream mediocrity.” – Razor X.

    How is that not saying I was an apologist?

    As for the CU award, I can’t say that I don’t agree with it. Now if Sugarland had been in that category…

  70. Final Tally for Predictions:

    Leeann: 8 out of 9
    Kevin: 7 out of 9
    Lynn: 6 out of 9
    Dan: 5 out of 9

    Leeann has officially dethroned me. Congratulations!

  71. Gentle thoughts, Twitter-style: (Broken internet connection…missed the liveblog. Well done, all. Also, Twitter is the devil.)

    B & D, “Play Something Country” medley: “We Are the World” country-style mash. Most (all?) involved do not heed Ronnie’s request. Womack’s shaking head says all.

    Heidi Newfield, “Johnny and June”: Glammed-up, tan Felicity Huffman look-alike sings square-peg song about Cash clan. Ring of fire prop not a shocker.

    Jamey Johnson, “In Color”: More badass than preceding Toby Keith romp. Groovalicious, Memphis soul version of a killer song. Hillbilly Springsteen.

    Taylor Swift, “You’re Not Sorry”: Princess made Music Row fat cats money in 2008. Reward: Album of the Year and cheap crystal hood ornament. ACM, commerce > art.

    Lady A, “I Run to You”: @davehaywood–You’ve supplanted Kristian B. as best silent partner in pop-country group. It’s always the quiet ones? Tell Hillary I like her hair without the primped waviness. You be you, bro.

    Lee Ann Womack, “Solitary Thinkin'”: The DJ’s daughter lays down some serious LAW. Drinking damsel in distress outsings whole room. Country to the bone. Love her. Love to hear what she thinks of the show.

    Keith Urban, “Kiss a Girl”: Sterilized Dired Straits knockoff. Not quite the addictive, fizzy rush of “Sweet Thing.” Simple, subtle romantic desires compared to Chesney. Buffett incarnate kisses a girl as mere appetizer to main course(s). And he always steals the Entertainer prize from our fave Aussie. Greedy, I tell you.

    Miranda Lambert, “Dead Flowers”: @mlambert: Tornado beep ruined listening experience. Assume you were riding Nirvana guitar lick into greatness. Texas twang matched with brainy prose gives me tingles. New album in Sept will be great b-day gift.

    Jon Rich, “Shuttin’ Detroit Down”: What do the Urbans think of this? “Lazy ass” does not equal “wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.”

    Miley Cyrus, “The Climb”: Shania Jr. without the chuptzah of Shania. Band is in astronaut wear. Song (and vocal) itself ain’t half bad. Def. in the outer space of country music.

    Carrie Underwood, “I Told You So”: Idol perf was a couple notchs better (hella good, go Youtube it). Still a highlight of show, if only for volcanic eruption of your red dress. Entertainer win is deserved, but fan-voting sucks. Wish there were room for more than 2 girl singers on radio. Shame on Nashvegas. Matraca Berg’s catalog is ripe for the picking. Trust you gut, CU.

    Trace Adkins, “‘Til the Last Shot’s Fired”: Radio only plays his novelty BS, but Adkins is true (red, white and) blue artiste. Cadet choir = chilling presence. Gay-unfriendly past and uptempo filler is uncool. Use that booming baritone for good, T. More awards may follow.

    Sugarland, “What I’d Give”: Enjoy them in their mid-’80s Bangles pocket instead of channeling Billie Holiday. I like my eggs scrambled, Jennifer. Modern-day “Help Me Make It Through the Night.” Less sad, more sexy.

    Blake Shelton, “She Wouldn’t Be Gone”: @bshelton: Co-write with Miranda and do not devolve into whiny, bombastic crap that the Flatts are about to unload.

  72. Awesome, Blake! Twitter style looks fun.:)
    I’m especially with you on the Blake Shelton thing. The best song on his album is the one he wrote and sang with Miranda.

  73. Random thoughts:

    – Need that Miranda Lambert song in studio version asap! Sounds like a smash. Her performance was my favorite of the night.

    – Would say ditto on the new Reba song, but thanks to the tip above I just downloaded “Strange” on iTunes. I like my Reba with a little sass and this one has it to spare. Backed by the Scott Borchetta promo machine, you gotta believe this one will be big for her.

    – Carrie’s performance was good. Red dress actually distracted me. Her win is deserved, but wish the fan voting would end now so that no more of these awards have astericks next to them though.

    – Trace Adkins was impressive. Similar to Tim’s “If You’re Reading This” from a few years ago. I don’t consider myself a fan of Trace’s, but this was pretty awesome.

    – Taylor was what she always is. Next.

    – Miley is a better vocalist than most people give her credit for, but the production and her “stage presence” was not OK. Seriously, what was that?

    – Keith Urban was solid. Dig the song and his new album is growing on me. This would probably be in my Top 5 performances of the night.

    – Sugarland was ace as always. The song isn’t a knockout but Nettles always sells it.

    – Heidi Newfield was majorly disappointing for me. Thought this would be at least a coming out party for her to a national TV audience (eventhough J. Hough won the only award she had a real shot at), but her vocals were a mess. And she needs to lay off the bronzer.

    – Loved Jamey Johnson’s performance, but the production was just bizarre. In and out of color at the wrong times. The impact could have been greater if they’d used the effect at the right times.

    – Loved Lee Ann Womack’s sophisticated slowburn, bluesy performance. Felt it might have been a little lost on the audience (inside the venue and on TV). Not sure though.

    Everything else was safely middle ground for me.

  74. ahaha.
    Lee Ann Womack’s face about 6 minutes in shows her opinion about country’s “multiplatinum artists.” Guess she, just like many of us, want to go back to the 90’s boom years, or at least the 80’s traditionalist era.

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