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ACM Awards 2008 Recap

May 22, 2008

Well the ACM awards were much more promising this year than last year. Actually it was a much more entertaining show this time around. Breaking the recent snore fests that have evolved from the latest CMT and CMA awards the ACMs finally gave an interesting and attractive collection of performances and surprises. Among these are controversial wins, new single debuts and a comment from one of country music’s biggest winners of the night over his own controversial win of the biggest award the ACM has to offer. So in true award show style, here’s who takes the gold for the best (or worst) of the night.

Most Deserving Award Winner: Miranda Lambert, Album Of The Year for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

One of the biggest albums of last year among all genres in the eyes of fans and critics, Miranda’s sophomore project showed more power and feeling than her debut, which is saying something in itself. Lambert obviously knows what she wants to do and what music she wants to make and, like a true musician, refuses to allow anyone the room to tell her otherwise. She poured her heart and soul into every song in this project and gave it a true country feeling with little interaction from fancy techniques. This album was the most consistent and respectable piece of work out of the nominees. It would have been a minor surprise to see her steal away Female Vocalist of the year, but to have her work recognized among the names she was competing against this early in her career by the ACMs, that is a truly proud moment for any artist to experience. Congrats Miranda for wining the most deserved award of the night.

Least Deserving Award Winner: Brooks & Dunn, Duo Of The Year

Plain and simple, Sugarland should have won this. B&D have not been as consistent on radio or on their albums as they were in years past. While Sugarland keeps moving closer to the #1 spot on the albums and singles chart, Brooks and Dunn managed to release an album that performed rather poorly than it should have and singles that have suffered the same fate. The other contestants pail in comparison to the success of these two duos, and Sugarland even shined above its only other competitor in fan popularity, radio play, album sales, and concert sale. They are headlining while B&D are an opening act. It is no mystery that the most deserving duo did not receive this award this year.

Best New Single Debut: “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful” by Kellie Pickler

The American Idol alumni has failed to score a top 10 hit thus far in her career. What she needs to help change this is a major performance to the mass public like her surprise spot on the ACM awards to really get it out there. This song is a personal message from her to her female fans that this was the perfect chance to take a song that no-one had really heard yet and use it to connect to her adoring fans right off the bat. I was surprised to hear Kellie would be performing and even more surprised to hear a new single from her from an upcoming album. While this may not have been the most attractive performance or the biggest standout of the evening, it defiantly showed everyone in the arena that Kellie Pickler has truly arrived in country music and that she’s got some great music on the way.

Best Album Track Performance: “Tu Compania” by Keith Urban

Keith Urban just has that vibe about him that makes anything he sings sound great and dance worthy, especially in a live show. I was actually a little surprised to hear this one, but I went with it. He performed right in the audience which was really cool and he had a lot of fun pulling it off. It was smooth, it was fluid, and it wasn’t really to much of a show-off type of performance. Sarah Buxton provided some beat boxing in the background which was a little superfluous but it was nice to see her included considering the contributions she has made to the more recent projects of big artists like Keith. All in all Keith sounded good and played the crowd nicely. He also avoided many of the sound issues that tortured multiple singers over the course of the night.

Worst Performance Choice: Rodney Atkin’s compilation of his four #1 hits

While it was nice to see Rodney on stage at the awards show, it was a bummer to hear a mildly entertaining and relatively poor interpretation of his recent string of 4 #1 singles. Instead of working on publicising and selling his new and powerful single “Invisibly Shaken”, Rodney took his recent hits and compiled them together into a tribute to his fans for his recent unexpected success. As respectable as it may be, it spoiled the night for me up to that point to hear him throw away what could have been a great opportunity to secure that 5th #1 to play small parts of four singles that have already made their runs.

Best Performance: “Make The World Go Away” by Carrie Underwood And Brad Paisley

When I heard these two on “Oh Love” from Brad’s latest album I felt instantly amazed at how well the two vocals worked together in harmony. For them to come out and perform a flawless tribute to country great Eddy Arnold was a thrill before they even sang the first note. When the song did come out I couldn’t take my eyes of the set. It was traditional, but had a modern tinge to it, and their vocals blended flawlessly. It was just a great performance and despite the fact that it earns brownie points as a tribute to a lost country great and that it lacks the excitement of many of the night other performances, it was the best performance of the night.

Worst Performance: “Should’ve Said No” by Taylor Swift

I’ve lost a little bit of my respect for Taylor that she brought with her debut hit “Tim McGraw”. This is among my favorites off her album and got a great review, but her performance was very cliche and very inappropriate for who she is as a role model. Taylor started off in a hoody, a common teenage cliche in itself and shows off a little bit of immaturity, and an acoustic start on the first verse. Then she hit the chorus and everything went out of control. Two guys rip her cloths off to reveal a prom dress. Now what message does that send to the young girls who look up to her and see her as a model of how they should live and follow their dreams. Basically it says, “Hey girls, sex sells. Let guys rip your cloths off and you’ll sell records”. Not to mention the water was a little inappropriate. The whole thing was just way out there and took away the brief excitement that I had from her more confident appearance on stage as the action was progressing.

Best Speech: Jack Ingram winning New Male Vocalist

I really didn’t think Jack deserved this award, but he made the most respectable speech he could. He kept it neat and calm and he didn’t overdo anything. In fact he kept it pretty simple as well. Instead of going into a long list of people who made everything possible, he took a quick look at his career and after all these years he is finally recognized for his achievements. So instead of preaching to those who have made this possible, a thankfulness that is unspoken and sincere regardless, he implored his fans to keep true to their dreams and see him as proof that it will all pay off in the end.

Biggest Surprise Award Of The Night: Miranda Lambert, Album of The Year for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

Miranda herself said “Holy Crap” when she pulled this one off. This award woke everyone up who might have been falling asleep from what could have been a night of obvious victories and typical performances. This was a huge shot in the dark that proved that this award show is not always by the book or by the most popular, sometimes the underdog gets there chance and for Miranda it couldn’t have come for her at a better time.

Highlight Of The Night: Tie between Garth Brooks singing a compilation of his biggest hits and Carrie and Brad’s duet in “Make The World Go Away”

I was thrilled to hear about Garth’s performance. I couldn’t wait to see what he had in store. Despite a minor fumble on “The Thunder Rolls” Garth recovered like a true master of the stage and made it through flawlessly. He gave ever other performer a run for their money. However, vocally the best performance was by far the Brad and Carrie duet. Their vocals blended flawlessly and it sounded like a live track that would have made it onto an album or a duet that could make a huge radio hit.


Host Review:

Reba has hosted this show 10 times thus far. That’s quite an accomplishment. This year wasn’t her best. She was a little of with the jokes and it took her a while to get back to speed with things, but she didn’t do to bad. Overall she was rusty and a little off compared to how good she really could have been. She didn’t really shine or ad any charisma to the show. I’d give her a 7 out of 10.

Kenny Controversy:

Kenny Chesney’s Entertainer of The Year Win was the result of the first fan voted award in the ACMs. In response to his win, Kenny bashed the Academy’s use of the fans to pick the winner with a respectable reason. He stated that the award should basically go the hardest working and most deserving artist in the genre, not the most popular. It is an unspoken truth that the fans will in fact decide the most popular and not necessarily the most deserving artist to win awards such as this. Despite his good intentions it is no surprise that Chensey’s statement will go down as controversial and possibly insulting to fans and the Academy alike. Still Chesney spoke his mind and showed as much respect as possible while making the comment. It is the fashion that he spoke out and his purpose for doing so that makes it respectable, but it is also his seeming support for the fans choice before the show and his timing for making the comment that will spark some negativity in the matte. Only time will tell how this matter will unravel.

Overall Review:

This year’s ACM Awards show actually stood out to me. A lot of surprising performances and twists in the winners made this more exciting than the CMA and CMT awards combined from the past year. In addition the controversy and remarks from many made this one of the most social events in the country music community, from Miranda’s surprising win to Kenny’s disappointmentwith his own win. I think this could have been the best awards show in the past 2 or 3 years for country music and I’m sure it has left its mark in history.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Rachel permalink
    May 22, 2008 3:08 pm

    Ya know, at first I didn’t like Taylor’s performance. The fact that she actually lip synced a little bit was a total turn off and reminded me of a country version of Britney Spears, but then I watched the vid again and I disagree with you about the inappropriateness. It didn’t even cross my mind that the ripping off of her clothes was inappropriate, to me it just looked way cool! And the way they arranged the chorus as she goes under the water is pure brilliance, it is so catchy! I love it! The water scene? To me it was a bit more awkward than anything else, but hey, she’s young and just having some fun. If she would have gone under there all rubbing up on herself and such, I would think different, but she didn’t.

  2. Dylan permalink
    May 22, 2008 10:54 pm

    The comment about Brooks & Dunn is completely wrong. They are headlining their own tour called the Cowboy Town Tour with ZZ Top and Rodney Atkins opening. B&D also has higher concert sales and plays bigger arenas. Their ablum also has produced a top 5 single so its not faring that poorly (with another one likely on the way…Put A Girl In It is rising fast.)

  3. cowboybleau permalink*
    May 23, 2008 12:31 am

    I was unaware they were doing there own tour. They were an opening act for most of last year before Cowboy Town hit the shelves. Anyways Sugarland have had consistant top 10 and top 5 hits and even a few #1 hits in the past year while Proud Of The House We Built by B&D was highly critisized as “plain” compared to their other works and God Must Be Busy, though a great song, failed to hit the top 10. I do think Put A Girl In It will help them regain some momentum, but thats a little to late for the ACM Award win. Sugarland have just been more popular and more consistant with a #2 album that put on a hard fought battle in the top 10 while B&D debuted at #4, their worst album debut sense 1999, with barely 65,000 in sales in its opening week and it has failed to score even Gold while Sugarland have two multi-platinum albums to brag about.

    I’m sure B&D will prove they’re worthy of their win this year, but Sugarland was more deserving in the long run.

  4. K-Man permalink
    May 23, 2008 9:38 pm

    For me, Taylor’s performance was by far the highlight of the night. I absolutely loved that song! I wasn’t a huge fan of the hoodie, but I can’t complain it was cool when they ripped it off.

    I’m very disappointed that B&D beat out Sugarland though.

  5. Terri permalink
    June 19, 2008 10:06 pm

    Taylor’s performance was amazing….Reba was outstanding as host again….Was surprised at Miranda getting album of tje year. Reba’s performance with Brooks and Dunn was outstanding and Garth Brooks was incredible…Loved the show…

  6. Katie permalink
    March 21, 2009 9:14 pm

    wow that whole thing about Taylor is soooooo wrong ok ..its called a costume change ,..not riping cloths of by guys ..its one of her trade makes on stage . her dress that fallowed was completly appropriate wsa the water ..she wasen’t dancing or laying in it in a sexy way …she was standing in it freaking out because that works for the song …and she sounded great and had amazing energy who ever wrote this is way to conservitave if you think this was in any way inappropriate 🙂 thanks

  7. February 4, 2011 12:10 am

    This is so great that I had to comment! I’m usually just a lurker! taking in knowledge and nodding my head in quiet approval at the good stuff:):)!this required written props! Theory rocks:)!thanks!

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