This year’s 49th ACM Awards took place in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Arena with a second stage at Mandalay Bay Casino and a brief outdoor pool party locale featuring Brad Paisley. For the multi-taskers amongst us here’s NEKST’s first quick read, annual Top 8 ACM Observations…
1. NON-STOP MUSIC. The 3-hour show stuffed in a record-breaking 25 performances like musical sardines. How did they do it? The first Award wasn’t revealed until 1 hr 26 minutes into the show…
2. BroCOUNTRY HOSTS. CMA’s hetero hosts (Brad and Carrie) ruled the country awards genre unrivaled until this year when ACM’s country bromancers—Luke & Blake—proved themselves topnotch. Armed with hilarious skits about Daft Punk and Ellen’s now famous Award show selfie, plus jokes about Blake’s marital life with Miranda and quips galore the pair charmed their way through the 180 minutes leaving viewers wanting more.
3. HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. Like a bull rider ripping out of the gate, the evening was a high-calorie sugar rush. But despite the party lights and loud beats it seemed short on emotion and musical nourishment. Award show sound was obviously a problem for the performers as evidenced by the ongoing flow of flat vocal notes.
4. SONGS R TIMELESS. The broadcast’s standout moments were mostly song-driven. Miranda Lambert’s “Automatic,” Luke Bryan’s “Play It Again” and Keith Urban’s “Even The Stars Fall For You” immediately come to mind.
5. #ACM-MVP. The night belonged to Miranda. She won awards for Single, her fifth consecutive trophy for Female Vocalist and Vocal Event with Keith Urban. Lambert’s performances of “Automatic” and “Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down,” (Merle Haggard tribute), were flawless. She even smiled demurely from her seat while husband Blake sang a love song with Shakira. Honorable mention goes to Band Perry’s Kimberly who is developing stage technique at a blinding pace and a joy to watch. Among the high profile females curiously missing in action from the performance stage were Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift.
6. COLLABORATION SCOREBOARD. Here’s a category where the director’s vision can make all the difference betwen hits and misses. NEKST counted five pairings—Blake and Shakira; FGL with Luke Bryan; Lady A with Stevie Nicks; Tim McGraw and Faith Hill; plus Dierks Bentley and Sheryl Crow. Mostly they felt flat—either the performance, the overall chemistry or both. Blake and Shakira was fun although it seemed like the pop, Columbian, blonde, Voice judge was trying too hard to be “country.” Would have been fun to see her start dancing around Blake and do her signature thing. Dierks and Sheryl gave a good read of Bentley’s hit, “I Hold On,” and Faith gets honorable mention. (Add your comments below….)
7. DALLASFEST. Goodbye Vegas, Hello Dallas! Next year’s 50th ACM Awards gala will feature a two-day musical event in Arlington Texas’ Globe Life Park and at the ATT stadium. Tickets range from $145 to $585. Full details here.
8. RATINGS. According to zap2it overnights, The Academy of Country Music Awards earned a 3.3 adults 18-49 rating from 8-11PM, down from last year’s 4.3; and a 9 share (last year 11) for an audience of about 14.14 million.