Confusion, disbelief, a desperate attempt to pretend that things are a little normal – this is basically life in 2020, and pretty much what it was like to watch ACMs. Like all award shows these days, the ACMs were limited by pandemic-related regulations. This involved complicated logistics, including performances scattered around Nashville venues, with singers stationed at the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, and Bluebird Cafe. No audiences allowed.
“It’s so weird talking to anyone,”
Rhett and Underwood triumphed for first prize over Luke Combs, who won Male Artist and Album of the Year. Other nominees in the category included Eric Church, who performed his new single “Stick That In Your Country Song” (preceded by Johnny Cash’s “Ragged Old Flag”), and Luke Bryan, who naturally wore a Hawaiian shirt while singing the true inevitable “One Margarita”.
Unlike a few years, none have dominated the awards: Morris, Rhett and Combs each got two trophies, along with Old Dominion (group, song of the year) and Tenille Townes (new female artist, music event of the year).
Below is a full list of winners – here are some of the best and worst moments from the three-hour telecast.
Miranda Lambert singing “Bluebird” at the Bluebird
If you’ve been to Nashville, or just watched ABC’s “Nashville”, you know Bluebird Cafe is one of those places where everyone insists on you duty visit. It’s a 90-seat venue that features songwriters sitting in a circle as they tell the stories behind the songs and play them. It’s magic. And of course, currently inoperative due to the pandemic, so the owner was thrilled to have the venue present on a national stage. Even better, Lambert played his recent single no. 1 of the same name, accompanied by songwriters Luke Dick and Natalie Hemby, also nominated for group of the year as part of the Highwomen.
“Worldwide Beautiful” by Kane Brown
Brown skillfully circumvented the social distancing requirements at the Opry by having a chorus exhibit in the upper seats, spaced securely. It led to a powerful rendition of “Worldwide Beautiful,” his song released this year in the country’s accounts of racial injustice and police brutality. “White churches, black churches, different people, same hearses / It’s kind of hard to fight each other, lying in the ground, you’re under,” sang Brown. “At every show I see my people are not the same, but they are all the same.” Brown, who is biracial, has spoken openly about the challenges of being in a genre that is predominantly white.
Taylor Swift’s cameo
Swift officially announced she was leaving the country music genre about six years ago, but that doesn’t mean she can’t go back to its roots. Swift’s label is pushing her song “Betty” (from her new album “Folklore”) to country radio, so the pop superstar showed up to sing the tune at Opry. It was one of the few acoustic performances of the evening, as Swift quietly performed the song about a teenage love triangle.
Mickey Guyton’s historical performance
With her compelling performance of “What Will You Tell Her?”, Guyton became the first black woman to perform her music at the ACM Awards. Yes, it took until 2020. This year, the format’s gatekeepers realized they could no longer ignore the extreme racial imbalance of the genre. In his monologue at the start of the show, host Keith Urban talked about the struggle for “social injustice” and later accompanied Guyton to the piano as he sang the searing ballad on the Opry stage.
“Better Together” by Luke Combs
Combs, who seems incapable of releasing a single that doesn’t go to # 1, has a ton of very optimistic hits to choose from from his impressive catalog, and performed one (“When It Rains It Pours”) during the opening medley. with the other entertainer of the year nominated. But for his main performance at the Bluebird, he went with his more sober tune: “Better Together,” an acoustic track about his wife, Nicole. In a show filled with cheerful alcoholic songs, it was nice for Combs to show something quiet.
“Whiskey Glasses” by Morgan Wallen
Speaking of hilarious drinking songs … even two years after its release, Morgan Wallen’s “Whiskey Glasses” is still undeniably catchy, even as one of the many anthems they drink in the night, such as Kelsea Ballerini’s “Hole in the Bottle” and Rhett and Jon Pardi’s “Beer Can’t Fix”.
Carrie Underwood’s medley
Country music awards shows love a good mix of legendary artists, but usually involve more than one artist. This year, it was clearly impossible, so Underwood took on the task on her own with hits from Opry’s iconic female members, including Patsy Cline’s “Crazy”, “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)” Loretta Lynn, “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)” by Barbara Mandrell “I was country when country was not cool”, “Why’d You Come In Here Lookin ‘Like That” by Dolly Parton, “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia “by Reba McEntire and” Broken Wing “by Martina McBride.
The gender imbalance on display once again
While it was an improvement over last year, the ACMs once again showed an unfortunate spotlight on the lack of opportunities for women in the country. Of the 13 trophies, the artists received four and only two (Underwood and Morris) have been televised victories. It was especially noticeable when the men won five categories in a row: duo (Dan + Shay), group (Old Dominion), song (Old Dominion), single (Blake Shelton) and album (Luke Combs). When asked about the ongoing backstage imbalance, Underwood said the format has “taken steps in the right direction”, but “you can’t have too many good things,” so she’d like to see more women represented.
Lack of spontaneity, jokes, etc.
It’s hard to fault any television production right now, given the complexity involved in making one, and the ACMs have certainly been successful – however, the vibe was as underwhelming as you’d expect when there’s no audience and the stars can’t talk to each other. their. . The closest of the show to a spontaneous moment was when Urban slammed elbows with Underwood and Rhett when they won Entertainers of the Year; even those interactions were a taste of the unexpected little moments that light up very long award shows. In the end, we even missed the boring lines in the pre-recorded “comedy” pieces.
Seriously, a tie ?!
Okay, even if there are protocols to follow and the official vote counts … a tie? For the most prestigious award? Sure, Underwood and Rhett are very professional and have happy faces, but was there no other way to fix it in advance? Maybe a recount? It was indeed a very strange year for ACM even stranger.
Thomas Rhett – winner (draw)
Carrie Underwood – winner (tie)
FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
NEW FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Tenille Townes – winner
NEW MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
“Center Point Road” Thomas Rhett
“Medicines for heartache” Jon Pardi
“What You See Is What You Get” Luke Combs – winner
“Wildcard” Miranda Lambert
“God’s Country” Blake Shelton – winner
“One Man Band” Old Dominion
“Rainbow” Kacey Musgraves
“What if you never forget” Lady A
“God’s Country” Blake Shelton (written by Devin Dawson, Michael Hardy, Jordan Schmidt)
“One Man Band” Old Dominion (written by Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen, Brad Tursi, Josh Osborne) – winner
“10,000 hours” Dan + Shay feat. Justin Bieber (written Dan Smyers, Shay Mooney, Justin Bieber, Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd, Jessie Jo Dillon, Jordan Reynolds)
“Girl Goin’ Nowhere “Ashley McBryde (written by McBryde and Jeremy Bussey)
“Some Of It” Eric Church (written by Church, Clint Daniels, Jeff Hyde, Bobby Pinson)
“God’s Country” Blake Shelton
“One Man Band” Old Dominion
“10,000 hours” Dan + Shay feat. Justin Bieber
“Remember You Young” Thomas Rhett – winner
“Sugar Coat” Little Big Town
“10,000 hours” Dan + Shay feat. Justin Bieber
“Dive Bar” Garth Brooks feat. Blake Shelton
“Fooled Around and Fell in Love” Miranda Lambert feat. Maren Morris, Ashley McBryde, Tenille Townes, Caylee Hammack and Elle King – winners
“Old Town Road” Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus
“What Happens in a Small Town” Brantley Gilbert feat. Lindsay Ell