Saving Country Music’s 2018 ACM Awards LIVE Blog

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the official 2018 ACM Awards LIVE blog. For those of you not familiar with this exercise, for the next three hours we will be ranting and raving, holding feet to the fire, showering others with praise who are worthy, and generally trying to make the excruciating practice of watching a live country music awards show that much less painful.

As thoughts are left below in a timeline fashion, please understand this is completely unscripted and off the cuff. There will be typos, occasional swear words, and plenty of snark offered in good fun. Whiners and PC/Grammer police, this is not the place for you. Others, feel free to leave YOUR opinions and observations below in the comments section, and get your refresh fingers ready.

For a list of nominees, presenters, performers, and what to expect, check out the 2018 ACM Awards Complete Preview.

All times Central.

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  • Entertainer of the Year – Jason Aldean
  • Album of the Year – Chris Stapleton’s “From A Room: Vol.1”
  • Male Vocalist of the Year – Chris Stapleton
  • Female Vocalist of the Year – Miranda Lambert
  • Song of the Year – Miranda Lambert’s “Tin Man”
  • Single of the Year – Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Backroad”
  • Vocal Group of the Year – Old Dominion
  • Vocal Duo of the Year- Brothers Osborne
  • Vocal Event of the Year – Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood – “The Fighter”
  • New Male Vocalist of the Year – Brett Young
  • New Female Vocalist of the Year – Lauren Alaina
  • New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year – Midland
  • Video of the Year – Brothers Osborne for “It Ain’t My Fault”
  • Vocal Duo of the Year – Brothers Osborne
  • Songwriter of the Year – Rhett Akins

10:18 – Chris Stapleton had another big night. Sam Hunt finally won an award. So did Jack Ingram so maybe it balances out. And Miranda Lambert is now the most decorated artist in ACM Awards history. Alan Jackson, Jon Pardi, Carrie Underwood, even Blake Shelton had good performances. Jason Aldean didn’t but walks away with the biggest prize. But the biggest miss appears to be a true lack of a proper tribute to the Route 91 Harvest Fest victims like the CMAs did so well, and in fact there was no In Memoriam segment at all. That was one of the numerous victims of squeezing in so many performances this year. Those that passed deserved something, even if it was a few seconds on a screen. Florida Georgia Line didn’t win anything again. Neither did Thomas Rhett. The ACMs under Pete Fisher (formerly of the Grand Ole Opry) really need to figure out their moral compass and creative direction, and clean up their nomination process. But overall there were some memorable moments, good and bad, but the 53rd Annual ACM awards will probably just blend into the background by next week, while we were talking about the 2017 CMAs weeks after.

10:10 – THANK YOU to everyone for reading, commenting, following along, liking, sharing, retweeting, etc. ! Going to compose some final thoughts, recap the winners, and I’ll be out of here!

10:05 – Look, Chris Stapleton probably deserved Entertainer of the Year for album sales and influence, or Garth for touring since it’s mostly a touring award these days. And as we saw from Jason Aldean’s performance tonight, he is a very flawed entertainer. But I’m not going to fault anyone for the way they voted here. Of course it was a sympathy vote, but I’m just going to say it was for the people of Las Vegas, and Aldean is their figure head. And Aldean has done well as the face of that tragedy. He’s no leader. He was foisted into that terrible narrative just like everyone else. And he did the best he could, and it was admirable.

9:59 – Chris Janson has a good single on radio right now with “Drunk Girl,” and he takes the ACMs out with THAT? Way to end on a sour note. This dude continues to be confounding.

9:58 – This win by Jason Aldean for the ACM Entertainer of the Year is for all the victims, all the survivors, all the first responders, everyone affected by the Route 91 Harvest Festival tragedy. It is THEIR Entertainer of the Year trophy. And always will be.

9:56 – #sympathyvote

9:55 – Oh fuck. Jason Aldean just won Entertainer of the Year.

9:53 – I believe two of the five nominees for Entertainer of the Year are not in attendance.

9:52 – In all seriousness, I have a lot of respect for someone who can give as little of a shit about performing for a national audience as Toby Keith did.

9:51 – Very solid performance from Reba and Kelly Clarkson.

9:49 – I’d tell Toby Keith to watch this and learn how an actual duet is done, but he’s vomiting in an In-&-Out Burger bathroom on Fremont St. at the moment.

9:47 – As a host, as a performer, Reba McEntire is proving what folly it is to age out country stars. This isn’t a Reba McEntire resurgence. She’s always been this great, and there was no reason for country music to ignore her for a decade. It’s always more meaningful when you see an artist perform with decades of mastery behind them.

9:44 – The ACM Award for Male Vocalist of the Year goes to Chris Stapleton.

9:40 – Was so geeked up to celebrate another Sam Hunt loss, and then that bullshit. And then he’s not even fucking there to accept it. What is Sam Hunt doing on a Sunday night, updating the iMac for his DJ station? What a chode.

9:37 – Lauren Alaina did okay with her 45 seconds I guess. Better than trying to sing with Kane Brown’s creep ass in her face.

9:34 – The ACM Award for Single of the Year goes to “Body Like a Backroad” for Sam Hunt. Fuck.

9:33 – Would have been cool if either the Luke Bryan or Carrie Underwood performance would have featured survivors and First Responders to the Vegas massacre. Perfect moment for it. Right now, the CMAs did it so much better. That still might be coming though.

9:31 – I’m no Luke Bryan fan, and we all know this. But take this in, and then after the show go watch his performance of “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” from the 2011 CMA Awards and tell me we aren’t seeing a sea change in mainstream country music. Boring maybe, but much better. Same goes for Blake Shelton and his past performances of “Boys ‘Round Here” and other garbage.

9:29 – I’m pretty sure Reba McEntire just made a racy butt joke. I respect her pluck.

9:27 – Still got a Reba performance coming, and what if Chris Stapleton wins Entertainer of the Year the same night Morgane gives birth to twins?

9:24 – Miranda Lambert now has one more ACM Award than anyone in history … can’t crack Top 20 on radio.

9:20 – Thomas Rhett is a haircut with a microphone.

9:18 – The Thomas Rhett performance is a good time to repost this important ACM quote:

“They should drop all the formulaic cannon fodder bullshit they’ve been pumping down rural America’s throats for 30 years along with the high school pagentry meat parade award show bullshit & start dedicating their programs to actual country music.” –Sturgill Simpson

9:17 – The ACM Award for Female Vocalist of the Year goes to Miranda Lambert.

…and water is wet.

9:15 – Does anyone think that guy from Florida Georgia Line who fake sings looks like a flunking Jedi in his man bun?

9:13 – Vegas is the perfect place for Darius Rucker to be performing. The ACMs should leave his ass off the plane back to Nashville to residency in the smokers lounge of the Bellagio.

9:12 – House cleaning: Midland did fine. Ultimately, it’s about the music, and they’re is much better than most in the mainstream.

9:09 – Not to harp on Carrie Undewrwood’s face because it’s a pretty stupid, People Magazine topic. But it is interesting that you didn’t see Carrie Underwood until they “revealed” her face. Ratings ploy. I guess maybe some nerve damage may have made it where her smile is very very slightly different. But who gives a shit?

9:06 – Looks like the server issues have been wrinkled out folks, thanks for hanging around. Dan + Shay sucks!

9:04 – The ACM Vocal Event of the Year goes to Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood for some garbage song.

9:02 – Sam Elliot’s mustache is more manly than all the other men who has performed tonight combined except for Alan Jackson.

9:01 – … pop as it may be.

9:00 – And those gams. Sorry, she’s a badass. Generational voice.

8:58 – All the dumb talk about Carrie Underwood’s face post her fall and hospitalization, I can’t tell a difference.

8:57 – I appreciate some folks think Carrie Underwood’s voice is “emotionless” or don’t care for this song. But think about all the other awful performances we’ve experienced tonight, and appreciate the talent on display here.

8:50 – Sever might be struggling a bit folks. Hang tight. Drunk Toby Keith set the internet ablaze.

8:48 – For once in my life, I felt bad for Blake Shelton.

8:47 – Toby Keith is going from this performance straight to the Betty Ford Clinic across town. Or should.

8:46 – No way Toby Keith is in a position to legally operate a motor vehicle at the moment.

8:44 – Great singing, horrible everything else. Little Big Town should have spent less time dressing like Ziggy Stardust, and doing an okay song justice.

8:42 – Maybe if they want “Rocket Man” Kim Jong Un to cough up his nukes, they should pipe this Little Big Town performance into Pyongyang and watch that fat bastard hit his knees. Yikes.

8:40 – The hell?

8:39 – Reba is doing a great job hosting, dropping important notes, delivering solid jokes.

8:37 – Cool note: Miranda Lambert was playing a guitar signed by Loretta Lynn. Perfect for that song.

8:35 – “Keeper of the Flame” is a good song, not great. But Miranda is doing a good job delivering it with passion. Fine performance.

8:33 – Randomly, you know who would make a good duet partner for Miranda Lambert? Even Felker of the Turnpike Troubadours. Just sayin’…

8:32 – Miranda Lambert now has more ACM Awards than anyone in ACM history with her win for Song of the Year, Reba announces.

8:30 – Jason Aldean sings to arenas for a living ladies and gentlemen. Let that sink in.

8:28 – Well one thing’s for sure, there is absolutely no doubt Jason Aldean is singing live. Holy shit.

8:27 – Why is Jason Aldean wearing the smock of a Pakistani errand boy? Who dresses these losers?

8:26 – Give me Bob Wayne’s “Love Songs Suck” over Ballerini’s “I Hate Love Songs.”

“You won’t ever hear me sing a love song
‘Cuz love songs suck.
You won’t ever hear me sing about blue skies or brown eyes,
…unless I’m real fucked up.”

8:26 – Who are these marionette looking dumbasses in suspenders?

8:26 – I can really connect with this Kelsea Ballerini song. She hates love songs, and I hate interloping pop stars parading as country artists using their daddy’s deep connections in country radio to hopscotch the field of actual country women.

8:25 – Kelsea Ballerini’s much more entertaining live when there’s a random Jonas Brother fucking up the guitar solo.

8:24 – It would be a huge shame if Kelsea Ballerini fell and landed on her voice.

8:23 – Almost halfway through folks, we can do this!

8:19 – LOL, comment from Not Kenny Rodgers on Twitter, “Chris Stapleton’s wife just gave birth to twins and they can already name more Merle Haggard songs than Florida Georgia Line.”

8:17 – Some guy that looks like the character on a Lucky Charms cereal box just walked away with ACM hardware. Excuse me as I go downtown and flip a police car.

8:16 – Old Dominion just won a fucking ACM Award.

8:15 – The ACM Award for Vocal Group of the Year goes to some band that doesn’t deserve it.

8:13 – This Keith Urban song truly offends me. Turned an iconic guitar riff, and made it sound like a drowning cat being electrocuted. Get out of my hemisphere, Keith!

8:11 – LOL, Reba McEntire introducing Keith Urban, “He can definitely rock a frosted tip.”

Good one.

8:10 – REAL email from a Kane Brown fan I got who for some reason thought I was Kane Brown.

8:09 – Thanks to everyone piping up in the comments section. Reading when I can.

8:07 – Apparently Blake Shelton’s Takamine guitar is made in JAPAN, not Korea. My apologies to the Korean people for associating you in any way with Blake Shelton.

8:05 – Kane Brown just illustrated every dad’s worst nightmare on primetime television.

8:03 – What the fuck is up with the creep fest from Kane? Yikes! Be looking for the #metoo from Lauren Alaina in the next few days.

8:02- LOL, where the band in this “performance”? Behind that big ass rock?

8:01 – Kane Brown has a decent voice. Not sure why he insists on wasting it on garbage.

8:00 – I ask “What If” every time I see Kane Brown. Like what if his management hadn’t shoveled payola to streaming services at the start of his career. Right now he’d probably be writing up 2-year cellular service contracts in a mall kiosk.

7:58 – This Blake Shelton song is definitely list-tastic, but folks are just going to have to deal with the fact that his recent album “Texoma Shore” is decent, and so is this song. Nothing wrong here.

7:57 – Of course Gwen Stefani gets a big dollop of face time.

7:55 – Nobody can make a Korean guitar sing like Blake Shelton.

7:50 – Dierks is definitely getting laid tonight. Guess that’s one positive to come out of that mild song.

7:49 – Dierks Bentley’s got more drummers than women on mainstream country radio.

7:48 – Shit I didn’t know The Lumineers were playing tonight. #dierksgonegranola

7:47 – No way that tall, dorky one in Lady Antebellum is singing those high notes live.

7:46 – I think they just showed Kimberly Perry from The Band Perry. First sighting in like two years. How the mighty fall.

7:44 – Why are the guys from Lady Antebellum dressed like they’re cleaning out the basement?

7:43 – …AND Chris Stapleton just had twin boys. Good reason not to be here.

7:42 – The ACM for Album of the Year goes to Chris Stapleton, “From A Room: Vol.1”

7:40 – Fucking Sugarland is back together, and Oasis is still broke up.

7:39 – Not a huge fan of “Chattahoochee.” It was probably one of Jackson’s most lame songs, but this is super cool. Torched being passed from Jackson to Pardi. Better know what to do with it Jon!

7:38 – “There’s not really much at all that’s real country music anymore on the mainstream country charts—what is nominated for awards. I don’t expect radio at all to sound like Hank Williams, but there oughta be room for all of it … Because there’s fans for it.” -Alan Jackson

7:37 – Jon Pardi – That’s what a COUNTRY singer looks like.

7:34 – Looks like Alan Jackson might be coming up.

7:31 – That was Brett Young I guess. Meh. Next.

7:30 – Who is this generic pop guy singing right now screwing up my buzz that Jack freaking Ingram was just on the ACM stage?

7:29 – JACK FREAKING INGRAM is speaking on the ACM Awards stage! Big win.

7:27 – The ACM for Song of the Year goes to “Tin Man” by Miranda Lambert! Songwriters Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall

7:26 – Glad Merle Haggard died before he had to see a man bun on the ACM Awards stage.

7:24 –

7:24 – Ah here comes Florida Georgia Line. Good time to take a piss.

7:19 – Oh shit, Florida Georgia Line coming up.

7:18 – At least Chris Young can sing. Maren left so much to be desired.

7:17 – Chris Young needs to spend less time singing formulaic songs about losing sleep, and get to the gym and try to lose that Michelin around his waist.

7:16 – Hey, Reba, you stole my joke! 🙂

7:14 – Maren Morris proving why Auto-Tune is not always a bad thing. Very breathy here.

7:13 – They’re also using Big Kenny’s top hat backstage as a portable toilet.

7:13 – ACMs going green by recycling stage props from the last Big & Rich tour behind Maren.

Incandescents are hard to get these days.

7:12 – Oh look, Maren Morris takes time from showing us all how fucking fabulous her life is on Instragram and repping sports bras for Calvin Klein and Nike to entertain us lowly proles.

7:11 – Wow, Kenny Chesney is so talented, he doesn’t even have to play his guitar for you to hear it. This guy!

7:10 – What we need in the world is more love … and more aluminum-bottomed Trackers loaned at 19% interest floating in our local Corps of Engineers reservoirs.

7:09 – Leave it to Kenny Chesney to equate world peace to purchasing personal watercrafts.

7:09 – Hard to hate on Reba.

7:07 – Oh shit, Chris Stapleton is not even there. Gonna make for some awkward trophy handouts. Hopefully Dave Cobb is in the house and gets some face time.

7:05 – Reba welcomed everyone to the “ACM Award”. I guess that’s because they might as well just give everything as one award to Chris Stapleton now.

7:04 – Reba: “I guess they figured out it only takes one woman to do the job of two men.” 🙂

7:03- I can’t tell you how happy I am Reba is hosting. Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley had NOTHING.

7:01 – Instead of opening with a song, it starts with Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Maren Morris, and Thomas Rhett remembering the Route 91 Harvest tragedy in words.

7:00 – Here we go!

6:59 – Also, during any tributes and stuff (especially at the start), let’s all try to keep the snark to a minimum. There will be ample opportunity to get our licks in.

6:57 – Okay folks, with these live things, there’s always a chance the server completely crashes with the extreme traffic load the site receives. A much as we try to plan against this, it’s always a possibility. If the site becomes unresponsive, it’ll come back. Just be patient.

6:54 – Not some huge Brothers Osborne fan, but it’s ridiculous that they made Vocal Duo of the Year an non-televised award this year, along with giving them Video of the Year before the telecast. If it was Florida Georgia Line winning, you can be rest assured they would be standing up there on the podium during primetime with their bad haircuts and designer ripped jeans.

6:52 – Some Awards have already been handed out:


  • New Male Vocalist of the Year – Brett Young
  • New Female Vocalist of the Year – Lauren Alaina
  • New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year – Midland
  • Video of the Year – Brothers Osborne for “It Ain’t My Fault”
  • Vocal Duo of the Year – Brothers Osborne
  • Songwriter of the Year – Rhett Akins


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