Let's visit Sunday's overload, part 2. My previous blog looked at the "Mad Men" season-opener. Here are the three stories I sent to papers, dealing with the Academy of Country Music awards:
By MIKE HUGHES
Country-music might have a family
feeling, but rarely like this. At the Academy of Country Music
ceremony Sunday, you'll see:
– A husband and wife, Blake Shelton
and Miranda Lambert, competing for entertainer of the year.
– An engaged couple, Jana Kramer and
Brantley Gilbert, each up for new artist of the year. They separately
won for best new female and male vocalists; now they face Florida
Georgia Line (new duo or group) for the overall prize.
– And a tribute to the late Dick
Clark, who produced this show for decades. That's in a show being
produced by his son, Richard A. Clark.
“People think of Dick Clark as rock
'n' roll,” said Bob Romeo, the CEO of the ACM. “But he was really
instrumental” in boosting the ACM and its telecast.
For this tribute to his dad, Clark
recruited George Strait and Garth Brooks; the latter, he said,
personifies the rock spirit in country. “He brought arena-rock to
it. He loves Kiss; he loves James Taylor …. A lot of (country)
people follow his example.”
That spirit should be clear in an
opening number that links Shelton and Lambert, plus Luke Bryan,
Sheryl Crow, Brad Paisley and more.
Shelton hosts with Bryan, linking two
Oklahoma guys who have a casual style. “They have a great, natural
repartee,” Clark said. “I'm so glad we have a five-second delay.”
Corrected Jack Sussman, CBS' specials
chief: “I think it's a little longer than five seconds.”
Both men bring a rock-party feel, part
of the crossover appeal that has boosted country. Romeo says:
– Country music increased sales a tad
last year, to 44.5 million records. That's 12 percent of the total
market, with several people at the top.
– Only 10 people sold a million
recorda; half were country, led by Taylor Swift with four million.
– Country also had six of the top 25
To boost that crossover, rock and pop
people will perform Sunday. They include Crow, Kelly Clarkson, Jewel
and Stevie Wonder.
(Separate story or sidebar list –
Here are the nominees for Sunday's
Academy of Country Music awards:
– Entertainer off the year: Blake
Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan
– Male vocalist: Shelton, Bryan and
Aldean, plus Toby Keith, Eric Church
– Female vocalist: Lambert and Swift,
plus Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, Kacey Musgraves
– Vocal duo: Sugarland, Big &
Rich, Love and Theft, Thompson Square, Florida Georgia Line
– Vocal group: Lady Antebellum,
Little Big Town, Zac Brown Band, The Band Perry, Eli Young Band
– New vocalists: (In each of three
categories, three people were nominated and fans chose the winner; an
overall winnner will be named Sunday.) Male: Brantley Gilbert won,
Hunter Hayes and Lee Brice nominated; female: Jana Kramer won, Kacey
Musgraves and Sunny Sweeney nominated; duo or group:
Florida Georgia Line won, Thompson
Square and Love and Theft nominated.
– Album: Swift, Bryan, Underwood,
Church, Little Big Town
– Single: “Over You,” Lambert;
“Springsteen,” Church; “Wanted,” Hayes; “Pontoon,” Little
Big Town; “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” Eli Young Band.
– Song (songwriter's award): “Over
You,” “Springsteen,” “Wanted” and “Even If It Breaks Your
Heart,” plus “A Woman Like You,” which was performed by Lee
--Video: “Wanted”; also, Church's
“Creepin',” Little Big Town's “Tornado,” Zac Brown Band's
“The Wind,” Musgraves' “Merry Go Round,” Swift's “We Are
Never Getting BackTogether.”
(Separate story or sidebar list – the
Here's a glimpse of the Academy of
Country Music awards
– When: 8-11 p.m. Sunday, CBS;
red-carpet preview is 6:30 p.m. on GAC (Great American Country)
– Hosts: Blake Shelton and Luke
Bryan; it's Bryan's first, Shelton's third
– Opening number: Blake Shelton's
“Boys 'Round Here,” with Shelton, Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Sheryl
Crow, Brad Paisley and more.
– Other combinations: Garth Brooks
and George Strait doing a three-song Dick Clark tribute; Tim McGraw
doing “Highway Don't Care” with Taylor Swift, plus Keith Urban on
guitar; Stevie Wonder doing one of his songs with Hunter Hayes;
Paisley, Hayes and Dierks Bentley; others were to be decided late,
including Kelly Clarkson's pairing for “Don't Rush.”
– Also performing: Carrie Underwood,
Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Jewel, Lady Antebellum,
Little Big Town and The Band Perry, plus the winners in new-artist
categories: Jana Kramer, Brantley Gilbert and Florida Georgia Line.
– Just presenting: Lots of
country-music people, plus John Fogerty, LL Cool, quarterback Colin
Kaepernick and two people (Willie and Korie Robertson) from”Duck