A version of this story appears in Monday’s The Oklahoman.
Miranda Lambert wins three ACM Awards, sets a record
George Strait reigns as entertainer of the year at the Academy of Country Music’s annual extravaganza in Las Vegas.
Miranda Lambert earned a leading three trophies and set a record during Sunday night’s Academy of Country Music Awards.
The Tishomingo resident earned a record-setting fifth consecutive win for female vocalist of the year during the star-studded show, which aired live the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Oklahoma native Reba McEntire still holds the record for the most overall wins for female vocalist, a prize she has won seven times.
But Lambert seemed more interested in praising the star power of her presenter, Owasso resident Trisha Yearwood, and her fellow nominees, than in
“I cannot believe this all. I really didn’t expect it, y’all. Thank you so much. I was just hanging out with Trisha Yearwood back there. Holy crap,” said Lambert, who dedicated the award to friends in her hometown of Lindale, Texas. “And I was standing next to Sheryl Crow, complete and utter rock star. And Kacey Musgraves, I grew up with her; she wrote the single of the year this year. Carrie Underwood is my buddy, y’all, and she is a phenomenon. I just can’t believe it. I am so grateful and thankful and humbled. I love my job.”
Lambert earned the single of the year prize for her raucous hit “Mama’s Broken Heart,” which Musgraves (who went on to win album of the year for her acclaimed debut “Same Trailer Different Park”) penned with Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally. She accepted the award from cutting-up co-hosts Blake Shelton, her husband, and Luke Bryan, who presented the prize in helmets similar to the ones favored by French electronic duo Daft Punk.
“Thank you robots,” Lambert quipped, who got a kiss from her spouse once he removed his headgear.
Before the show started, Lambert and Keith Urban received the vocal event of the year award for “We Were Us.” As the song’s producer and perform, Urban actually received double honors for the win, and he also shared the video of the year award with Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift, tying the Australian star with Lambert for a leading three wins each.
Lambert and McGraw went into Sunday night’s show with a leading seven nominations each.
Oklahoma star power
Although Lambert emerged as the only winner with Oklahoma ties, the 49th Annual ACM Awards boasted plenty of Sooner State star power.
Along with co-hosting, Shelton performed twice, singing his new duet “Medicine” with fellow “The Voice” coach Shakira and crooning his ballad “My Eyes” with his one-time “The Voice” contestant Gwen Sebastian. Lambert, Norman resident Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts, which includes Picher-bred guitarist Joe Don Rooney, all performed their latest singles. In addition to Yearwood, Oklahoma City native Olivia Munn was among the show’s presenters.
Yearwood’s husband, Oklahoma music megastar Garth Brooks, received a standing ovation when he took the stage to present the Crystal Milestone Award to Merle Haggard. Lambert and George Strait sang a medley of “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down” and “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” to honor the outlaw country legend’s 50 years of making music, and Brooks led the packed house in singing “Happy Birthday to You” to Haggard, who turned 77 Sunday.
“Country music has been great to me all my life and it’s great again tonight,” said the “Okie from Muskogee” singer in his short and simple acceptance speech.
Big night for Texas
Strait won his second entertainer of the year prize 25 years after he won his first, adding to the Country Music Association entertainer of the year trophy he won back in fall. The Texas troubadour is wrapping up a two-year farewell tour that will mark his retirement from the road.
“I’ve always said I have the best fans in the world,” Strait told the crowd. “I heard this was a fan-voted thing, so I rest my case.”
Such is the admiration for King George that fellow entertainer nominee Shelton, who finished the night empty-handed, ended the show proclaiming “Our hero won tonight!”
Despite some controversy, Justin Moore earned the fan-voted new artist of the year award. Although ACM CEO Bob Romeo said in a teleconference last week that modified criteria for the category made the Arkansas singer eligible, some questioned whether Moore, who has released three albums since 2009 via Big Machine Label Group, should be in the running for the new artist prize.
“I was beginning to think there might be a height requirement for this award,” the diminutive singer quipped before emotionally thanking his wife and familly.
Jason Aldean won the male vocalist of the year award, while young talents Florida Georgia Line took home duo of the year and show openers The Band Perry received vocal group. Lee Brice’s emotional hit “I Drive Your Truck” garnered song of the year honors for scribes Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington and Jimmy Yeary.
In another coup for Texas, Strait and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones announced during the show that the ACM Awards will celebrate their 50th anniversary by shifting venues in 2015 to the home of the Cowboys, AT&T Stadium.Tickets for next year’s show will go on sale this month. For more information, go to www.acmawards50.com.