2011 ACM Awards Live Blog
Tonight the Academy of Country Music Awards airs on CBS starting at 8 ET/7 CT. For the eighth consecutive year, the ceremony will be held at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. What happens in Vegas, stays a hot topic in internet forums for at least a month after the awards are presented.
Reba McEntire and Blake Shelton, nominees in their respective vocalist categories, co-host this year’s festivities. The telecast will feature performances by McEntire, Shelton, Alabama, Dierks Bentley, Ronnie Dunn, Sara Evans, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood and entertainer of the year nominees Jason Aldean, Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban.
The most heated races are in the Entertainer and Album categories. With fan voting playing a still-undetermined role in the decision, Taylor Swift has a slight edge in her bid for a first Entertainer win from the Academy of Country Music. She has stiff competition for Album of the Year, with the commercial power of Lady Antebellum (Need You Now) and the critical acclaim of Jamey Johnson (The Guitar Song) offering resistance for the 21-year-old superstar.
6:23 – Juli: Man, Jennifer Nettles looks rough. Oh, wait. That’s Lesley Stahl. 60 Minutes is still on.
6:58 – Blake: Never fear: Blake is here.
7:00 – Juli: Phew! I was worried you’d make me do this solo, Blake.
7:01 – Juli: Oh lawdy. Blake Shelton is singing to a photo of Miranda Lambert.
7:01 – Blake: I’m going by “bboldt” tonight just not to get confused with any other Blakes.
7:02 – Blake: That last grammar-challenged sentence shows that I’ve been hitting the bottle already.
7:03 – Juli: The sound is not great for Brad Paisley as he sings “Old Alabama.”
7:05 – Juli: Brad’s joined by the guys of Alabama, who get a standing O from the Vegas crowd.
7:06 – Juli: I think this comment from SNOWGLOBE deserves our first giveaway of the night:
Taylor Swift just asked who those old guys are. What do you think, Blake?
7:05 – Blake: I’m barely paying attention to the performance because I’m so scared I’ll suck harder than James Franco tonight.
7:07 – Juli: Ain’t nothin’ says country like Celine Dion.
7:07 – Blake: Co-sign! Celine Dion looks terrific for having three kids and an elderly parent at home.
7:09 – Blake: Why does the camera keep panning to the bear killer?
7:09 – Juli: Reba says “it’s a long show. Pace yourself.” Good advice for those playing the ACM Awards drinking game.
7:11 – Juli: Oh, a Brokeback Mountain joke. Ha. Ha.
7:11 – Blake: Brokeback Mountain joke. Not amused.
7:12 – Blake: @Juli: Jinx. You owe me a Coke.
7:13 – Blake: Reba and Ricky Gervais. Interesting.
7:14 – Juli: Aww, Zac Brown is wearing his formal beanie!
7:15 – Juli: Well, at least this Toby Keith song doesn’t rip off “The Road Goes on Forever.”
7:16 – Blake: Toby Keith in cruise control. Not bad, not great.
7:18 – Juli: If they cut all the lame skits, we could get this done in time for us all to flip over to Sunday Night Baseball by 9pm.
7:20 – Blake: Go, Cardinals! (That’s for Ken.)
7:21 – Juli: Oh boy, there’s a “Country Dance” video game! Everyone will be lined up outside Best Buy like it’s Halo.
7:23 – Blake: Excuse me from my live blog duties to vote for Carrie Underwood as Entertainer oh….
7:24 – Juli: Is that an octopus dangling from the microphone?
7:25 – Juli: Steven Tyler joining Carrie Underwood on “Undo It.” Hoo boy.
7:25 – Blake: OMG, I am so….not surprised that Steven Tyler is on stage. Unscream it.
7:27 – Juli: And now they’re going to “Walk This Way.” Hope Rev. Run joins ‘em. Couldn’t be any less country.
7:27 – Blake: Carrie Underwood has improved by leaps and bounds as a live performer, but her vocal delivery is forced with all the noise happening on stage.
7:31 – Juli: 30 minutes in and still no awards. But the Jennifer Nettles Band is going to sing us a song.
7:30 – Blake: Is this an example of steampick or stonepunk or whatever Jennifer says she’s into now?
7:34 – Juli: Kristian switched guitars midsong, is still irrelevant.
7:37 – Juli: I love Dierks Bentley, but he could spend the next three minutes punching a kitten in the face and it would still be better than this new single.
7:37 – Blake: I’m going to need the official definition of “rock and roll booty.” How does that differ from a honky tonk badonkadonk?
7:38 – Blake: Exactly what the telecast was missing: stiff, privileged white people doing their best impression of dancing.
7:40 – Juli: Good thing we got these from Martina McBride’s merch table, Blake. We’re gonna need ‘em.
7:45 – Juli: Now Keith Urban is singing. It sounds nice enough, but let’s just hand some awards out, folks. We’re almost an hour in.
7:47 – Juli: I wonder how much the Kidman-Urban household spends on hair product every month. I bet it’s more than my rent.
7:46 – Blake: The backdrop looks more appropriate for Barbara Mandrell’s “Midnight Oil” than a Keith-loves-Nicole ballad.
7:48 – Blake: (Barbara Mandrell is a Country Music Hall of Fame member and former ACM Entertainer of the Year.)
7:49 – Blake: Jennifer Nettles done stole Alison Krauss’ hair from the Raising Sand era. Also, where is the five-second delay for the “smoke” references?
7:50 – Juli: Does Eric Church have some sort of visual impairment? Because there’s no other reason for him to be wearing sunglasses.
7:52 – Blake: Does smoking marijuana improve the viewing experience? Anybody care to answer my question?
7:53 – Juli: Wait, they’re announcing nominees! This must mean there will be an award sometime soon!
7:54 – Juli: Song of the Year goes to Miranda’s “The House That Built Me.” Yay!
7:54 – Blake: The Song of the Year winners were given 30 seconds for an acceptance speech. Stay classy, ACMs.
7:56 – Juli: Soooo, now is when we live blog the series premiere of The Borgias, right? It’s got to be more country than what we’ve spent the past hour watching.
7:59 – Juli: Now Taylor’s up strumming a guitjo on a faux front porch. I hate this show.
8:00 – Blake: Five bucks that Gillian Welch is hiding behind the boxes.
8:01 – Juli: You know, this is how AP, Sara, and Maybelle did it. On their front porches. In Vegas. In old timey dresses that probably cost more than your car.
8:03 – Juli: Oh, a city backdrop replaces the front porch. Do you get it? DO YOU?!
8:03 – Juli: Taylor actually sounds pretty good tonight, it must be said.
8:02 – Blake: I dig this update on Newsies. I don’t care what anybody says about me.
8:04 – Blake: WHY DOES LITTLE BIG TOWN ALWAYS PRESENT AND NEVER PERFORM?
8:04 – Juli: Blake, I DON’T EVEN KNOW. I didn’t dig LBT until I heard them sing at the Library of Congress. They definitely made a fan out of me, especially their stripped-down stuff.
8:06 – Juli: Nice to see that the Perry boys are still using the Flowbee.
8:05 – Blake: If Kimberly Perry is so cheery about premature death, imagine how bubbly she’d be narrating the audiobook of Old Yeller.
8:08 – Juli: Maybe Eric Church is wearing those sunglasses so nobody can see him cry after losing to The Band Perry.
8:08 – Blake: Steve Perry! Hehe. He would be right at home on this show.
8:09 – Juli: I hear that next year Steve Perry and Taylor Swift will be singing “Any Way You Want It,” thanks to the success of the Steven Tyler-Carrie collaboration.
8:12 – Blake: I love Journey like whoa. Now you know a little something more about who I am.
8:14 – Blake: I thought Blake’s little buddy was Justin Moore, not Jason Aldean.
8:15 – Juli: Now comes “Dirt Road Anthem.” You’re all excited for some Aldean rap, right?
8:16 – Blake: “Informer! You know say daddy me snow me-a blame. A licky boom-boom down.”
8:18 – Blake: “Here comes the hotstepper, murderer/I’m the lyrical gangster, murderer.”
8:20 – Juli: Single of the Year goes to “The House That Built Me.”
8:20 – Blake: Lee Ann Womack was a couple rows behind giving Miranda a big cheer. Let’s get her on stage, like, half an hour ago.
8:22 – Juli: Let’s get Lee Ann Womack back in the recording studio. She’s our only hope.
8:23 – Blake: So sad that Rihanna isn’t performing her new single “T & A,” er, “S & M.”
8:24 – Juli: Hey, we’re almost at the halfway point of tonight’s show. We can get through this, friends.
8:25 – Blake: Reba wore that same black dress back in 2008. Where’s the wardrobe department?
8:27 – Juli: Blake shouldn’t name drop Loretta and Conway. It’ll just remind folks that there is good music out there we can be listening to instead.
8:27 – Blake: This is a pretty cool song, but I’m disappointed that the writers didn’t figure out how to put the word “pollinate” in there somewhere. @Jess: “California King Bed.”
8:31 – Blake: Hilary’s hair and skin tone are about the same color. Jamey got jobbed again.
8:35 – Juli: Blake, I call that “Jonathan Taylor Thomas Syndrome.” Sad to see it has claimed another victim with Hilary Scott.
8:35 – Blake: This barrage of awards for Lady Antebellum is going to make Starland Vocal Band and Captain & Tenille reconsider retirement.
8:37 – Blake: Check out the Country Universe live blog during the next commercial break. They are much more awesome than Charlie Sheen.
8:39 – Blake: Five bucks her ex-husband is staring at those black leather pants right this minute.
8:42 – Juli: Here come Donny and Marie Osmond, here to promote their new country record.
8:42 – Blake: If Marie Osmond is a little bit country, then she fits in perfectly. (Hi, Donny!)
8:43 – Juli: Oh, phew. They’re just presenting. I was expecting the worst there.
8:43 – Blake: WHY IS LITTLE BIG TOWN ALWAYS A LOSER AND NEVER A WINNER?
8:44 – Juli: Little Big Town was ROBBED. Also, there must be a decaying portrait of Donny Osmond in an attic somewhere. HE DOESN’T AGE.
8:45 – Juli: I would give an arm to never ever see or hear Montgomery Gentry again.
8:45 – Blake: I can’t bear to see Montgomery Gentry on stage. It makes me want to put my paws over my eyes. I’ll spare you the rest of the grizzly details.
8:51 – Juli: Miranda’s singing now. She probably makes more money than Blake Shelton anyway, despite the wedding planning joke.
8:53 – Juli: Miranda’s pink microphone matches her dress. I wonder whose job it is to match the mics to performers’ outfits. Also, she sounds fantastic.
8:53 – Blake: It must get boring for Miranda Lambert to school basically everyone else at these awards shows.
8:55 – Juli: Oh, it’s the person from Sugarland who isn’t Jennifer Nettles. What’s his name? Ken, Kyle…
8:55 – Blake: @Juli Dave Haywood. Duh.
8:56 – Juli: Blake, they should form their own band: The Irrelevants.
8:56 – Blake: To the disappointment of many, Rihanna is not wearing her Rolling Stone jean shorts. (For you, Mr. Parkman!)
8:57 – Blake: Can we talk about how Chris Brown sold 275k in his first week and what that says about Americans?
8:57 – Juli: I think I’d like Rihanna and Jennifer to star in some sort of buddy comedy. Without contributing to the soundtrack.
8:59 – Blake: @Juli Thelma and Louise II?
8:59 – Blake: @SavingCountryMusic and @Trent win one of those Walmart packs we’re given away. I’m a sucker for hair-eaters and the word “colonoscopy.”
9:01 – Juli: Heee heee. I am imagining Saving Country Music’s reaction when the Walmart/ACM prize pack arrives at his home.
9:02 – Blake: In my imagination, Dave Haywood, Kristian Bush and Kix Brooks are forming a band called Sidekicks. Or Silent but Deadly.
9:06 – Juli: I’d like to imagine he’s singing this to Kix.
9:06 – Blake: Ronnie Dunn, CMA Male Vocalist of the Year? BTW, I do bleed red. (Go, Cardinals!)
9:08 – Blake: The lower half of his hairdo is modern-day Billy Ray Cyrus. The upper half is mid-Nineties Jennifer Aniston.
9:08 – Juli: Ronnie is borrowing George Strait’s tactic of holding the guitar instead of playing it.
9:09 – Juli: I wonder what ol’ George is doing right now. Probably grilling a slab of meat and thanking his lucky stars he’s not in Vegas.
9:10 – Juli: Looking at Wynonna, I have the “Oompa Loompa” song stuck in my head. Not sure why.
9:09 – Blake: Oprah Winfrey’s favorite country stars are on stage. Loopy mama and atomic orange daughter. (“If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother” was an old joke when Wy first used it fifteen years ago.)
9:12 – Juli: Time for a reggae breakdown from the ACM Vocal Duo of the Year.
9:13 – Juli: Here’s Martina with “Teenage Daughters.” By the way, you all should join Twitter for the sole purpose of following @DrunkenMartina.
9:15 – Blake: Live performance of “Teenage Daughters” >>>> Recorded performance of “Teenage Daughters”
9:20 – Blake: If the Fergie Dr. Pepper commercials keep airing, someone’s going to get the bright idea to have her perform next year.
9:22 – Blake: Girls Night Out is a television program to spotlight the four women that regularly get played on country radio. Pretty short night if you ask me.
9:21 – Juli: I wonder if this show will pay tribute to Charlie Louvin, Mel McDaniel, Harley Allen, or any other important figures of country music who’ve passed away this year. Somehow I doubt it.
9:24 – Blake: Please God don’t let Brad Paisley cry.
9:25 – Blake: How’s that 2009 ACM New Artist of the Year award working out for you, Ms. Hough?
9:25 – Juli: Brad thanked his dog and not his sons? Hope he socks away some money for a therapy fund.
9:29 – Juli: In the spirit of that song, go check out this account of an autistic boy who met his idol, Dierks Bentley. It’s all heartwarming and stuff. Okay, back to snark.
9:34 – Juli: Fewer than 30 minutes to go. Boy, those two and a half hours just flew by, right? Right?
9:35 – Juli: If I had biceps like Reba’s I’d never wear sleeves. But here she is in a blazer. She sounds good, though.
9:26 – Blake: Country meets Pulp Fiction. Uma Thurman could pull a Gwyneth Paltrow, don’t you think?
9:37 – Juli: They keep showing the pedal steel player like it’s a rare and beautiful unicorn rarely spotted in the wilderness of modern country music.
9:40 – Juli: How baked is Robert Pattinson right now?
9:38 – Blake: Water for Elephants is a good book, but this is not boding well for the movie.
9:44 – Juli: Do Easton Corbin’s parents know he’s out this late on a school night? He looks positively baby-faced tonight.
9:47 – Juli: Alan Jackson! Is he singing? No, just talking. Booo.
9:48 – Juli: Has anyone ever actually seen the top of Zac Brown’s head? I am worried it’s just exposed brain matter and that’s why he has to wear the beanie all the time.
9:49 – Blake: @Juli That beanie is only appropriate for colder weather, don’t you think? Haha. It’s not funny, people. Don’t laugh.
9:50 – Blake: @MommaYvonne That makes two Barbara Mandrell references in one night on our live blog. #WINNING a Walmart ACM prize pack.
9:51 – Juli: The camera pans to artists in the audience all nodding their heads to a bunch of different beats. I am vaguely amused.
9:52 – Juli: Congrats to our ACM prize pack winners tonight: Momma Yvonne, Saving Country Music, Trent, and Snowglobe. Email Brady with your mailing addresses and he’ll get those out to you.
9:57 – Juli: Ryan Seacrest is presenting. Five more minutes five more minutes five more minutes…
9:57 – Blake: And the winner is….KELLY CLARKSON!
9:58 – Blake: For the record, Sara Evans comes across the aisle and congratulates Swift right after the announcement.
9:58 – Juli: Okay, Taylor won. She makes Ryan Seacrest look elfin.
9:59 – Juli: The fans are the “best thing that’s ever happened” to Taylor. Also, their wallets.
10:00 – Blake: I give myself a C- for the live blog, but you readers deserve an A+. Thanks for following us tonight!
10:00 – Juli: That’s a wrap, folks! Thanks for slogging through the show with us, keeping it interesting with your funny comments, and thanks to my hilarious blogging buddy Blake Boldt.
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