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Boring, nondescript ACM 2024 awards offer little life



See the full list of winners at the bottom.

The 2024 ACM Awards airing Thursday night (5-4 p.m.) via Amazon Prime has many people wondering: Is it better for an awards show to be inadvertently bad for entertainment value than to be so boring and indescribable that you want to claw your eyes out? out?

The 2024 ACMs definitely gave some of the worst awards shows in the country’s history a run for their money with a monotonous, predictable and generally lifeless presentation relegated to an online streaming channel, broadcast from a practice facility rather than an actual arena, and cut short by an hour because there simply wasn’t enough talent to showcase, including ignoring the genre’s most popular stars, Luke Combs, Zach Bryan and Morgan Wallen, none of whom was not present.

Lainey Wilson started the presentation by performing two songs, including “God Blessed Texas” and her almost purely rock new song “Hang Tight Honey.” It ended up being Lainey’s night as she walked away with Female Artist of the Year and the coveted Entertainer of the Year. But even that seemed to be normal, and a kick on the part of the ACM for not wanting to pay any attention to who wasn’t there rather than who was.

Reba McEntire hosted and said in her monologue that Lainey Wilson was giving Dolly Parton a “run for her money.” Let us perhaps slow down the pace of these statements a little. Lainey Wilson is exciting, but she has about 55 years of experience to reach Dolly’s level. The comparison was brought up as well as Reba’s silly jokes. The ACM’s austerity measures were not limited to the venue, the artists or the two hours of broadcast. They clearly cut their budget for writers.

When Jordan Davis won the first song of the year award, you knew it was going to be a tough night. “Next Thing You Know” isn’t a terrible song, but saying it’s the “best” song in country music and leaving out the Luke Combs version of “Fast Car” really shows how good the ACMs are focused on who is the major. the labels want to push, as opposed to the will of the fans which is codified by meaningful distinctions.

This was doubled when Dan + Shay won second prize, Duo of the Year. Not that there is any real competition in this category. Giving it to Brooks & Dunn after butchering the Toby Keith tribute at the CMT Awards earlier this year would have been bad form.

Jelly Roll sang previously unreleased song “Liar” in a performance that seemed super deflating, and from a guy who usually gets up during awards show moments. Why Noah Kahan was participating in the presentation was a legitimate question. He insists he doesn’t want to be considered country, but there he was singing “Stick Season” with Kelsea Ballerini, doubly clutching her mic like Carrie Underwood, but she doesn’t have the voice or the acting to replace Underwood on these awards. watch.

There are some things you can count on in life. The rising and setting of the sun, the changing of the seasons, and Old Dominion winning Country Music Group of the Year, even though 95 percent of Americans couldn’t pick them out of a lineup or name a song. The ACM 2024 did not disappoint in this department.

It took 40 minutes into the presentation before we heard an actual original country song performed when Cody Johnson decided to deliver “Dirt Cheap” on a stool in a stripped-down presentation. It was a good sentimental performance, but one that helped emphasize the snooze fest aspect that would be prevalent for most of the night.

Miranda Lambert’s new song, “Wranglers,” was supposed to reintroduce her to the world of country and remind her of her “light stuff on fire” days. But it’s just a lot of barking and very little biting, resulting in yet another “middle” moment. Everything seemed to move during the night, but even the movements felt weird. Footage from the crowd showed the audience looking around distantly. The winners didn’t know where to go to get off the stage. Everything seemed performative and uninspired.

Ashley McBryde and an Amazon star had a fun little moment where they sang parody songs mocking the single of the year nominees, with McBryde singing in a jingle, “The nominees were once again all guys.” Oddly enough, it was one of the best moments of the evening.

Luke Combs ended up winning single of the year with “Fast Car,” but of course, just like the rest of country music’s top talents, he wasn’t there to accept.

The War & Treat brought in Kane Brown to sing “Georgia” in tribute to Ray Charles, but it should have been Kane Brown who introduced The War & Treaty to sing “Georgia” in tribute to Ray Charles. Kane toured in a super mid version, while The War & Treaty would have brought the house down.

Thomas Rhett sang a new song that sounds like every other Thomas Rhett song. It was a girl, maybe his wife, or something. The reason artists like Zach Bryan and Noah Kahan are doing so well right now is because they are everything an artist like Thomas Rhett is not.

Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani got in on the action, delivering a deflated, radio-played single with their faded “Purple Irises.” This will surely have the Stans singing their praises, but other people will fish for the remote and find a better way to spend their Thursday nights.

Bobby Bones’ moments backstage provided the perfect opportunity to let loose. You really have to take your hat off to Bones and his incredible gift for bringing any topic or conversation back to him.

It all seemed as superficial as Chris Stapleton winning Male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year again. Which of course he did.

Jason Aldean paying tribute to Toby Keith isn’t the kind of tease that would get older, traditional country fans to tune in to an awards show. But his rendition of “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” with just acoustic guitars accompanied by a string quintet was actually one of the best moments of the evening. He understood how to allow emotion to be expressed in the moment, unlike what happened at CMT. Aldean deserves a hat tip for tipping his hat to Toby.

One of the most awkward moments of the evening was when Reba was introducing Chris Stapleton and was interrupted mid-way. Then, instead of seeing Stapleton, we saw pop star Dua Lipa, who sang a good half of “I Think I’m In Love With You.” No offense to Dua Lipa, but in a presentation already criticized for featuring so many pop stars instead of country, it was yet another pop star added to the mix, while Stapleton’s wife Morgane, who usually sings with Chris, stood there like a third wheel.

Then Post Malone came out and played unequivocally the most country song of the night, with a steel guitar and fiddle country band dressed in Dallas Cowboys uniforms. Then he played his massive new single with Morgan Wallen “I Had Some Help,” sans Morgan Wallen. Because I guess Morgan is still too verboten to take the ACM Awards stage.

Next, Malone and Reba sang a quick acapella verse of “Ramblin’ Man” in tribute to Dickey Betts. Once again, it was a far better interlude than most of the ultra-produced performances, including the lifeless acoustic version of Parker McCoullum’s “Burn It Down,” and the plastic, contrived performance pairing Nate Smith and Avril Levine .

Reba McEntire closed the show after Lainey won Entertainer of the Year, and everyone stood up, looked left and right, and wondered if they could have better spend their time, including this journalist.

The ACMs were once the second major awards show at the CMAs. Now they feel like they are holding on for dear life. Ultimately, Luke Combs, Zach Bryan, Morgan Wallen and everyone who ignored him made the right decision. Don’t be surprised if more people make this decision with the ACMs, as fans suffer from awards fatigue, and the CMT awards on CBS are actively seeking to supplant the ACMs as the No. 2 awards in the country behind the November CMAs.

WINNERS:
Entertainer of the Year – Lainey Wilson
Album of the Year – Chris Stapleton – Upper
Female Artist of the Year – Lainey Wilson
Male Artist of the Year – Chris Stapleton
Band of the Year – Old Dominion
Duo of the Year – Dan + Shay
Song of the Year – Jordan Davis – “Next Thing You Know”
Single of the Year – Luke Combs – “Fast Car”
New Female Artist of the Year – Megan Moroney
New Male Artist of the Year – Nate Smith
New Duo or Group of the Year – Tigerlily Gold
Songwriter-Artist of the Year – Chris Stapleton
Musical Event of the Year – Jelly Roll & Lainey Wilson – “Save Me”
Visual Media of the Year – Parker McCollum – “Burn It Down”
Songwriter of the Year – Jessie Jo Dillon
Band of the Year – Old Dominion
Duo of the Year – Dan + Shay
Song of the Year – Jordan Davis – “Next Thing You Know”
Single of the Year – Luke Combs – “Fast Car”
New Female Artist of the Year – Megan Moroney
New Male Artist of the Year – Nate Smith
New Duo or Group of the Year – Tigerlily Gold
Songwriter-Artist of the Year – Chris Stapleton
Visual Media of the Year – Parker McCollum – “Burn It Down”
Songwriter of the Year – Jessie Jo Dillon