Entertainer of the Year:
Expectation - Garth Brooks. Award shows tend to favor the older candidates, the artists that have been around in music the most, like Garth, and the fans love him!
Preference - Miranda Lambert. Obviously. She’s the only female candidate this year, and the one in my mind, who deserves it the most.
Male Vocalist of the Year:
Expec. - Luke Bryan. Bryan has been the king of popular country music this year, with 6 consecutive No. 1’s in the last year, along with an album that sold over 2 million copies.
Pref. - Eric Church. Church has brought some somewhat out-of-left-field country/southern rock music this year. It hasn’t always worked for him, but he’s accepted that, and plans to improve on the music people didn’t like. I applaud him for that.
Female Vocalist of the Year:
Expec. - Miranda Lambert. She’s the reigning victor, and a fan favorite. Not to mention, she deserves it!
Pref. - Brandy Clark. New singer, amazing songwriter, and not to mention the traditional country vibe missing in modern country music.
Vocal Duo of the Year
Expec. - Florida Georgia Line. It pains me to say this, but they are the fan favorite, and one of the most successful and popular acts in country music in the last year.
Pref. - Maddie and Tae. They come in out of nowhere with their ultra-feminist song that surprisingly went No. 1. They deserve it more than FGL, whose achievements are nothing compared to Maddie and Tae’s.
Best New Artist
Expec. - Sam Hunt. He's been making waves in country music, because of his new sound, and because he appeals to the ladies. He is also a well - known fan favorite.
Pref. - Sam Hunt. He deserves this award because he has the freshest approach to country music of any man in the last decade.
Entertainer of the Year: Luke Bryan
Okay. I get this one. Bryan won last year, and he has all the girls on his side. Not sure if he deserved this, but I understand why he won.
Male Vocalist of the Year: Jason Aldean
Um, hold up. Jason Aldean won MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR????? His last four singles were called "When She Says Baby", "Burnin' It Down", "Just Gettin' Started", and "Tonight Looks Good on You." At least Luke Bryan had some non bro-country singles like "Drink a Beer." This was the one of the worst calls of the night.
Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert
Vocal Duo of the Year: Florida Georgia Line
This is another one I have a problem with. This category had a lot of stiff competition, Maddie and Tae and Dan + Shay among them. Florida Georgia Line was the expectation, but it still disappoints me that the ACM's didn't give the new artists a chance (especially Maddie and Tae).
New Artist of the Year: Cole Swindell
Officially the worst call of the night. I was hoping for some more girls in this category, but Thomas Rhett was okay, and Sam Hunt deserved it all the way. Cole Swindell (WARNING: IF YOU ARE A COLE SWINDELL FAN DO NOT READ FURTHER) has put out mediocre single after mediocre single that were basically worse versions of Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan's songs. New Artist of the Year? Not in my book.
- The show began with Eric Church and Keith Urban, with Church first performing his song, "Pledge Allegiance to the Hag", as a tribute to Merle Haggard, and then them teaming up for their current single "Raise 'Em Up." It was not the best performance from either of them, but an energetic way to begin the night.
- George Strait came back and gave an absolutely FLAWLESS performance, a medley of his songs "All My Ex's" and his new song "Let it Go." He was one of the most deserving of the Milestone Award.
- The best performance of the night was Reba. She ran through a medley of her biggest hits like she was 20 years old again. She truly is amazing. As Kalie Shorr accurately tweeted:
- Little Big Town's performance of "Girl Crush" was perfection. Harmonies were flawless, and it was like they made the performance so good to squash all of the haters. Anyone against the song who saw that performance has got to be rethinking their opinions.
- The sweetest moment of the night was Taylor and Mama Swift. Swift's mother presented her with the Milestone Award, almost in tears. Swift was incredibly gracious, and ultimately said goodbye to country music. She did however insert a shameless plug for her 1989 World Tour which dulled the moment a bit.
- There were a lot of returns to country music from some of the older country singers at this show, but Garth Brooks's was the best. He performed "All American Kid," track from his new album, Man Against Machine. In the middle of the song, he brought in a line of men and women in the armed forces, and made his song a salute to them. Props to you, Garth. This was so heartfelt and incredible.
What I'm hoping for next year at the ACM's is for them to start making some better calls, and begin nominating better people. New Artist of the Year should have Cam, Mickey Guyton, Kelsea Ballerini, all of the girls breaking into the scene. And please, not another Luke Bryan Entertainer of the Year. Please.