Aldean again wins top country music award

"You're a Powerstroke diesel / backhoe-riding king of beers ... living life in between the lines of clocking in and quitting time", Jason Aldean sang at the outset of the Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday at T-Mobile Arena, giving a tip of the Stetson to country music's ostensible core audience.

Lambert, who dazzled on the red carpet with boyfriend Anderson East, sang an emotional rendition of her new song "Tin Man".

Todd and Savannah Chrisley introduced Brett Eldredge, who sang "Somethin' I'm Good At". He threw away his usual hyped up performance for the night for slower and dreamier delivery under the sea of hanging light bulbs.

While Ballerini has already established herself as a princess of country music, her ACMs performance of latest hit "Yeah Boy" really showed that she's on her way to Taylor Swift-like success. "One of the Eagles just gave me an award: that's probably the coolest thing that's ever happened to me, ever!" I'm just beyond excited, and I'm humbled, and thankful for that nomination.

Luke Bryan nearly made good on a promised post-ACM Awards skinny dip, and he took Thomas Rhett along with him.

Walsh and co-hosts Luke Bryan and Bentley performed Johnny B. Goode in tribute to Chuck Berry, who died last month.

Bryan said he could never join the cast, though, because he wasn't born in Australia - and then he and Bentley informed Keith Urban that he has an open invitation to join "Thunder from Down Under".

Through the magic of television, special effects changed Urban playing "Blue Ain't Your Color" into a blue on black-and-white performance before transitioning into full color for "The Fighter" with Underwood. Miranda Lambert won female vocalist and album of the year. Did she deserve the ACM for Female Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year? It's not (yet) the smash that "Better Man" is, but the song highlights the group's harmonies and has a message that is rather poignant today: "Happy people don't cheat/Happy people don't lie/They don't judge or hold a grudge, don't criticize/Happy people don't hate/Happy people don't steal/'Cause all the hurt sure ain't worth all the guilt they feel". Song Of The Year, the first award of the evening, was announced to have gone to La La Land star Emma Stone before the presenter, magician David Copperfield, set the envelope ablaze to reveal the real victor.

"Emma Stone, 'La La Land, '" magician David Copperfield announced.

Carrie even admitted in an interview with The Tennessean before the award show that she was hoping to be crowned Entertainer of the Year. "I don't have a whole lot of words except for everyone in this category are my idols". Rhett continued, "This is the most awesome award that I've ever received in my whole existence. I love you all".

Sam Hunt performed his No. 1 hit, "Body Like a Back Road".

In what was the evening's strangest turn of events, a CMA-produced project won an ACM award when "Forever Country", a medley put together by songwriter Shane McAnally for the 50th anniversary of the CMA Awards, won Video of the Year.

Double winners Sunday night included Miranda Lambert, Thomas Rhett, Florida Georgia Line and Brothers Osborne.

  • Salvatore Jensen