At 7:15pm on Sunday, April 7, Luke Bryan tweeted a picture of Blake Shelton and him with the caption, “In the cop car. We are going 110 in downtown Vegas.” From the moment the crazy co-hosts arrived at the ACM Fan Jam in the back of a police car, last night’s ACM Awards festivities comprised an energetic (and tearful) evening full of meaningful moments, exhilarating highlights, and powerful performances.
In one of the most memorable underdog victories of ACM Awards history, Luke Bryan claimed the coveted Entertainer of the Year award. The 36-year-old master of the spring break soundtrack, who recently launched his first headlining arena tour, beat veteran superstars Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, and Taylor Swift to win the fan-voted title.
Luke tearfully acknowledged his fans: “Thank you so much for making my life what it is. What I always wanted to be was just a country singer who got to ride on a tour bus and show up on a new stage and play music every night.”
Miranda Lambert received substantial honors throughout the evening, earning the designation of the evening’s most-awarded artist with four total awards. Her hit single “Over You” was declared Single Record of the Year as well as Song of the Year, resulting in two awards for Miranda as both artist and composer of the song. The culmination of Miranda’s evening came when she won her fourth Female Vocalist of the Year award, joining ranks with Reba McEntire and Loretta Lynn as the few artists who have ever won Female Vocalist of the Year four or more times.
The Male Vocalist of the Year award went to Jason Aldean, who also took away the prize for Vocal Event of the Year with Luke Bryan and Eric Church for their collaboration on “The Only Way I Know.”
Little Big Town was recognized as Vocal Group of the Year and for their Video of the Year, “Tornado.”
This year’s New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year award went to Florida Georgia Line. The group also won the fan-voted New Artist of the Year award. Not bad for their first ACM Awards show!
Each award announcement was surrounded by stellar musical performances, the most unforgettable being Garth Brooks and George Strait’s tribute to Dick Clark, the recently deceased former executive producer of the show. Their performances of “The Dance” and “The Cowboy Rides Away” were introduced by a noticeably moved Reba McEntire.
“He would slap me if he saw me crying up here,” Reba remarked in Dick’s memory.
Lady Antebellum debuted its latest single “Downtown,” giving band member Hillary Scott a chance to show off her baby bump. Carrie Underwood performed her hit “Two Black Cadillacs” with appropriate props onstage, and Hunter Hayes debuted his new song “I Want Crazy” and invited R&B legend Stevie Wonder to join him in performing Stevie’s classic, “Sir Duke.”
The 2013 ACM Awards was an exciting evening of celebration, talent, creativity, commitment, and, of course, the country music we love so well. We wish all the winners, performers, and producers a most hearty congratulations!