Welcome ladies and gentlemen to Saving Country Music’s Official 2016 ACM Awards LIVE blog, where we will smack talk, celebrity shame, and hopefully see some positive moments to share with each other to try and get through yet another mainstream country music awards show sham together. Fair warning that you may see the occasional swear word or grammatical flub as the timeline unfolds because this is all about working without a net and letting the free form consciousness flow as the presentation unfolds right before our very eyes. And as always, feel free to pipe up with your observations below in the comments.
Everyone straight on the rules? Then touch gloves, head to your respective corners, and be ready to come out swinging.
All times Central time.
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- Entertainer of the Year – Jason Aldean
- Album of the Year – Chris Stapleton
- Song of the Year – Chris Stapleton
- Male Vocalist of the Year- Chris Stapleton
- Female Vocalist of the Year – Miranda Lambert
- Vocal Group of the Year – Little Big Town
- Vocal Duo of the Year – Florida Georgia Line
- Single of the Year – Thomas Rhett “Die a Happy Man”
- Video of the Year – Eric Church’s “Mr. Misunderstood”
10:23: SUMMARY: Welp, to be the master of the obvious, it was a huge night for Chris Stapleton, arguably an even bigger night than the CMA’s last November since he also walked away with Song of the Year. Where this stops, nobody knows, but it is forcing a lot of folks to reassess their feelings on country music these days. The last question left is if radio will still be a big holdout for Stapleton, or will it finally acquiesce to him and artists like him after his dominance. In November this was all a shock. Now it is expected. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this in the coming days.
The win for Jason Aldean is no footnote. It is massive for him, and will likely be his career’s crowning achievement. It’s easy to say he doesn’t deserve it, but he’s been selling out arenas and stadiums for years, so it shouldn’t be surprising it happened. If anything, it’s surprising it took this long. But Aldean’s personal life and other flubs have kept him from the top tier previously. Not any more.
It’s still quizzical why Miranda Lambert continues to win over Carrie Underwood for Female Vocalist of the Year. Miranda performing a ZZ Top song was her admitting she’s been struggling at radio lately, while Carrie has had some success. No offense to Miranda, but it seems so “Automatic” to her that the award has almost lost its luster.
10:06: THANK YOU to everyone for stopping by, following along, tweeting, retweeting, liking, following, sharing, commenting, especially commenting, I will catch up on them momentarily. It’s been a busy night, controversy was stirred, but it wouldn’t be any fun otherwise. I will compose some final thoughts, and then we’ll be out of here. THANKS! (even you Studley Dudley)
10:03: Wow, big shock for Jason Aldean to take the night’s top prize. Like he said, he’s been “rough around the edges,” and that has left him on the outside looking in many times before for this award. Also appreciate this means Luke Bryan won NOTHING tonight. Neither did Sam Hunt, and a long list of others.
10:00: Blackface comedian Jason Aldean wins the ACM for Entertainer of the Year
9:57: WINNER – Jason Aldean wins Entertainer of the Year.
9:56: Tom Hiddleston who is playing Hank Williams in the new biopic will hand out Entertainer of the Year.
9:55: Chris Stapleton has won 6 of the 7 country awards he’s been nominated for, and 8 of the 10 awards including the Grammy Awards.
9:54: Wow, and now we watch Chris Stapleton shill for Ram Trucks. Hey, everyone’s gotta get paid.
9:52: Great performance by Stapleton. We’re watching country music history folks.
And now we get to watch Luke Bryan win Entertainer of the Year …again.
9:50: “Fire Away” is an excellent choice to showcase Chris Stapleton’s talents out of the shadow of Justin Timberlake, and now standing on his own two feet as a bona fide superstar.
9:47: Of course this Florida Georgia Line performance is terrible, but I can’t help but look at Brian Kelley and not think that years from now, he’s going to be flamethrowing all the stuff he’s done with Florida Georgia Line.
9:40: Catching hell on Twitter for my Dolly Parton joke. Goodness, like Dolly Parton hasn’t been joking about the same thing for 40-something years. Dierks told a joke before introducing her. Dolly loves this stuff, and she talks about it all the time. If you think Dolly Parton would be offended by a boob joke, you don’t know Dolly Parton.
9:37: Trying to mentally block out Katy Perry, but happy to see they’re giving Dolly Parton an extended time slot to bring some classic country to the stage.
9:32: There’s more silicone on the ACM stage right now than in your local Ace Hardware’s paint department. #DollyandKaty
9:31: Katy Perry: The poor award show’s Taylor Swift.
9:29: Once again, it’s a non-country performer who actually desses appropriately for a country music awards show, even though in Katy Perry’s case, it’s all camp.
9:27: Obviously, Stapleton’s wins are huge. I’m not sure we all know what we are witnessing, and what it means to country music.
9:20: WINNER The ACM Male Vocalist of the Year goes to Chris Stapleton!
9:18: And what exactly is the cultural tie-in, or current relevancy of taking performance slots away from other to play “Tush” on a country awards show? Love Gibbons, but clueless of what that’s all about, except that Miranda doesn’t have a current single.
9:15: Billy Gibbons has no idea who any of these A-holes are he’s playing for. They gave him $10,000, wheeled him out on stage, and told him this was a guitar convention.
9:12: Your Saving Country Music Alternative Female Vocalist of the Year is Margo Price!
9:10: By the way, your Saving Country Music Alternative Group of the Year is Mike and the Moonpies!
9:08: Thomas Rhett is trying to have a Eric Church moment, but from the faux hawk to the boring song, he’s more like a young Randy Houser.
9:07: I’d “Die a Happy Man” if I never heard another Thomas Rhett song the rest of my life. #dadjoke
9:05: Country music used to be three chords and the truth. Now it’s some dude dressed in white playing a plastic piano with a drum machine. What the hell is this Sam Hunt?
9:03: Miranda Lambert says some words about how she’s happy to see so many new female artists singing their own songs.
9:02: Miranda Lambert wins the ACM for Female Vocalist of the Year. And water is wet.
9:00 – Carrie Underwood is an excellent singer, and she’s usually the bright spot of award shows, but that song does nothing for me. She got a Standing O, so what do I know.
8:59: Oh great, the floor drums—the most overdone bit in music awards show history.
8:57: Why is Carrie Underwood’s outfit reminding me of the crazy computer woman from Super Man III?
8:53: Look, I’m really happy they at least mentioned Joey Feek, but if you are going to PROMOTE it as part of your show, then you better spend more than 30 seconds, and NOT screw it up by talking over the scant presentation you put together. DON’T blame Darius Rucker or Martina McBride. This was on the ACM’s. Been technical hiccups all night.
8:51: Little Big Town, “Thanks Chris Stapleton for not being a group.”
8:50: WINNER Little Big Town wins Vocal Group of the Year.
8:48: That’s your Joey Feek tribute ACM’s ? Super lame.
8:47: Great, they fuck up the Joey Feek tribute.
8:46: Notice there are NO musicians playing anywhere, at all? Country music in 2016 folks.
8:45: Can’t say I blame Charles Kelly for ditching the puppeteer and the oompa loompa from Lady Antebellum. But this song blows.
8:41: Not sure Tim McGraw’s performance had the impact he was hoping for, but I’m not going to snark it. He tried to do something different and create a moment, and you can’t blame him for that.
8:39: “Wait, you want me to actually wear my fireman suit on stage like one of The Village People or something?”
8:37: I really like McGraw’s “Humble and Kind,” despite the obviously cheese. It reminds me a lot of a late-era Don Williams song. Tim McGraw’s one of the last guys with the guts to release a song that actually says something to country radio.
8:35: How Tim McGraw’s hat travels, no joking.
8:34: Aww, Kelsea Ballerini and Nick Jonas: two performers who think Kenny Chesney invented country.
8:33: Get back to me when you’ve got some hair on your balls Nick Jonas.
8:31: Ouch, Kelsea missing some notes. Why exactly is she getting enough time to perform a medley when Kacey Musgraves and Maddie & Tae were seated 20 rows back?
8:30: Kelsea Ballerini looks like she’s perpetually has a Smartie stuck up her nose.
8:22: Since they gave out this award pre-telecast to Florida Georgia Line:
Your Saving Country Music Alternative Vocal Duo of the Year is The Cactus Blossoms!
8:21: Someone mentioned Trombone Shorty was on stage and Sam Hunt thought they meant someone was getting a rusty trombone on stage.
8:20: Security! Actual musicians on stage!
8:18: Urban is actually a great picker, at least technically speaking. So he fake plays to a backing track to a song that leans on electronic doo dads.
8:17: Ha! Keith, you forgot to pretend to play those last few notes of the solo. Get this bullshit off my television.
8:16: Wow, this new Keith Urban song is terrible. So electronic. No way he’s playing that banjo.
8:10: All these wins for Stapleton is making it hard to let the hate flow tonight.
8:09: Little victory: Bobby Bones didn’t even get any face time.
8:08 – You’re no Justin Timberlake, Brett Eldredge. Don’t even try.
8:05: And once again we get to see Dave Cobb on a major mainstream awards show stage. That’s how far we’ve come.
8:04: Chris Stapleton: “Garth Brooks just gave me an award!” And it was Ottawa, not Iowa, but who cares, CHRIS STAPLETON JUST WON *ANOTHER* ALBUM OF THE YEAR AWARD.
8:01: WINNER YES! YES! YES! The ACM Award for Album of the Year goes to Chris Stapleton’s “Traveller.”
7:58: “Lights Come On” is self-affirming, self-worshiping dreck. Contrast that with Bob Seger’s “Turn The Page” about road life.
7:57: This new Jason Aldean song is insufferable.
7:51: Doesn’t Chase Rice have a barely legal to heavy pet right now?
7:50 – WINNER Thomas Rhett wins Single of the Year for “Die A Happy Man”
7:48: What I want to know is who will win the Best Fake Tan tonight? Jana Kramer, Luke Bryan, or Jake Owen?
7:46: Cam is fine. I’m still a little on the outside looking in to why “Burning House” is so special, but this is certainly the best performance of the night so far.
7:44: Just appreciate that Dierks Bentley is on record basically saying that “Somewhere On A Beach” is a bad song. Boring, uninspired performance.
7:41: Eric Church puts actions behind his words by paying tribute to Lemmy, David Bowie, Glenn Frey during his set. Possibly a good excuse to put turntables on a country awards stage. Let’s see how many passed country greats get paid tribute tonight.
7:40: They just played Lemmy on the ACM Awards. They just played Lemmy on the ACM Awards.
7:38: “Record Year” is not the best song on “Mr. Misunderstood,” but after all the other crap we’ve been exposed to so far, this is not bad.
7:35: Stapleton said, “‘You’ve got to be kidding me. I thought sure we were going to get girl crushed on this one.” I guess there is an award “Girl Crush” won’t win. That speaks to the power Stapleton is wielding in country at the moment. It will be interesting to see how country radio reacts to the win, and if it will push “Nobody To Blame” into the Top 5.
7:32: So Wal-Mart is fighting hunger? That’s rich. How, by putting local stores and growers out of business and creating food deserts throughout the country as they stifle any and all competition?
7:31: I thought Chris Janson was busy starring in Geico commercials as a caveman.
7:30: Never too late to take up day trading Chris Young. So generic.
7:28 DID NOT SEE THAT coming. This could be a HUGE night for Stapleton. Who ever thought he’d win Song of the Year, especially for that number? Not that it doesn’t deserve it considering the field.
7:27: WINNER YES! Chris Stapleton wins the ACM for Song of the Year for “Nobody To Blame”! Eat that country radio!
7:26: Von freaking Miller is the most authentically dudded up guy in the entire arena.
7:25: Good, Von Miller. Maybe he can carry this lame broadcast on his back like he did a lame Peyton Manning through the playoffs.
7:24: Appreciate this: The entire opening skit was basically about Chris Stapleton. That’s how far we’ve come friends.
7:22: So apparently the big silence during Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley’s part in the opening skit was because he called Luke Bryan an asshole on live network TV. Why do I all of a sudden have new esteem for Charles Kelley?
7:20 From Wheeler Walker Jr.: “Kenny Chesney is singing a song called “Noise”. I’d rather listen to the noise of my grandpa taking a shit.”
7:19 Wow, Taylor Swift, eat your heart out. Can’t remember a more off-key performance in quite a while. “Noise” is right there Kenny.
7:17 Yikes! Someone shove a sandy Panama Jack flip flop in Kenny Chesney’s pie hole. Now I know why he usually prefers to lip sync.
7:15 Thank God Old Dominion only gets 45 seconds on the short bus stage. Never a good sign when a “country” band has a Nord keyboard on stage.
7:14 Look on Stapleton’s face: “Kill me now.”
7:12 Okay, kind of a funny bit about who knew Chris Stapleton first. Nonetheless, mainstream country artists make bad fake hipsters.
7:10 Wow, this monologue is godawful.
7:08 Shit, and I thought we we’re going to be spared seeing Blake Shelton every other segment tonight.
7:06 The girl in Blake Shelton’s “Came Here to Forget” video was supposed to be on stage too but it’s past her bedtime. #15getsyou20
7:05 Wow, this presentation is super wonky so far. Let’s hope the wheels come completely off.
7:04 Ha! Where’s the one Luke, where is it ?! First song, and a massive flub already. So paint by the numbers.
7:02 What are those symbols on Luke Bryan’s hat?!? It’s like Led Zepplin’s ZOSO symbols for fake-tan having, Gomer Pyle-impersonating Georgia bad song-singing doofuses.
7:00 Here we go!
6:59 Luke Bryan is scheduled to open the show with “Huntin’ Fishin’ Hurtin’ Destroyin’ Country Music Every Day” to start the show.
6:57 Sensing a very palpable disconnect with the awards this year like I’ve never sensed before. With so many other things going on tonight, the Presidential election and other stuff, the ACM’s just feel like an afterthought. We’ll see if they can tantalize American to watch en masse.
6:52 Unconfirmed, late-breaking word that Chris Stapleton will be performing LAST. That means nobody has the daunting task of attempting to follow him, and it also sets up the possibility that they want to put the night’s biggest winner in the biggest spot.
6:50 So a bunch of awards have already been doled out, more than I have ever seen before a telecast has started. Here’s a run down:
- New Male Vocalist of the Year Chris Stapleton
- New Female Vocalist of the Year Kelsea Ballerini
- New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year Old Dominion
- Vocal Duo of the Year Florida Georgia Line
- Video of the Year Eric Church’s “Mr. Misunderstood”
Also Dave Cobb won for Producer of the Year, and Ross Cooperman for Songwriter of the Year.