2017 ACM Awards recap

2017 ACM Awards recap



ACM Awards Recap by Tony Michaels

There’s always someone in every office that gets mocked because they are a little too into a certain activity or hobby.  Maybe it’s the guy that always talks about biking on RAGBRAI or the lady consumed with the Kardashians.  I love me a country awards show.  Yes.  I’m that guy.

It’s always a nice snapshot as to where the format is at this moment in time.

You got to love a start with all five entertainer of the year nominees sharing the spotlight.  For some reason, I can’t see Kanye West sharing the stage with Imagine Dragons, Miley Cyrus and Ed Sheeran.  The community that is country music is second to none.  My buddy Brad Streeter once said music should be community, not a competition.  And then the online community of Facebook ridiculed him.  Social media is tough.

I’ve mentioned before on Friday Night Spotlight, there are 3 major “types” of country:

  1. Mainstream country
  2. Traditional country
  3. Suckin’ up to your lady country

Tonight, Sam Hunt covered both 1 and 3 as he searched out his lady while singing “Body Like a Back Road”.  Well done Sam.  That was followed up by Dierks Bentley singing a tune inspired by his lady.

ACM Song of the Year – Die a Happy Man

Man, more sucking up to my lady country.  Seriously though, it was a sweet moment as Thomas Rhett spoke lovingly of Lauren.  He makes a big hit record AND brownie points with the Mrs.  Smart man.

Maren Morris was featured at a really good time in the show as a diversion from the Bro Country and tunes that could be featured in a Nicholas Sparks movie.  I believe her popularity in the past year is indicative to a slightly changing landscape that is becoming more diverse in sound.

In a mild upset, Brothers Osborne defeated FGL for Duo of the year.  Whoops.  Too much competition talk.  Uh, Brothers Osborne were community-loved this year by people who must have witnessed their badassery at the Anthem stage in Sioux City….and elsewhere.

Miranda was powerful and authentic on stage – two qualities she did not have on display on her last visit to Sioux City.  She appears to be much more confident in her abilities now – and it shows.  Love the speeches from the Miranda Lambert camp.  Some dude on the team gave the advice to aspiring songwriters – “Tell the Truth – it’s more interesting”.  So, tonight, Miranda turned divorce and despair into a slew of awards.  Now, that sounds like a theme for a country song.

Blue Ain’t Your Color Looked cool on tv.  So talented and great seeing him share the stage with Carrie and her sparkly flappy dress.  I was under the impression that maybe this was Keith’s year to bring home the Entertainer of the Year honors.  I was wrong.   I didn’t see Jason taking home the crown this year.  Proving I am as good at picking ACM winners as I am the Final Four in basketball.

Happy People by Little Big Town was an interesting song.  I love seeing new tunes – I don’t know if the message of “Happy People” is uplifting or condescending.  I’ll get back to you in a few weeks.

Some much needed tempo came from Lady Antebellum with “You Look Good”.  It’s great to see Lady A on their A game since their time away from the spotlight.  I like it when artists vary the song a bit live once in a while to make it feel special.  This was a fun one.

By the way, the fun quotient for most of the night was missing in the performances.

I had an epiphany.  We have something special here in Sioux City with three artists in a row graced either the Anthem or Battery Park stage – Brothers Osborne, Kelsea Ballerini and then Chris Stapleton!   Tell your friends – Sioux City is the new Vegas.

So, the CMA song (Forever Country) won an ACM Award – man, this is a community.  That’s like Pepsi giving and award to Coca-cola,

It would have been nice to introduce some new faces to the masses – like Grammy award winner for best country album Sturgill Simpson.  He’s been ballyhooed on SNL, the Grammys and loved by critics but no love on the ACM stage?  Cut one of those lame build ups for the awards by people I usually don’t know – you can squeeze in another performance or two.  Also, I’m surprised Mr. Vegas – Garth didn’t make an appearance.  Or former host Blake Shelton?

My biggest pet peeves of the night?  Give Brothers Osborne and Jon Pardi time on the big stage.  Those two performances in full length could have been some of the best of the night.  Please retire the “minor league” stage for “up and comers”.  Think forward a bit ACM’s.  New talent with big songs are GOOD for the business model.

Brad & Carrie > Luke & Dierks.   But it was an admirable effort by the party boys.  It kinda fit with Vegas.  I prefer the CMA pair.

As I was defended the music choices on KSUX with Facebook peeps that dislike the station because it’s varied too much from its country roots, I looked up and saw the entire arena rocking to a group country artists really respect and value – the Backstreet Boys!  My wife loved every minute of that performance.  It was fun to watch her morph into her “younger self” as she recited all the names of the crew.  Uh, let’s see – Howie, Brian, AJ and Mitch?  How’d I do?  Once again, in Vegas – it fit.  I don’t think any of the artists dancing in the aisles recoiled in fear about what the Backstreet Boys were doing on a country show.  They were busy having fun.

The world needs more fun, right?

Favorite performances of the night:

You Look Good – Lady Antebellum

Blue Ain’t Your Color – Keith Urban

It Ain’t My Fault – Brothers Osborne – was way too short

Tim & Faith – Speak to a Girl

The Chris Stapleton song

I admit it – FGL and the Backstreet Boys – hey, we all need some joy in our life.


Underwhelming performances

Yours if ya Want it – Rascal Flatts – Predictable

Any Ol Barstool – Jason Aldean – not an Entertainer of the Year performance


I wish there were a few more special unforgettable performances.  Also, the tempo of the performances was a little sleepy at times.


Overall grade   B –


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Tony Michaels

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