ACM Awards: Jason Aldean wins entertainer of the year during energy-filled show
It was a big night for Jason Aldean who was named entertainer of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas.
Aldean performed early on with the other nominees, including Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood, at the opening of the show and closed the night strong with his major win.
“Thank you fans for letting me do what I do every night,” he said at the end of the show. “Love you mom, fans, country radio, everybody — thank you guys.”
Miranda Lambert also had a lot to celebrate on Sunday. She had a top-notch performance: She earned a standing ovation after she sang the slow, acoustic-sounding “Tin Man.” She later won album of the year and female vocalist of the year.
“Thank you for letting me use my heartbreak and sharing in it with me,” she told the crowd during her album of the year speech.
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Luke Bryan arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
At the start of the night, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and Joe Walsh took the stage to pay tribute to Chuck Berry, who died last month. After they finished rocking out, hosts Bryan and Bentley took the mic and opened the show with a skit about Las Vegas, joking that they stripped down as part of “Thunder Down Under,” sharing a series of shirtless snaps on the large screen in the T-Mobile Arena.
“Well Vegas, thank you for giving me one of the best nights of my life that I barely remember,” Bryan quipped. Bentley then added the ACMs would be a night the crowd would not forget.
The hosts also poked fun at Urban, joking the Australian star could easily get a job at “Thunder Down Under” when he is ready to retire his guitar.
The first award of the night, song of the year, went to Thomas Rhett for “Die a Happy Man.” The presenters, David Copperfield and Nancy O’Dell, mocked the Oscars best picture flub and initially joked the award was going to “Emma Stone, La La Land.”
Rhett, who also won male vocalist of the year, thanked his wife during his acceptance speech.
“Thank you to my beautiful wife, my beautiful pregnant wife,” said Rhett, whose wife was in the audience. “The song’s inspiration was because of you.”
In keeping with the Vegas theme, Bryan had his wax figure brought on stage during the show.
Maren Morris won new female vocalist of the year, Jon Pardi was named new male vocalist, and Brothers Osborne picked up both vocal duo of the year and new vocal duo or group of the year.
Little Big Town won vocal group of the year, beating out Lady Antebellum, which had just performed on the show.
Also during the show, Urban sang the soulful “Blue Ain’t Your Color” with a throwback, black-and-white vibe, while the back of the stage was smoky and bright blue. As he switched to the upbeat, disco-flavored “The Fighter” — where he was joined by Underwood — the camera focused on his actress-wife Nicole Kidman, who sang and danced along.
ACMs 2017: Red carpet styles
Stars turn up for the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas.
Sam Hunt performed his No. 1 hit, “Body Like a Back Road,” and he went into the audience to sit next to his fiancé to sing the song. The show also featured a number of other A-list performances during the three-hour show including Tim McGraw with wife Faith Hill, Florida Georgia Line with the Backstreet Boys, Reba McEntire, Chris Stapleton, Maren Morris, and Little Big Town.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.