Kacey Musgraves, Dan + Shay win big at ACM Awards
Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour” continued its winning streak: It won album of the year at the Grammys and repeated the win at the Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday.
Musgraves said she had “some of the greatest memories of my entire life” while recording the album. She also thanked her sister, who was sitting in the audience at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, for designing her album covers.
Musgraves’ critically acclaimed “Golden Hour” won four Grammys, including album of the year and best country album. However, she didn’t score a nomination for the top prize at the ACMs – entertainer of the year.
Instead, men make up the nominees exclusively for a second straight year with Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean, who has held the title since 2015.
Musgraves was the sole female artist in the album of the year category.
Bebe Rexha was the only woman competing for song of the year thanks to the record-setting hit “Meant to Be,” featuring Florida Georgia Line, while Maddie & Tae is the sole female act up for duo of the year.
But both honors, along with single of the year, went to Dan + Shay.
“I think somebody got the cards mixed up tonight,” Dan Smyers said onstage. “This is all incredible. We are all winners tonight.”
Smyers technically won five honors – picking up double wins in song of the year as artist and co-writer (shared with Jordan Reynolds and Nicolle Galyon) and single of the year as artist and co-producer (shared with Scott Hendricks). Shay Mooney didn’t write or produce the song.
At the Grammys, Dan + Shay won best country duo/group performance for “Tequila,” which peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot country songs chart and No. 21 on the all-genre Hot 100 chart.
Even Thomas Rhett jokingly dedicated his male vocalist of the year trophy to Dan + Shay.
“I am going to five this to Dan + Shay so they can go home with four,” he said.
Rhett also gave a shout-out to his wife who sat in the audience: “You are smoking hot tonight.”
Rhett also performed Sunday, while Dan + Shay hit the stage to sing “Keeping Score” alongside Kelly Clarkson, hitting impressive high notes. Chris Stapleton’s performance was also a highlight. The singer-songwriter, who often performs with his wife, Morgane Stapleton, sang onstage as she held her hand over her stomach (she is pregnant).
Ashley McBryde, who won new female artist of the year, also was memorable: Nearly in tears, she strummed her guitar and beautifully sang “Girl Goin’ Nowhere.” The 35-year-old was nominated for best country album at the Grammys and recently earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for her performance on “CBS This Morning Saturday.” McBryde shined again onstage when she joined Eric Church to sing “The Snake.”
Jason Aldean, the reigning entertainer of the year champion at the ACMs, kicked off the awards show with a fun performance featuring the hit-making duo Florida Georgia Line. FGL’s Tyler Hubbard wore a denim outfit featuring the American flag as he sang onstage with band member Brian Kelley and Aldean.
Reba McEntire, who is hosting the show for the 16th time, told several jokes. When she mentioned the collaborative performances of the night – Khalid and Kane Brown and Brandi Carlile and Dierks Bentley, among others – she said she would perform with rap star Cardi B.
She said they could sing her song “There’s No U and Oklahoma,” then said: “And that’s okurrr with me,” earning laughs from the audience.
AP Entertainment Producer Alicia Rancilio contributed to this report.