Las Vegas was the city, awards not gambling were the objects of choice. Reba McEntire hosted the Academy of Country Music awards and there were a few surprises as usual.
The show opened with a montage of hit songs starting with Brooks & Dunn singing Play Something Country who played this song in between Taylor Swift performing Picture to Burn, Sugarland performing It Happens, Carrie Underwood performing All American Girl, Rascal Flatts performing Me and My Gang, then all of the artists finished up the song Play Something Country with with Brooks & Dunn. Reba came back out and introduced all the artists up for Entertainer of the Year, all were in attendance for the show except for Brad Paisley who didn’t want to travel from Nashville because his wife was due at any minute with their second child.
The first of the non country stars came out to present the award for Song of the Year, Jennifer Love Hewitt announced Jamey Johnson had won for In Color. Heidi Newfield then came out to perform her first solo hit Johnny and June (a tribute to Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash). New cross over artist Darius Rucker (formerly of Hootie and the Blowfish) came out to present the award for Top Vocal Group to Rascal Flatts.
Victoria Secrets model Marissa Miller came out to introduce Toby Keith who sang God Love Her followed by Jamey Johnson performing the song of the In Color. Jamie Foxx made his appearance to introduce George Strait performing Troubadour and talked about George being named Artist of the Decade.
Julianne Hough won for Top New Female Artist, Jake Owen for Top New Male Artist and Zac Brown Band won for Top New Vocal Group/Duo, these awards were presented in specials shown on GAC and the three artists were left to compete for Top New Artist. Jack Ingram and Jason Aldean came out to present the award to Julianne Hough.
Reba came out to introduce the Magician of the Century, David Copperfield, who confessed to being a big country music fan and magically made Taylor Swift appear to perform You’re Not Sorry. Reba came back out to surprise Taylor with a Crystal Milestone award for being the best selling artist in 2008 across all genres and is the first female artist to have 5 top ten singles on one CD.
Lady Antebellum came out to perform Run to You followed by Lee Ann Womack performing Solitary Thinkin’. Kaley Couco from “The Big Bang Theory” came out to present the award for Top Duo to Sugarland. Kellie Pickler made an appearance to show some of the highlights of the stars time in Vegas, then introduced Keith Urban singing Kiss A Girl.
Miranda Lambert performed Dead Flowers followed by last years honorees for the Home Depot Humanitarian award, Rascal Flatts. The guys presented LeAnn Rimes with this years award, a playground will be built in the city of her choice as recognition of her efforts and contributions to different charities and programs.
John Rich came out to perform his latest out of the blue hit Shuttin’ Detroit Down followed by Billy Ray Cyrus full of fatherly pride coming out to introduce Miley Cyrus performing her new song The Climb. One in Every Crowd, the latest release by Montgomery Gentry was the next song performed and as usual the guys got the crowd going. Carrie Underwood, in a dress that had to weigh as much as she does not to mention is bigger, came out to perform I Told You So.
Martina McBride came out to present the award for Top Male Vocalist of the Year to Brad Paisley who accepted via satellite from his home with Little Jimmy Dickens sitting by his side. Reba then came out to sing her latest release Strange followed by Dierks Bentley presenting the award for Top Female Vocalist of the Year to Carrie Underwood. Both Brad and Carrie have won these awards for the last three years in a row.
The tear jerker moment of the show happened when injured Marine Andrew Kinard came out to introduce Trace Adkins performing ’Til the Last Shots Fired accompanied by the West Point Glee Club. It was a truly touching moment. Sugarland came out to perform their latest song What I’d Give followed by Reba presenting Jennifer Nettles with a Crystal Milestone award for being the first woman since 1972 to write the hit Stay and winning the ACM, CMA and Grammy awards for songwriting. No woman since Donna Fargo has managed that achievement.
Single of the Year went to Trace Adkins for You’re Gonna Miss This. He thanked the music label for releasing the song because he didn’t think anyone would listen or request the song. She Wouldn’t Be Gone was then performed by Blake Shelton. Blake Shelton and Reba then presented Album of the Year honors to Taylor Swift for “Fearless”.
Rascal Flatts made another appearance on the stage to perform Here Comes Goodbye followed by Matthew McConaughey presenting the fan voted Entertainer of the Year Award to Carrie Underwood. With this win Carrie becomes only the seventh female to win EOTY honors. This win also puts her into the rare league of being eligible for the Triple Crown award, she would be only the second female to win this honor, Barbara Mandrell was the other.
Entertainer of the Year
Top Male Vocalist
Top Female Vocalist
Top Vocal Group
Top Vocal Duo
Top New Male Vocalist
Top New Female Vocalist
Top New Duo or Vocal Group
Zac Brown Band
Single Record Of The Year
You’re Gonna Miss This -Trace Adkins
Song Of The Year
In Color - Jamey Johnson
Video Of TheYear
Waitin’ On a Woman - Brad Paisley
Vocal Event Of The Year
Start A Band - Brad Paisley w/Keith Urban