A version of this story appears in Monday’s The Oklahoman.
Miranda Lambert wins a leading 4 trophies at the ACM Awards
Thompson Square earns vocal duo of the year for the second straight year.
In addition, Thompson Square, which consists of Miami, OK, native Keifer Thompson and his wife Shawna, was named vocal duo of the year during the performance-packed show, which aired live from Las Vegas.
Lambert and Shelton shared song of the year honors for “Over You,” her emotional chart-topper they penned together about the death of his brother, Richie, in a car accident.
“I’ve learned so much from this human being standing next to me, a lot of things about myself. She blows me away,” said Shelton, who co-hosted the ACM Awards for the third consecutive year. “I used to think I was a decent songwriter until I started hanging around with her and she really taught me how to really write a good song. And this is proof of it.”
“Over You” also earned Lambert single of the year honors and two more trophies, as the writer and recording artist.
“As a songwriter, having your song and your lyrics recognized by your peers is pretty much as good as it gets,” Lambert said, choking back tears. “And I’m so thankful for being in this genre of country music, every single time someone’s nominated, I just cheer, because I love everybody to death. So thank you for accepting me as a song writer, not just as a singer, because that means the world to me.”
The Texas native, who performed her hit single “Mama’s Broken Heart” on the show, was named female vocalist of the year for the fourth straight year, too. She joins Oklahoma native Reba McEntire and Loretta Lynn as the only others to win the title four or more times.
“I for sure thought Carrie had it this year and she damn well deserves it,” Lambert said, referring to Checotah native and fellow nominee Carrie Underwood, who belted her chart-topper “Two Black Cadillacs” on the telecast.
Thompson Square received the vocal duo title for the second straight year.
“We want to thank God for this amazing reality that we live in right now,” Keifer Thompson said. “We appreciate country radio so much for playing our songs and country music fans for calling (in) and listening and coming to our shows.”
Along with co-hosting the show with Shelton for the first time, Georgia native Luke Bryan was visibly shocked and shaken to win the top trophy, entertainer of the year. The rising superstar also shared in the vocal event of the year prize with two other winners: Eric Church and Jason Aldean. Aldean was named male vocalist of the year, while Church earned album of the year for “Chief.”
Little Big Town was named vocal group of the year and received video of the year for “Tornado.” The duo Florida Georgia Line snagged the new artist prize.
As usual, the ACM Awards were as much about performances as trophies; the first award wasn’t handed out until 45 minutes into the three-hour broadcast. Shelton and Bryan opened the show singing the Oklahoma native’s new single “Boys ‘Round Here” with Lambert, her Pistol Annies bandmates, Brad Paisley and Sheryl Crow, and they closed it performing “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” with music legend Stevie Wonder and country newcomer Hunter Hayes. Paisley also played with Hayes and Dierks Bentley in a new number that sampled Oklahoma-born country legend Roger Miller and later teamed with John Mayer. Tim McGraw shared the stage with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban.
But the highlight of the evening came when Oklahoman Garth Brooks and Texan George Strait — the last two winners of the ACM Artist of the Decade Award — performed together for the first time. The star-studded crowd gave the long-semi-retired Brooks an extended standing ovation as the Owasso resident belted his classic “The Dance.” He then joined Strait on the latter’s venerable hit “The Cowboy Rides Away.”
The performance was a tribute to the show’s former longtime producer Dick Clark, who died last year. Oklahoma native Reba McEntire, the show’s former longtime host, explained that the Artist of the Decade Award has been renamed in honor of the entertainment impresario.
“He was responsible for bringing the ACMs to television and turning them into a world-class event,” the teary-eyed Reba said. “He was always there with a word of advice or a pat on the back. He even ran out here several times to save my butt when I got in a jam. I’ll never forget him. Ever.”
For more on the ACM Awards, check out my live blog by clicking here.