Here are the Winners & Losers—off of the top of my head sans any deep insight—from the 55th annual ACM Awards on Sept. 16. Of course, the Losers aren’t really losers, so don’t get your fringe twisted.
Winners – Riley Green & Tenille Townes
The New Female and New Male Artists of the Year delivered during their performances. Tenille’s performance of “Somebody’s Daughter” was the best—or at least, my favorite—performance of the night, while Riley’s performance of “I Wish Grandpas Never Died” was the most-Shazamed song of the evening.
Winner – Mickey Guyton
Mickey delivered a stunning performance of “What Are You Going to Tell Her.” While casual country music fans—and non-fans who happened to be watching the show—probably didn’t know who she was, they do now. The tune was the second-most-Shazamed song of the evening.
Losers – Thomas Rhett & Carrie Underwood
The award is called Entertainer of the Year, not Entertainers of the Year. Thousands of votes . . . and it ends in a tie? Shenanigans! Shenanigans!! Shenanigans!!!
Winner – Carrie Underwood
Wait, how can Carrie be both a winner and a loser? It’s my list. Anyone who pulls off a medley of songs by Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton is a winner in my book.
Loser – Eric Church
Eric was nominated for Entertainer of the Year . . . an award he has never won. A very solid case can be made for why he should have won. Alas, he didn’t even finish in the top two in the voting, which we know because there was a TIE.
Winner – Luke Combs
Of the four most-coveted awards (Male Artist, Female Artist, Album and Entertainer of the Year), Luke won two: Album of the Year and Male Artist of the Year. That’s a winner!
Winner – Trisha Yearwood
Trisha’s rendition of “I’ll Carry You Home” during the In Memoriam was beautiful. If she’s not careful, she’ll be beckoned to sing it at every awards show for the rest of her life, much like Vince Gill singing “Go Rest High On That Mountain” at seemingly every funeral. It must be mentally/spiritually exhausting for Vince.
Dierks Bentley and Kacey Musgraves Viewers
Both Dierks and Kacey were nominated for major awards—Male Vocalist and Female Vocalist/Single of the Year, respectively—but neither performed. Of course, Dierks has been nominated for the award six times without winning, so he has legitimate beef, but Kacey was the reigning Female Vocalist of the Year. I want Kacey and Dierks performing at every awards show in perpetuity. Period.
main photos by Tammie Arroyo, AFF-USA.com