ACM Live Blog 2011


This is going to be a really important show, you guys.


Entertainer of the Year: Taylor Swift

Top Female Vocalist: Miranda Lambert

Top Male Vocalist: Brad Paisley

Album of the Year: Lady Antebellum, Need You Now

Song of the Year: “The House That Built Me”

Single of the Year: “The House That Built Me”

Top Vocal Duo: Sugarland

Top Vocal Group: Lady Antebellum

Top New Artist: The Band Perry

Top Till You Drop:

Vocal Event of the Year: Zac Brown Band & Alan Jackson, “As She’s Walking Away”

Music Video of the Year: Miranda Lambert, “The House That Built Me”

– – –

10:02 Well, all right, that was fun enough. Kinda. Thanks for playing along, y’all, and have a good night!

9:58 A shocking upset! As shocking as, like, one of those chewy Sweet Tarts.

Entertainer of the Year: Taylor Swift

9:56 Hey, how about next year we get James Taylor to come back and sing with the Dixie Chicks again? Yes or yes?

9:52 They segue into “Sweet Baby James.” At least this pairing makes musical sense.

9:48 Leeann: Zac Brown and James Taylor, Carrie Underwood and Steven Tyler, Jennifer Nettles and Rihanna? Is CMT testing for upcoming Crossroads episodes?

9:45 Was having some trouble with the site for a few minutes there. Now we’re up to Zac Brown Band doing a very cool “Colder Weather” with James Taylor.

9:41 Amazing how only a year and a half ago the idea of Miranda winning one of the really competitive awards still seemed like a pipe dream.

Top Female Vocalist: Miranda Lambert

9:36 “Love Gets a Hold of You” or something. It sounds okay – almost in the same you’re-gonna-miss-me-boy! vein as “Turn on the Radio,” though. I think we’re all ready for some more mature Reba now. Take a lesson from Martina.

9:34 Reba’s out to sing something or other. I just saw today that “If I Were a Boy” got yanked as a single; this must be the new one?

9:27 Darius Rucker singing “Music from the Heart” with a choir of various ages and developmental disabilities. Very passionate, touching performance.

9:25 Chris Young’s trying out the hatless thing.

9:25 Oh, for real? At least he acknowledged he has too many now.

Top Male Vocalist: Brad Paisley

9:22 I don’t know how I’m still awake through all this. I shouldn’t be saying such things at 9:23.

9:17 Leeann: Martina is worming her way back into my heart again. I’m a soft touch.

9:17 …Who just tweeted, “Holy crap, I’m singing.” Perfect.

9:14 Awesome. It does. This reminds me of Jeannie C. Riley, the spunky honesty of it. And I like to fantasize that she got some inspiration for that opening “honestly, I think I need a drink” line from Drunken Martina.

9:13 Martina’s coming out with “Teenage Daughters.” I really hope this translates well to stage.

Top Vocal Duo: Sugarland

9:10 Kevin: Naomi Judd: The answer to the age-old question, “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”

9:09 Leeann: Ronnie Dunn sounds so much like Brooks & Dunn. Go figure.

9:07 He looks and sounds like musical Jesus. I mean that in a complimentary way!

9:03 Ronnie Dunn’s coming up with “Bleed Red.” Excited for that, kinda. I think C.M. Wilcox is right and that it’ll work well as an award show performance even if the single itself is a little sleepy (to some of us).

8:56 Leeann: Good. Have Kristian introduce Nettles/Rihanna to show how secure he is about being put on the sideline all the time. We’re convinced.

8:55 True fact: The banner at the top of this post will light up and spin all through this Rihanna-Jennifer Nettles performance. Watch closely!

8:53 She interjects a bit of some song I should probably recognize but don’t, and then “I’ll Fly Away.” And she sounds real good.

8:53 I bet there are some Christian folks out there from Miranda’s life who are like, “We did not say that!”

8:52 A Miranda performance is usually my favorite part of an awards night. But it’s “Heart Like Mine.”

8:44 Eh. Let’s not talk about that. Let’s talk about how awesome that live blog over at The 9513 is!

Top Vocal Group: Lady Antebellum

8:41 Or, as our pal Corey Parkman of Farce the Music just put it on Twitter, “I wonder what Sara Evans would sound like if she ever got over that sinus infection.”

8:38 The return of Sara Evans to the ACMs. Last performance I remember from her here was that severely pitch-challenged one of “Coalmine” the night she won Top Female years ago. She sounds better here, but still not up to many of her recorded performances.

8:35 I mean, seriously, y’all. “Need You Now” is the only reason Need You Now has sold like it has, and the album selling like it has is the only reason it’s getting this recognition. “Need You Now” won Song and Single of the Year at last year’s ACMs; couldn’t that have been enough?

8:31 IEIOF432IfffkDdk&*$#vdsadvfdjfpvfs >:(

Album of the Year: Lady Antebellum, Need You Now

8:28 Well, don’t think I was missing much. Such a shame – he truly would be one of the best male vocalists in the game if he had better taste.

8:25 We get a Blake Shelton performance. Don’t recognize the song.

Single of the Year: “The House That Built Me”

8:14 Jason Aldean doing the Colt Ford country-rap “Dirt Road Anthem” and it’s every bit as cool you would imagine. (That is, decidedly un-.)

8:09 Apparently their dad’s name is Steve Perry. I snickered harder than I should have.

Best New Artist: The Band Perry

8:07 Kevin: And my favorite of the 57 performances so far is…Taylor Swift. No one can ever accuse me of not having an open mind.

8:05 Kimberly Perry delivers the “well” in “If I Die Young” with way too much spunk. “Well! I’ve had just enough time. So if I do die – y’know, whatever!”

8:03 Whoops, apparently it’s a guitjo/ganjo. Whatever, it’s not like I’m a writer of music-related opinion articles or something!

8:00 Taylor Swift singing “Mean” and strumming the banjo, which is not how I’ve known anyone to play the banjo. Pretty cool scene, though – they’re in front of an old-timey house and the band’s all decked out in their Depression-era best.

7:55 Kevin: Not naming the songwriters for Song of the Year is an absolute disgrace.

[They announced it as “Miranda Lambert, ‘The House That Built Me,'” though she’s not the one who wrote it.]

Song of the Year: “The House That Built Me”

7:53 Finally, we get one: Song of the Year.

7:50 Eric Church doing “Smoke a Little Smoke,” the one single of his I really dig, with verve. BUT THERE STILL HASN’T BEEN A SINGLE AWARD.

7:45 Back from commercial, Keith Urban performing his newest hit, “Without You (Nicole Kidman)(Pt. 3)(Ballad Version).”

7:42 Leeann: Seriously? Still no award yet? What are we watching?

7:38 Dierks Bentley running laps around the arena to “Am I the Only One,” determined to make us like the unlikable.

7:36 Kevin: That’s what I wanted that song to sound like on the album.

7:35 I’ll say this: JNett still has the best stage charisma of any mainstream country star who isn’t Keith Urban.

7:32 Leeann: Half hour in and still no award yet at this…uh…awards show.

7:32 Sugarland’s here, Jennifer apparently with hair extensions, and they’re doing “Tonight.” Figured this would probably be the next single. Like Kevin, I’d like the recorded version if not for the head-cold-ish performance.

7:30 Well, that was fun. Good thing I gave up on the term “country music” meaning anything a few weeks ago!

7:27 Kevin: We’re officially down the rabbit hole.

7:27 They segue into “Walk This Way.”

7:26 Steven Tyler is really good at screaming awesomely and only ok at remembering the words to Carrie Underwood songs.

7:24 Two Soul Surfer ladies come out to introduce Carrie, who’s doing “Undo It.” WITH STEVEN TYLER! OK, I like this now.

7:20 Apparently Dr. Pepper’s current slogan is “There’s nothing like a Dr. Pepper.” Uhhhh.

7:17 Pleasant enough song (“Somewhere Else”), and he’s got that sweet Toby growl going.

7:16 Leeann: It’s nice to like Toby Keith music these days.

7:14 “ARE THEY READY?! DOES ZAC BROWN ENJOY THE FEEL OF HIS ASS IN THE SAND?!” Best Blake line of the night so far.

7:13 The celebrity cheap shots are coming hard and fast, though.

7:10 We are promised no Charlie Sheen or Lindsay Lohan jokes. God? Is that you?!?

7:07 Celine Dion’s here now, and she’s VERY VERY EXCITED! I honestly can’t think of a better Vegas gate-keepeer, though.

7:07 Kevin: Since when did Alabama become a trio? What a poorly cropped picture, lawsuit or not.

7:06 It would be great if, instead of writing songs about how great the classic acts were, today’s artists just figured out how to measure up.

7:04 Leeann: Good. We get this disappointing Paisley  song out of the way now.

7:04 “Old Alabama” now.

7:02 Cute-ish opening skit with Blake Shelton “rehearsing for his wedding night” by serenading a blond-wigged Reba with “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking.”

6:52 Leeann: John Rich is so much more tolerable when he’s with Big Kenny.

6:38 The JaneDear Girls just appeared onscreen. When are they un-appearing, I wonder?

6:33 Wynonna and Naomi Judd chilling with Suzanne Alexander now. Colorically speaking, Wynonna has become a human sunset.

6:31 Chris Young is now talking to Storme which means his voice is audible – yay!

6:26 On some red carpet somewhere, GAC’s Storme Warren just presented to Vocal Event award, inevitably, to “As She’s Walking Away.”

6:15 Dierks Bentley will be playing “Am I the Only One” tonight. Have fun, no one!

6:04 Super-jealous of The 9513’s sweet new live blog layout. Also: the smartness of their live-bloggers. Also: the fact that Brady and Brody Vercher are named thusly.

5:59 Red carpet time, woo!! I bet everybody’s totally wearing clothes this year.

[Dan from here on out, unless otherwise noted.]

5:21 I…….this post……AM BORN


  1. So are we going to lose the “Reba acting like a pushy be-yotch all night” thing? Wow! That got OLD FAST!!

  2. Nice to see the opening number brought together the past and present in country music. “Old Alabama” is what it is, but it was great to see Alabama brought out in the beginning.

  3. Taylor Swift will always be a favorite of mine for songs like that. It was Hee Haw meets O Brother yet still felt modern.

    I’m also happy for TBP wining new artist. They’re one of the most exciting bands to come along in a while.

    Oh god…Jason’s rapping…this will be…interesting.

  4. Oh well. At least Brantley Gilbert’s eyes are lighting up with dollar signs right now. That’s about the only positives I can find from anytime Jason sings My Kinda Party or Dirt Road Anthem.

    They’re both pretty bad songs. But when you cover a “bad” song and do it worse than the original….that’s just not a good look.

  5. This is the first time anyone’s heard Honey Bee, I believe. Unless you’re a BS’er. It was only available to listen a couple days ago.

  6. Yeah…Jamey, Dierks, and ZBB arguably had the 3 best mainstream releases last year, and yet we get Lady A winning an award for an album that’s already won a crap ton of mostly undeserved awards….UGH

  7. “Honey Bee” was made available on iTunes Friday. It’s bad, but not nearly as bad as “Hillbilly Bone.” I’m also glad it isn’t another party song.

    Too bad about Lady A…no one else had a chance, did they? ZBB robbed yet again!

  8. Honey Bee…plain awful. Sara singing good, but I’m so tired of hearing that song.Radio plays it to least my station does.

  9. Nice to see Sara Evans again, but I’m so sick of this song! I wish she was singing her next single, whatever that’s going to be. But she sang the fire out of it, and deserved the standing o.

    At least Marie Osmand was a country singer in the past..

    Vocal group…Lady A’s award to lose…and they win. When they are up for something, no one else has a fighting chance!

  10. “8:38 The return of Sara Evans to the ACMs. Last performance I remember from her here was that severely pitch-challenged one of “Coalmine” the night she won Top Female years ago. She sounds better here, but still not up to many of her recorded performances.”

    I agree.

  11. Speaking of The9513’s awesome live blog, Blake Boldt recently said this: “I can’t bear to see Montgomery Gentry on stage. It makes me want to put my paws over my eyes. I’ll spare you the rest of the grizzly details.”

    I snickered more than I should have.

  12. I like Miranda, but why does she refuse to sing ANY song live in the same cadence (tempo, whatever you want to call it) as the recorded versions? It’s kind of obnoxious…

  13. “And I like to fantasize that she got some inspiration for that opening “honestly, I think I need a drink” line from Drunken Martina.”

    I thought the same thing.:)

  14. Well the Carrie snub is complete. Thanks a lot record label – you officially threw her under the bus. Don’t begrudge Miranda … but this just disgusts me.

  15. Leeann – I’m glad we’re in agreement.

    Why was “If I Were a Boy” yanked from country radio? It was a slow riser, though. I do like this new song she sang. It’s hip and catchy enough to stand out at radio.

    I’m glad Miranda won but I was pulling for Reba. She’s had an amazing year. But she has won a zillion of these in the past.

  16. Ditto for Zac and James. “Colder Weather” is great and “Sweet Baby James” has always been one of my favorites. A highlight from the night for sure!

  17. No offence but you dont know what youre talking about, When love gets a hold of you is nothing like TOTR, TOTR is a boy trashing song where as WLGAHOY is a love song, see the difference.

    Yea sure reba is over 50 but does that mean she cant sing about love. I mean look at what she wore for petes sake, that’s the classiest reba has dressed in a LONG LONG time. This is reba’s most mature single since Keep on lovin you.

  18. I didn’t think I could be more disgusted … but I am. Thanks ACMs for setting this up so that the least talented performer won. Can we say goodbye to the ‘fan vote’ aspect of this award from now on? PLEASE?????

  19. I actually didn’t even watch tonight’s broadcast. My wife really wanted to see the finale of Chopped All-Stars on Food Network, and it turns out I was entirely indifferent. It doesn’t sound like I missed anything performance-wise that I would have cared to see/hear, anyway.

    One question: When the nominees were announced and I made my predictions, I had it down that there was a Top New Solo Vocalist of the Year award in addition to Top New Vocal Duo or Vocal Group of the Year. What happened? Did I screw that up somehow, were the two combined after they were announced or did I just not see any reference to a Top New Solo Vocalist winner?

    Gonna tally up my predictions vs. the winners and see how I did. I’m pretty sure I fared better here than I did with the Grammy’s.

  20. Cool.

    Taylor Swift won–err, I mean BOUGHT the EOTY trophy, and it was a very predictable night.

    Ranking the performances.
    1. Carrie/Steven — the show peaked after that.
    2. Darius Rucker
    3. Sara Evans
    Everyone else was subpar to them.

  21. I actually enjoyed a number of the performances; there were just too many. Liked Carrie/Steven, Miranda, Taylor, Zac Brown Band and James Taylor, Ronnie Dunn, Martina, and Darius & co.

    I think it’s cool that acts like Jason Aldean have this “I’m not going to beg” policy when it comes to the fan-voted awards, but that’s their choice. Taylor Swift’s choice is to mobilize her fanbase; I don’t think that’s “stealing.” I’d rather we did away with fan-voted Entertainer and New Artist altogether.

  22. I’m not a fan of the fan voted awards either, but I don’t blame those who care enough about them to ask for votes. I totally would.

    My favorite performances were Martina McBride, Taylor Swift, Zac Brown Band, Toby Keith and Miranda Lambert. Reba was good too. I think Martina was my favorite though. It was nice to enjoy her again.

  23. Oh, and for what it’s worth, I think it’s a shame that EOY is fan-voted because I honestly think Swift deserved it. I do agree that Underwood should have been a nominee, though.

  24. I honestly thought the CU/Steven Tyler duet was a hot mess. I need to go back and re-watch.

    I liked a number of the other performances, Taylor’s included. It was a very colorful show; I certainly wouldn’t call it boring.

  25. I kinda like this Reba song. Sounds like something she’d do in the nineties. -Leeann

    My thoughts exactly.

    Otherwise, I’m happy I didn’t bother to watch the show, and just watched what I wanted to on youtube.

    But wanted to say congrats to Taylor’s win for EOTY, a deserved win, for sure. (especially after hers was one of the best performances of the night)

  26. I saw just a little bit of the show, when they had Taylor on….James Taylor, that is (LOL)–a man who, with just that one song of his (“Sweet Baby James”) that he did with Zac Brown, showed that he had more songwriting integrity and a better knowledge of what true country music is than virtually everyone else on that show combined.

  27. I would like to sacrifice my first born child to Country Universe for introducing me to the wonder that is Drunk Martina.

    I can’t believe Lady Antebellum is still coasting on the success of ‘Need You Now’, AKA ‘The Song That Wouldn’t Die’. It’s not even THAT great… I actually only really cared for it when it was sung by Adele and Darius Rucker.

  28. I was just reflecting on the awards today. I didn’t enjoy them overall, but this did have to set some record for a female presence among award winners. Except for male vocalist and vocal event, every other award was either won by a female artist or by a duo or group that features heavily a female singer. Have we ever had an awards show that did that before? While I didn’t appreciate the “show” as much as years past, I do appreciate this history making presence (if it is, in fact, history making as I suspect.)

  29. Chad makes a really good point. And look who we have regularly making the radio now:

    Carrie Underwood
    Taylor Swift
    Miranda Lambert
    Reba McEntire
    Lady Antebellum
    The Band Perry
    Steel Magnolia

    With Martina McBride and Sara Evans pulling off some manner of comeback and the very talented Edens Edge waiting in the wings. Anyone else?

    Just two years ago or so, it was pretty much only the first three names on that main list.

  30. I would add Sunny Sweeney to Dan’s list. Yes, she’s only had one major hit, but she continues to get a lot of buzz.

    It’s nice to see all the female singers getting success right now!

  31. It’s amazing how Taylor Swift won the biggest award of the night and Miranda Lambert won the most awards of the night, yet that was all completely overshadowed by the outstanding collaboration of Carrie and Steven.

    Even when Carrie walks away empty-handed, she still wins! Over 2 million hits on YouTube in less than 2 days, and charted on the YouTube Top 100 charts in over 25 countries. For a girl who’s never once traveled outside of North America for a tour, she’s got quite the promotion on her hands. I think Carrie made a few more fans. ;)

  32. Thanks, Dan, for the affirmation of my thoughts. I still don’t think we’re anywhere near the hey day of the 90s when it comes to great women in country music, but it is nice and notable that women are getting their due. However, if you look at the charts, there is still an abnormally small percentage of female voices. I wish that the awards would translate into a true change, but I’ll take this small step.

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