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Academy of Country Music play by play

Jeffrey Remz  |  April 1, 2012

8:00 pm or so - Carrie Underwood gets the night rolling with her current single. She rocks pretty well on it - that's what it is after all. I don't get the lighting, which was way too dark at times for Underwood. A bit over the top, but not bad.

8:05 pm - The hosts for the night, Blake Shelton and Reba McEntire come out. As I expected, a number of corny jokes that sounded awfully forced. Maybe the lamest had to do with the Denver Broncos sacrificing Tim Tebow because he was a virgin or something like that. On the racy side, but so dumb. Bad political joke thrown in there as well. These guys better get better.

Chris Young turns in a good performance. He looks good without that hat. I guess they figured hats are definitely out.

8:11 pm - Zac Brown Band is off-site in Las Vegas with its new single, Keep Me In My Mind. Tropical sounding like a lot of their songs. Sounds good, fun. Nothing too substantial.

8:15 pm - The Band Perry sounds real good on Postcard from Paris. wasn't sure it would with the glitzy "The Band Perry" in lights at the back of the stage. It's the most country song thus far with mandolin and other country instrumentation.

8:20 pm - They show Lionel Richie in the audience. He released his first country disc last week. Only "Tuskegee" isn't all that country. Taylor Swift is there also in long straight hair.

8:26 pm - LL Cool J is out there. Never understood his connection with country.

8:28 p.m. - Keith Urban's out there with his song, For You from "Act of Valor," the Havy Seals movie. Rocks pretty well. Big hand out there.

8:33 p.m. - Song of the Year:Crazy Girl,Eli Young Band. Okay, I'm surprised. Did not think it would win, although it was a huge hit. "I have dreamed about this my whole life," said Mike Eli. He urged people to follow their dreams. Lee Brice wrote the song. A whole slew of people are up there all excited. So were their wives and/or significant others. A bunch of blonds all lined up.

8:41 p.m. - Blake Shelton is up performing now with a intro by fellow Okie Reba McEntire. Pretty sparking dress there with a good chunk of cleavage. Shelton performs his current single Drink On It. Good song, but he sounds slightly pitchy to me. Easy going, a bit soulful. Got better as it went along.

8:44 p.m. - Grace Potter is now a blond. Too bad. She's out presenting Album of the year with Eli Young Band.

8:46: Album of the year:Miranda Lambert "Four the Record." "Seriously? I've been listening to every record in this category, and I thought man, I'm not going to get it....Thank you so Much. I really appreciate it y'all." Lambert also bought every record in the category. At least she supports music!

8:47 p.m. - Hunter Hayes is out there. As Zac Brown said, "Somebody who actually plays on his own record. Soulful voice. he sure looks younger than 20. Good performance of Storm Warning, although short.

Little Big Town performs part of Lennon's Imagine along with We're with a backing children's choir. They sing Here's Hope, a song written by Hayes. Not very country, but good message.

8:57 p.m. - New outfit for Reba. Same old one for Shelton. Sexual comment from Shelton. Ho hum.

8:58 p.m. - Jason Aldean with his latest hit Fly Over States. That guy has gotten more country sounding and less rock. This is more acoustic-based.

9:02 p.m. - You got to kidding me. KISS is out there for Vocal Group of the Year winner? Okay, seriously. Did these guys ever listen to country music even? Gives country a bad name.

9:03 p.m. - Hey America, this is country music. Let me hear you," said Gene Klein. Lady Antebellum wins it for Best Duo.

"This is crazy," said Charles Kelley. He said something to the effect that seeing KISS Up there made him want to pull down his shirt and reveal some chest hair or something. Can't blame him. Then the band went on to thank their fans.

9:06 pm - Brantley Gilbert sings Country Is Country Wide, or some of it anyway. Lot of name checking there, including Chris LeDoux. I'm not a fan of that kind of shtick. Tries to connect the artist with some legend.

9:07 p.m. - So, of course, who's out there next? Eric Church with Springsteen. It's a song looking back, a memory. Okay, so it namechecks also, but at least he's at some level the point of the song. What's with the shades though, Eric? There was also Taylor Swift's Tim McGraw hit. Another memory song from yesteryear. They show Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman bopping to the song a few times.

9:16 p.m. - Jake Owen, Lee Ann Rimes out there for Single Record of the year.

9:17 p.m. Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson win Single Record for Don't You Wanna Stay. Aldean thanked the songwriters, including Jason Sellers. Aldean told his producer that the song needed a female voice and thought of Clarkson. "I'm really glad I did because she came and made a great song and took it to a new place," he said. Clarkson thanked country for taking her in.

9:19 p.m. - Another really bad joke from Shelton about Jet Blue and their pilots. Not funny.

9:20 a.m. - Lady Antebellum sounds real good on Dancing Away with My Heart. Good vocal interplay. Nice and acoustic based. Hillary Scott sounds really good on it. Tender vocals from all three.

9:30 p.m. - Scotty McCreery sings a little bit before introducing guitar ace Brad Paisley, who is white hot on Camouflage. Does a fine job and shows what country is about. Nice. That guy knows a thing or two about playing guitar. Always has.

9:34 p.m. - The Band Perry gives out New Artist of the Year - Scotty McCreery with a body guard leading him to the stage. He thanked "my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ" before thanking his fans and a few others.

9:41 a.m. - Rascal Flatts sings Banjo with guest banjo man Steve Martin. The song sounds good, and that banjo can be heard. Done after a tribute to Earl Scruggs Two banjo players out there actually. Hot picking. Flying V guitar also. Taylor Swift getting down there singing along.

9:44 a.m. "Can you all hear that banjo in the back," the crowd is asked. Ah, I think you have it wrong. I heard it in the front. Way to go.

9:45 p.m. Blake Shelton on Toby Keith's Red Solo Cup - That song has gotten to be the biggest surprise hit since Osama Bin Laden said (in high pitched voice) "'Who is it. Come on in." OUCH!

9:46 p.m. - Toby Keith walks through the crowd doing Red Solo Cup. Carrot Top even helps out. I get the fun attitude of the song, but it's a silly song. Just don't think it's all that good.

9:49 p.m. - Marc Antony is country also. Not the smoothest up there. He said he sings on the Lionel Richie country TV special coming up April 13.

9:50 a.m. - Sara Evans does a good job of singing My Heart Can't Tell Me No, a cover of a Rod Stewart song. Not very country. More pop, but she like her delivery.

10 p.m. - Kenny Chesney starts out on electric guitar on I>Rockstar10:07 p.m. - Miranda Lambert gets Female Singer over Taylor Swift and others. Nice. Liked her a long time, more so when she goes more country than rock "I can't believe it. I'm really humbled...I'm about to perform and then this."

10:12 p.m. - Miranda Lambert Shelton (at least that's what Blake called her) out there performing her hit "Over You." Her vocals are top notch. Heart felt, emotive w/o needing to go over the top. You wonder if it's hard to sing after having just won another award where she was emotional.

10:16 p.m. - Zac Brown Band - fun sounding Whiskey's Gone. Nice country song - even talks about seeing "the devil in my glass." Now that's country. Brad Paisley comes out to lend his guitar skills. BP wore a Zac Brown kind of hat. Hmm... doesn't quite look right. Stick with the cowboy hat.

10:20 a.m. - Bono: "America isn't just a country. It's an idea." He said he's been listening to the Dierks Bentley song Home back in Ireland.

10:22 p.m. - I always liked Dierks Bentley. Home is one solid song with a lot of meaning. Not frothy. Great message. The guy's a start.

10:31 p.m. - "Very special first. A wedding right here on our stage," said Nancy O'Dell in introducing an upcoming wedding. Marry Me is sung by Martina McBride and Pat Monahan of Train. Their story may be great, but somehow the idea of getting married on TV is a bit much. Hopefully it's a reenactment. I mean where are their kids (the couple both lost their first spouses)? The song sounds good. This is weird. Glad I didn't get married like this.

10:44 p.m. Luke Bryn sings I Don't Want This Night to End. This guy has never done it for me. Songs just don't cut deep at all. At least this one is catchy, but yet again he sings a song with the word "truck" in it. Is that a requirement? And this is not what I'd call country either.

10:47 p.m. - Wearing it for awhile, but a blue glittery dress for Reba. At least Swift doesn't change outfits to present the award.

10:48 p.m. - Male Vocalist - Blake Shelton. "Man, holy crap," Shelton said. "I didn't see that coming at all. It's amazing, co-hosting this. I hadn't even thought about this at all." Shelton said he had been backstage singing to Bentley's Home...It's been a long hard ride, got a ways to go." The camera quickly switched to wife Miranda, who had tears in her eyes.

10:54 p.m. - Lionel Richie out there for Entertainer of the Year - Taylor Swift gets it. She kisses Jason Aldean, Lady A, a few others. "Thank you s ouch to the fans who voted for this. I'm so happy about this. I want to say to my fellow nominees in this category. I respect you so much, and I love you. We work so hard and try to give you back." She gave a shout out as well to a high school student, who was slated to be her date, but couldn't be there.

10:58 p.m. - After promo intro by Reba for an upcoming TV show (very lame to self-promote like that), Shelton and Richie team up to sing You Are. Not a bad version, but indicates how far country has gone towards other genres, not vice versa. Doesn't quite sit right with me. And why do you close out an awards show with a song intended to promote a TV show? Okay, the credits are now rolling.

11:01 p.m. - I guess this is not the Oscars. Just after Blake said something like "I like this part," and the song goes a different direction so does the show. It's over! Isn't that totally embarrassing? Not complaining though.

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