The 2021 ACM Awards LIVE Blog

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the 2021 ACM Awards LIVE blog, where for the next three hours (gulp), we will follow along in real time, razzing rich and famous people for the way their dressed, praising the few real country music personalities that they actually let on the show, and generally making the whole experience slightly more palatable by poking fun at the whole dog and pony show.

This is all unscripted, so apologies ahead of time for syntax errors, and make sure to bring a thick skin. This is all in good fun, so don’t be a sissy.

To see the nominees, CLICK HERE.

All times Central time.

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Entertainer of the Year – Luke Bryan
Album of the Year – Chris Stapleton – “Starting Over”
Male Artist of the Year – Thomas Rhett
Female Artist of the Year – Maren Morris
Song of the Year – Maren Morris – “The Bones”
Single of the Year – Carly Pearce and Lee Brice – “I Hope You’re Happy Now”
Duo of the Year – Dan + Shay
Group of the Year – Old Dominion
New Male Artist of the Year – Jimmie Allan
New Female Artist of the Year – Gabby Barrett
Musical Event of the Year – Carly Pearce and Lee Brice – “I Hope You’re Happy Now”
Video of the Year – Kane Brown

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10:11 – The biggest takeaway from the 2021 ACM Awards by far and away will be the remarkable performances by Dierks Bentley with The War & Treaty and Larkin Poe, and Carrie Underwood also joined by CeCe Winans. Some of the best awards show moments we’ve seen in a while. Mickey Guyton also had a moment, and Miranda Lambert pulled triple duty and did well too.

As for the awards, meh. It was a weird mix of winners in a weird year, and unfortunately, there wasn’t really any big win for someone that’s easy to root for. It was a big snoot full of Maren Morris, Old Dominion, Dan + Shay, and Luke Bryan. Only Album of the Year feels like a victory for Chris Stapleton, but still one that’s par for the course.

As for the presentation, the ACMs once again smoked the CMAs. They seemed to take the right tact for the moment, actually remembered an In Memoriam segment, and included a lot of relative unknowns in performances, which was a plus. There also seemed to be much more engagement online compared to the CMAs, and last month’s Grammy’s which felt like a funeral. Still, it was the ACMs, which means you take the little good with the mostly bad.

10:02 – Alright folks, I’m going to compose some final thoughts, recap the winners, go to the instant replay footage of what the hell happened with the Dan + Shay performance, and then call it a night.

Thanks for stopping by, reading, commenting, liking, sharing, and everything else. I appreciate it!

10:00 – I’m sure the explanation will be that in a year with no touring, Luke Bryan deserved it because he was “entertaining” from the American Idol desk. But Luke just doesn’t pull nearly the attention he did years ago. That’s why he took the Idol gig.

9:58 – Luke Bryan winning Entertainer of the Year is the perfect way to end the last hour.

This could have been the perfect year for Chris Stapleton to finally earn it.


9:57 – The 2021 ACM Entertainer of the Year goes to Gomer Pyle!!!

9:54 – With that performance, Little Big Town just invented a new genre of music called mom rock.

9:53 – Where’s a riotous Antifa mob when you need them to disrupt a terrible downtown street performance by the washed-up Little Big Town?

9:51 – This Maren Morris acceptance speech is more lost than Kane Brown on his own 30 acres.

9:50 – WINNER – The 2021 ACM for Female Vocalist goes to Karen Morris.

9:49 – Cool of Stapleton to also mention his backing band, J.T. Cure and those guys.

9:45 – Can’t complain about Chris Stapleton winning Album of the Year. Yeah, sort of a default pick, and I was really hoping Ashley McBryde would win and finally get her moment. But with Luke Bryan and Kane Brown also in the category, it could have gone much worse. 2nd best outcome.

9:43 – WINNER – The 2021 ACM Album of the Year goes to Chris Stapleton for “Starting Over.”

9:42 – Into the mic, Clay Walker. What are you a rookie?

9:40 – I almost want to like Kelsea Ballerini. But she just doesn’t bring much, and the electronic drum beat in what’s supposed to be a stripped-down, organic and acoustic performance sullied the vibe. In fact the whole thing was likely a backing track.

9:39 – Two Kenny Chesney appearances on an awards show is too many.

9:36 – Thanks everyone for following and commenting. 25 more minutes!

9:33 – From earlier, apparently Blake Shelton performed “Austin” because it’s the 20th Anniversary of the song. I want to apologize to my fans, my family, the Academy, and Jesus for not knowing that. I promise to be better.

9:30 – The new Brothers Osborne album didn’t do much for me (“Not For Everyone” I guess). But this song ain’t terrible, shameless name drops notwithstanding.

9:27 – Keith Urban. Seriously dude. You’re 53-years-old. Your public hairs are grey. Friggin’ act like it and stop with this wanky pop shit.

9:26 – Something is wrong with Keith Urban’s face.

9:19 – Oh, how embarrassing! When announcing the 2021 ACM Male Artist of the Year, they mispronounced “Tyler Childers” as “Thomas Rhett.”

9:17 – WINNER – The 2021 ACM for Male Vocalist of the Year goes to Thomas Rhett.

9:15 – I’ve always believed in Mickey Guyton, and I’ve always had a soft spot for her, especially since she’s from my hometown of Dallas. I just wish the rest of the industry would have recognized her talent when it was all about the music, and her music was more country.

This was a great performance.

9:11 – As for the Dan + Shat win for Duo of the Year, it was very predictable, but might have been cool to see Brooks & Dunn or Maddie & Tae surprise us.

9:08 – LOL! Florida Georgia Line’s official appearance on the 2021 ACM Awards comes via a fucking T-Mobile commercial. Oh how the mighty have fallen.


9:06 – Just a little curious about all the love for Carly Pearce’s and Lee Brice’s “I Hope You’re Happy Now.” I guess it’s Curb Records calling in all of their favors since Brice is about all they have left on their roster.

9:03 – WINNER – The 2021 ACM for Vocal Duo of the Year goes to Dan + Shat

9:01 – This Leslie Jordan dude been all in my social feeds lately. Not sure why I should care about him.

8:59 – Correction: I believe Bobby Braddock just produced “Austin,” didn’t write it. But still.

Curious why Shelton is performing it now.

8:57 – Blake Shelton is singing his first hit “Austin.” Hard to not admit it’s a great song. Bobby Braddock knows how to write ’em.

8:52 – Well, no rebellious moment of country protest for Alan Jackson where he shakes his fist at the powers that be, but a really solid performance from the Mother Church that certainly helped class this presentation up and instill it with some actual country.

8:46 – Alan Jackson. From the Ryman. Let’s go to church.

8:45 – Ashley McBryde should finish this performance by doing a cannonball into the Cumberland.

8:42 – Ashley McBride shows up to sing the murder ballad “Martha Divine.” She’s up for FOUR awards, incl. Album of the Year. I’d say she’s the front runner, but the way the song awards went so wierd, who knows.

8:38 – Nice, we get a rather abbreviated, but still important In Memoriam segment at the end of the Kenny Chesney performance. See CMA’s, how friggin hard is that?

8:37 – Got to admit, this Kenny Chesney song ain’t terrible. Still, he’s looking more like Gollum every year.

8:35 – Kenny Chesney? I thought he was intubated in a retirement home in the Bahamas.

8:34 – Strange win for Single of the Year. I thought Gabby would get it. Not sure “I Hope You’re Happy Now” had much impact.

8:33 – Carly Pearce: “I love country music more than anything in the whole world.”

8:32 – WINNER – The ACM for Song of the Year goes to Carly Pearce and Lee Brice for “I Hope You’re Happy Now.”

8:31 – Goodness, that’s a short, short skirt. You can almost see Martina’s McBride.

8:30 – Jimmie Allan shouldn’t be allowed to dress himself.

8:25 – As some are pointing out in the comments section, Larkin Poe also performed with Dierks Bentley and The War & Treaty on “Pride (In The Name of Love).” With CeCe Winans, Jon Randall, Jack Ingram, Elle King, there’s been a lot of deserved face time for some cool independent folks tonight.

8:21 – Will never take for granted getting to see Jack Ingram and Jon Randall on national prime time television. Good on Miranda Lambert for always elevating the names and voices of deserving songwriters.

8:18 – Luke Combs is worth rooting for and better than most. But man, he sure can turn in a generic song on your ass.

8:17 – Luke Combs looks like the guy you’ve gotta meet to get the keys to the gate of a deer lease.

8:13 – Dan + Shay just had an Ashlee Simpson-style syncing moment meltdown on national television. Maybe there’s a technical explanation, but can’t help to hope it does their career in.

8:09 – Um, what the HELL ?!? Everyone else seeing this? Either Dan + Shay is singing to a backing track, or there’s some MAJOR sync problems.

8:08 – Some folks like to joke they don’t know which one is Dan and which one is Shay. But the truth is they’re the same person.

8:07 – This Eric Church performance is fine. But man, don’t envy him having to follow up Carrie.

8:04 – Didn’t think anyone would top Dierks / War & Treaty, but Carrie Underwood took us to church.

8:02 – Damn, we’re getting like four songs from Carrie Underwood. Hopefully she’s eating into Dan + Shay’s time. Now she’s laying into “How Great Thou Art,” which she kills.

8:00 – Sometimes Carrie Underwood’s voice can be a little “much.” But it’s perfect for Gospel. Send it to the rafters!

7:59 – CeCe Winans can go ahead and make her country album any darn time she wants to.

7:58 – Also cool to see Carrie singing a Gospel song standing in the center of the Opry circle. That’s a feature that’s been missing from many of these award shows over the years.

7:56 – Carrie Underwood starts off her performance with an a capella version of “Amazing Grace.”

Her new gospel album is worth the trouble folks.

7:55 – Dolly!

7:50 – Dierks and The War & Treaty just turned in the performance of the night so far. Unexpected and welcomed. Bravo!

7:47 – This is super cool. Dierks Bentley singing “Pride (In The Name of Love)” bluegrass style with the War & Treaty. Originally from U2, Dierks covered the song on his great 2010 record “Up On The Ridge.”

7:45 – Maren Morris: “Hopefully this song brought you some peace.”

Actually, it boils my blood and makes me want to head downtown and loot storefronts/flip cars.

7:44 – Ashley McBryde / Miranda Lambert / Chris Stapleton got screwed.

7:43 – WINNER – The 2021 ACM for Song of the Year goes to Maren Morris for “The Bones.”

7:42 – Huh Huh. They said Luke “Dick.”

7:42 – Man, when is this Amish hat fetish gonna go away?

7:40 – Gabby Barrett’s got some good songs. It’s the production that does them in. This stripped-down Bluebird performance ain’t half bad.

7:38 – Ooh, War & Treaty with Dierks. Could be fun.

7:31 – Ugh, Lady A is still a thing?

Would rather hear from the real Lady A they filched their name from.

7:30 – The only reason for Maren Morris’s entire music career is simply an excuse to have interns scour her social media to find mean comments to couch her as a victim.

7:27 – Somewhere there’s a peacock farm with a bunch of pissed off bald birds right about now.

7:25 – Writing a country song about a deceased dog is a pretty easy way to turn in a weeper. But damn if it don’t work.

7:25 – Damn, Miranda Lambert IS going to be everywhere like a bad rash tonight. She opened the show, is singing harmony for Stapleton, and is supposed to appear with Jack Ingram and Jon Randall later.

7:24 – 24 minutes into a country awards show and we see our first cowboy hat. Thanks Chris Stapleton.

7:20 – Look if Thomas Rhett wants to go country, I’m not gonna get in the dude’s way. Guarantee there’s some marketing calculus to all of this, but hard to see it as anything as a sum positive, even if they lyrics still feel derivative.

7:17 – For the record, so far I am 3 for 3 in my awards predictions so far. Got both New Artists Awards, and Group of the Year.

7:14 – No clue why Old Dominion continues to win these damn awards. Such a nothing band. I guess because the Group category is so weak.

7:13 – WINNER – The ACM for Group of the Year goes to Old Dominion.

7:12 – Boy, Blanco Brown looks like a walking joke, but I’ll be respectful since he’s recovering …I won’t make a joke about his big bag of nothing.

7:10 – Let’s not forget that not to long ago, Kane Brown got lost on his own property and had to call the police to be rescued. Some really bright folks in this new crop of “country” artists.

7:08 – Really happy Chris Young was able to get some time off stocking shelves at Home Depot to perform tonight.

This dude still has a music career?

7:06 – Someone help me. What’s the name of the rare Asian bird Keith Urban trained to perch on the top of his head?

7:05 – History is being made tonight. Mickey Guyton is the first ever black host of the ACMs, and Keith Urban is the first ever washed-up pop Aussie douche canoe to host. So proud.

7:03 – Miranda Lambert: “No, I think the fringe needs to be longer. No, longer than that. No, even LONGER. I want this shit to be a tangle hazard for a toddler.”

7:01 – Elle King could kick the ass of every single male performer you’ll see tonight ‘cept Alan Jackson, and drink ’em all under-the-table too.

6:59 – If Ashley McBryde wins for Album of the Year, which I think there’s a good chance of, then it will make it all worth it.

6:56 – Seriously, I’m not exactly sure why I’m doing this exercise anymore. These awards shows (and the live blogs) used to be one of the biggest events all year. Especially over the last year, interest in these things has plummeted incredibly. I’m not sure how much longer they will even be televised, except what else is network TV gonna show? COVID killed the awards show.

I guess I keep doing them because if I have to watch, I might as well make it fun for myself.

6:51 – Some awards have already been handed out. Gabby Barrett won for Best New Female Artist, and Jimmie Allen won for Best New Male Artist. Kane Brown won for Video for the Year for a video nobody remembers, and Carly Pearce and Lee Brice won for Musical Event of the Year for “I Hope You’re Happy Now.”

Also Morgan Wallen won the 2021 David Alan Coe Award for equity in country music.

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