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The ACMs

Jeffrey Remz  |  April 3, 2011

8:02 p.m.

Blake Shelton starts the show off singing Who Are You When I'm Not Looking as if it's to Miranda Lambert. Nope, of course, it's Reba McEntire in white on a couch. But she's tired of her shtick and told him to save it for their wedding night. Good advice.

They go right into Brad Paisley singing Old Alabama, his new single with Alabama coming out to sing also. Paisley is even wearing an Alabama shirt. Three-fourths of the band is there - Randy Owen, Jeff Cook and Teddy Gentry.

8:08 p.m.

Celine Dion is out there. "I love country music because it's always - always - sung from the heart." She has that right pretty much. I guess she is repping Vegas. She does have class about her I will say, although she has nothing to do with country.

8:09 p.m.

Shtick with Reba and Blake Shelton about stealing lines. "No Charlie Sheen jokes. No Lindsay Lohan jokes, and no jokes about celebrity scandals," Reba said. "So good night everybody," they said.

8:10 p.m. or thereabouts

Reba: Don't make jokes about Taylor Swift...She'll write a song about you." He joked about Jake Gyllenhaal being in "Brokeback Mountain."

Shelton pledges to dedicate a song to Miranda once she wins an Oscar like Nicole Kidman did. She is with Keith Urban of course.

Shelton is worried about Kimberly Paisley because he told Brad if he plays his guitar any harder, it's going to get pregnant.

He also goes after LeAnn Rimes saying she traded husbands this year. A bit harsh; it was in context of the previous joke, but a bit on the harsh side there. Kind of an easy, cheap shot.

Not a bad start really. Shelton seems comfy up there. He's a funny guy.

Toby Keith is up there performing now. Maybe he's getting more into these awards shows. Keith doesn't have the most energy up there. Laid back kind of song, Somewhere Else.

There's a concert going on at the Mandalay Bay with Sugarland among others, so McEntire and Shelton are heading over there. They try keeping things light of course. At least both have the personalities to do so.

You can also still vote for Entertainer of the Year.

8:23 p.m.

After intro by surfer Bethany Hamilton and an actress in the movie Soul Surfer, Carrie Underwood comes out to sing "Undo It." Then Steven Tyler comes out in white outfit to sing with her. He's got a lot of vocal power. So does she of course. They really rock. Not exactly country.

Then they do "Walk This Way." Great song of course. Underwood's not as good as Tyler, but he pretty much owns this song, although the chorus is good. She brings it more as the song goes on and seems into it. Not sure what the deal is with the red strands in her hair.

Wonder how the rest of Aerosmith feels about this. Whatever. they're probably used to this.

8:30 p.m.

Chippendale type guys waylay Reba for a sec as a joke. glad it was a joke. I never quite got into those guys.

Kind of something that they're already 30 minutes into this and not one award yet. Now Sugarland's out on Tonight with Rihanna coming too. Lots of people are excited for this. Not me. I don't get yapping about ropes and being tied up during sex in Rolling Stone piece. Sorry, but not that concerned about your sex life. Jennifer Nettles is singing well. She's got a powerful voice I will say. Kristian Bush got good backing vocals.

8:36 p.m.

Dierks Bentley is out there with his single Am I he Only One. I like the fact that he keeps things country. He rocks a bit, but you can hear the country instruments, and he sings with a country twang. Fun guy. Good summer song. He goes way way into the crowd. Obviously it's planned I'm sure, but he is a fun loving guy. "Let's have a little fun tonight," he sings, and it sounds like he is.

8:45 p.m.

Keith Urban out there seated the whole time. He sounds good in a tender love song, "Without You." Of course, at the end, they show Nicole Kidman, who seems to enjoy it. Why shouldn't she? Sounded real good.

8:49 p.m.

Eric Church is now playing Mandalay with shades on. Smoke a Little Smoke. He's got some energy. Good artist. I think he's on the rise.

8:56 p.m.

Miranda Lambert wins the ACM Song of the Year for The House That Built Me. Well, actually, it was the songwriters, Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin, who won, but they have Lambert to thank for that. Lambert was clearly excited, clapping right after her name was announced. She seems to get real emotional about these things. Can't blame her.

Lambert did not say anything onstage. Instead, she left the honors to Shamblin. He thanked his parents for the house he had and wished that those kids without homes have a house that can build them also.

9 p.m.

Taylor Swift sound real good singing Mean with banjo in hand. Nice and country. Front porch kind of song literally. that's the set for it, and makes perfect sense. Fiddle, acoustic guitar going. She's singing with more control than previous performances. She and band also come out front to sing around one mic. Good idea. Good, bouncy country song. And I do mean country!

9:03 p.m.

The Band Perry sings If I Die Young> bit slower than recorded version. Like the fiddle there. Kimberly Perry is still in white as she was on the walkway although I think it may be a different outfit.

9:08 p.m.

The Band Perry wins Best New Artist. Kimberley Perry says, "We are a family band in The Band Perry." She thanked their parents and the fans. "We are so humbled by this. Our songs belong to you absolutely," she said. Perry hugged Church before claiming the award.

9:20 p.m.

Single of the year:Miranda Lambert for The House That Built Me. She just thanked the various people. Nothing too substantial.

9:26 p.m.

Blake Shelton gets out to sing in a more country sounding song, Honey Bee. He sings with confidence and sounds good. A bit too much electric guitar. The song fits him musically. Okay, now he can return to hosting.

9:29 p.m.

Album of the Year:Lady Antebellum for "Need You Now" over Taylor Swift among others. Charles Kelley thanks Miranda Lambert (she announced the award) for not being nominated - she wasn't because she won it last year. I got to say Hillary Scott looks very chunky. I am surprised that Swift did not win. WAY BETTER CD.

9:38 p.m.

Sara Evans has had a number one CD in a good comeback for her, and now she's singing the hit single A Little Bit Stronger. I will say I always long for her "Three Chords and the Truth" days - her first CD when she was hard core country. Like other songs tonight, this one rocks too much and not sounding all that country to me. Strong vocals though. Sounds real good. Got a big hand.

9:44 p.m.

Group of the Year:Lady Antebellum. Not surprised considering they just won. "Sharing the stage with the Osmonds, mom. Pretty cool," said Kelley. He's got a good sense of humor. For some reason, Donnie and Maris Osmond announced the winner. I'm not sure why, but I'm not sure how cool that is.

9:51 p.m.

After being introduced by Blake Shelton and talking about their wedding in five weeks with her doing the planning and him shelling out the greenbacks (he did so literally on stage), she sings Heart Like Mine. I give her credit, she doesn't change outfits - wearing pink still.

9:55 p.m.

Rihanna and Jennifer Nettles. No Kristian Bush out there. He does the intros. Maybe this will help Rihanna get the country fans to her concerts as reports are that she's not selling well at all. At least she's covering herself this time unlike Rolling Stone cover. They're singing California King Bed off her "Loud" CD. The song has nothing to do with country. This is the kind of thing that I just don't get. A country awards show has something that really isn't country by anyone's estimation. it seems more an attempt to get non-country fans watching. Nettles sings it well. She does have a very strong voice, far better suited for this kind of music than what Sugarland calls country. Sounded good to me otherwise.

10:06 p.m.

Ronnie Dunn makes his solo debut with Bleed Red, his single. Sounds a heckuva lot like the recorded version. Good song. Uses a six-piece string section. I see this guy being able to have a solo career. He's a great singer. What I don't get his idiotic "COWBOY" tattoo on his right forearm. How the heck did he decide to do that? At least he sings well.

Sugarland wins Vocal Duo of the Year. This was about as predicable an award as there was.

The huge huge night for Miranda Lambert. She takes Female Vocalist of the Year.

Brad Paisley won his fifth-straight top male vocalist award. Not a surprise, but with Keith Urban up as well, this was not a given.

10:47 p.m.

Zac Brown Band sings with James Taylor on Colder Weather. It works well together although can't hear JT so well until he sings solo that is. He also added a bit of Sweet Baby James.

10:58 p.m.

Taylor Swift wins Entertainer of the Year. Gives a few hugs to Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert. She seems very stunned. "This is the first time I've ever won this, and I'm just losing my mind. The fact that this is from the fans makes it so beautiful. Thanks to the fans and anyone who voted."

Saying she had just returned home to the U.S. from her overseas tour, Swift said, "Thanks for this wonderful welcome home gift ad not forgetting about me. Thank you to the fans. this is the best thing that has ever happened to me. ever. Thank you so much."

And with a parting good night or something to that effect, the night was over.

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©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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