Hey people of the internet!!! How is your Monday…I know everyone loves Monday!!! (you may now sarcastically laugh…ok that’s enough). On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to recap what happened at the first ever ‘I Heart Music Awards’…and A LOT happened so let’s get started! Now normally I talk about the host in a separate section, but this award show didn’t really have a single host and instead focused on using several different presenters. I think Pitbull served as the host (I’m not sure if that’s official or not) because he gave a very short monologue at the top of the show (after his performance). He mainly joked about the LA Clipper scandal (which is an NBA team for those of you who don’t know anything about sports…#NoShame). That was about it for the hosting duties…so let’s get the awards (yay!).
Hip-Hop/R&B Song of the Year:
‘Pour it Out’ by Rihanna:
This was definitely a tough category, but if we’re being completely honest, it’s hard for Rihanna to lose anything. Why you ask? Well first of all she’s Rihanna which means she’s awesome, and secondly this year she’s had hit after hit from her latest album ‘Unapologetic’ (which charted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart). So it’s easy to see why Rihanna deserved this award.
‘Timber’ by Pitbull feat. Ke$ha
‘Timber’ was performed at the top of the show (which I will speak about later…get excited!), and was certainly a crowd favorite. But, this is no surprise since it did chart at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart(as well as #1 on numerous other charts all over the world). Ke$ha also has a record of releasing numerous hit singles, so when you get two powerhouses together, you can’t expect anything else but collaboration gold.
‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus
Now if there is an artist who has had an intense year, it’s Miley. If you’ve ever listened to ‘Wrecking Ball’, then you know that the song is full of angst and sadness, and the perfect song to cry to while eating a tub of ice cream. I think that any song that can make you think this much definitely contains some AMAZING lyrics.
Best New Artist:
She’s 17, won two Grammys for her first single, which she co-wrote…yeah I would say that Lorde is the best new artist. She has also been able to make history in her home country of New Zealand by being the first solo act to get a debut single to chart #1 in the U.S. With all of this early success, I can only imagine what this young artist will achieve next.
Best Fan Army:
Rihanna (Rihanna’s Navy)
It’s no surprise that Rihanna won this award, because in order to have the success that she has had, you have to have a fiercely loyal fanbase. In her career thus far, Rihanna has been able to conquer music, movies, and has become a fashion icon for millions. ‘Rihanna’s Navy’ definitely came through on this one, and proved why they deserve this award.
With 3,803,044 VERY loyal instagram followers (and that’s just as of May 5, 2014), it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Austin took home this award. This talented young musician has been taking award shows (particularly fan voted award shows) by storm this year, and has proven that he is ready for a mainstream pop career. Using a social media platform to promote his music to his followers, he is already thinking like a mainstream musical artist, particularly when it comes to improving his online presence and expanding his social media reach with services similar to Nitreo. You can learn more about the service by searching for reviews online, or you can see nitreo reviewed here. With the release of his debut album ‘The Secret’ expected to drop later this month, I definitely think that Austin needs to make sure he has plenty of room in his trophy case.
Young Influencer Award:
She’s stared in a hit all teen Broadway production, on two hit Nickelodeon TV shows, and has now made her mark on Pop/R&B music (even drawing comparisons to Mariah Carey…yeah that’s intense), so you would think that it would be no surprise that Ariana received this award. However, it’s not only her impossibly perfect talent that has influence her fans, but also the fact that Ariana has cultivated a very intense connection with them, and even admits to becoming friends with some her fans after meeting them on Twitter. With such a close connection to their idol, it’s no surprise that Ariana is a large influence on her fans.
Alternative Rock Song of the Year:
‘Demons’ by Imagine Dragons
Ever since this song dropped on October 22nd, 2013 it has controlled the airwaves, and has continued to launch alternative rock band Imagine Dragons into the spotlight. This band continues to prove that they can release hit after hit (they even won a Grammy last year for their song ‘Radioactive’), so it’s easy to see how ‘Demons’ had a great chance of becoming the mega hit it has become.
Song of the Year:
‘Stay’ by Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko
Do I really need to explain why this song won? If you own a radio then you know what a huge hit this has been for Rihanna and Mikky Ekko. This track has charted at #1 in numerous countries, and has been acclaimed by critics. Since this track followed up Rihanna’s very popular hit ‘Diamonds’, you know it had to be catchy, relatable, and still hold a bit of that edge that sets Rihanna apart from other radio artists. This song certainly delivers and also proves that Rihanna is more than capable of digging deep and delivering emotionally driven songs with truthfulness and passion.
Best Country Song:
Blake Shelton ‘Boys ‘Round Here’
Country superstar Blake Shelton has certainly had a huge hit with this track. It was a fun direction for Blake, but it also didn’t tray from the sound that has made his fans fall in love with him. The track reached #1 on the ‘U.S Billboard Country Airplay’, and was praised by critics for “taking a chance” with its’ sound.
EDM Song of the Year:
‘Wake Me Up’ by Avicii
If you didn’t know who this Swedish DJ/Producer was before, then you definitely knew who he was after the song was released on June 17th, 2013. This song not only launched Avicii, but also singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc (who co-wrote the track with Avicii). This song has definitely helped Avicii launch himself into the forefront of the rising EDM culture in mainstream music.
Until recently you may or not have known who this producer/singer/songwriter is but this year we all relieved a crash course in Pharrell 101. For nearly a decade, Pharrell has produced hits for artists such as: Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dogg, Nelly, Kanye West, Pitbull, Maroon 5, Fall Out Boy, Robin Thicke, Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, etc. Pharrell has been well known for years in the music industry, as an innovator due to his experimentation with different sounds, and his collaborations with artists from very diverse genres. Lately, Pharrell has taken his creativity to a new level, and is now also well known for his vocal ability and onstage showmanship (as well as his famous brown hat from the Grammys…you know which one). With such an established history and bright future, it is obvious that Pharrell will continue to make a lasting impression on the music industry.
Artist of the Year:
I think we’ve gone through all the reasons why Rihanna is the artist of the year. I mean with hit track after hit track, and the deep love of her fans, I don’t think that any other artist could have received this award.
Pitbull & G.R.L.:
Pitbull and American/British/Canadian girl group G.R.L. (which was formed by the ‘Pussycat Dolls’ mastermind Robin Antin), performed their new track ‘Wild Wild Love’. The members of G.R.L. wore cool black leather short shorts and some wore fun dresses. Pitbull wore a coral jacket with a peach shirt and white pants. The back screen displayed a brown sky, with small white clouds. The staging also included lots of flashing lights that got the crowd excited. As ‘Wild Wild Love’ ended, Pitbull began performing his hit track ‘Timber’. For this performance, dancers came out and added an energy boost to the already high energy performance. This was definitely a fun way to start the show.
Country superstar kept the energy high by performing his 200 hit ‘My Kinda Night’. Luke kept his outfit casual by wearing skinny jeans, a black t-shirt, and matching black baseball cap. His staging included lots if cool spotlights shooting out throughout the stage. Luke also brought his showmanship to the table by showing off fun dance moves, and interacting with the fans. He’s performance definitely made this our “kinda night”. Good job Luke!
Now if you own a radio and do not live under a rock, you know who Bastille is, and you’re guilty of car singing their hit ‘Pompeii’ one too many times( it’s ok we’ve all done it…and the song is definitely awesome enough to warrant that crazy look random strangers on the road give you as you’re driving). Bastille gave an amazing performance that included lots of cool flashing lights, and the lead singer assisting on the drums at different points of the song. The performance made an impression by being very memorable, and so intriguing that you couldn’t look away. I think that this performance proved that Bastille will become as famous as they want to be (yes it was THAT amazing!).
Ed Sheeran began his performance with an up tempo version of his 2012 (2011 in the U.K.) hit ‘The A Team’. The performance was shown via satellite from the ‘Hotel Cafe’ in Los Angeles, CA. He followed up this song with his newest hit ‘Sing’, which not only showed off his amazing vocal abilities, but also his guitar skills. It was a very fun performance to watch, and further cemented why Ed’s talent has been able to capture his fans’ hearts.
Ariana began her performance with her breakout hit ‘The Way’ (which you have DEFINITELY had hairbrush karaoke sessions too). Ariana came out wearing a black jazz with knee-high white go-go dancing style boots. She was accompanied by several male dancers who wore white shorts and black dress coats, enter background singers wore black dresses that matched Ariana dress except they wore black boots. The back screen had ‘Ariana’ written in large bright lights. As always, Ariana gave spectacular performance of ‘The Way’. She then changed into a sparkly black dress, her background singers wore black pants and white mid drifts, and her background dancers wore black shirts (some wore white shorts) and no shirts. After changing, Ariana sang her new hit song ‘Problem’, which of course she sang flawlessly, which warranted cheers from the crowd.
The most anticipated performance of the night was definitely the premiere of Michael Jackson’s debut single ‘Love Never Felt so Good’ off of his second posthumous (which means that it was released after his death) album ‘Xscape’. The track features Justin Timberlake, and was previously recorded by Johnny Mathis in 1984. The performance was really intricate, with numerous dancers who were dressed like Michael, and danced along with video of clips of Michael (which were shown on the back screens). Usher came out as the song began and danced along with the other dancers. It was really cool to see all of these talented dancers pay homage to Michael Jackson, and celebrate his work. The performance ended with a large poster falling over the screen, with the cover of Michael’s album on it. This was definitely the crowd favorite performance of the night.
Hip-Hop/Rap artist was up next with his track ‘California Love’. He wore a baseball cap, blue jeans, and a cool jacket. Before his performance he did a testimony about seeing a Dr. Dre and Tupac shoot a music video in his hometown of Compton, CA. His song gave off a very 80s meets Run DMC meets Will Smith vibe, and the performer was a lot of fun to watch.
30 Seconds to Mars:
30 Seconds to Mars performed their new song ‘City of Angels’ (I’ll give you one chance to guess which city the song is about…well go on take a guess…you know you know it). The performance included testimonies from celebrities and regular people trying to have a career in LA on the good and bad things about the city (these testimonies were also in the band’s music video for the song). The performance had a very haunting vibe about it, and ended with a superman impersonator saying, “Do I think I’ll make it in the industry? Only if I keep believing”.
Next Shakira performed her new song ‘Empire’. The staging was very elaborate and perfectly matched the vibe of the song. The back screen had images of leaves falling behind a black background that alternated between black, pink, and yellow. Then once the chorus hit, colored smoke was released. Shakiest certainly got really into her performance, which made the crowd go crazy for her. Shakira also brought a very rock and road vibe to her performance at one point, when he grabbed her mic stand, turned it upside down, and sang into it while holding the mic above her head. It was a very fun and unforgettable performance to watch.
Next up was Blake Shelton who performed his new track ‘Doing What She Likes’. The staging was very simple, with a back screen that changed colors from blue to yellow, with the image of a palm tree on the screen. Blake accompanied his band on the guitar, and definitely gave a fun performance that the audience just loved.
Arcade Fire performed their track ‘Normal Person’ (which was shown via video). Their performance included cool purple lights that lit up the stage, and the audience wearing cool foam fingers. This high energy performance was a lot of fun to watch, and continued the high energy trend that ruled the evening.
The last performance of the night was given by Pharrell Williams who did a medley of several of his hit tracks. He began his performance with his track ‘Come Get it Bae’ off of his album ‘GIRL’. The staging was definitely the most elaborate of the night, and included multiple stages, and numerous dancers who wore very futuristic ‘Jetsons’ style outfits. The next song that was performed was the 2013 hit ‘Blurred Lines’. While singing this song, Pharrell went into the area that the celebrities were sitting, and sang to them. The next song that was performed was another big hit from 2013 entitled ‘Get Lucky’. While this track played, the dancers went into a circle of mirrors and danced to the song. The finally song that was fine was ‘Happy’ (which was included in the ‘Despicable Me’ soundtrack, as well as ‘GIRL’). The dancers reemerge in letterman jackets, which have them a very 50s vibe, and was a nice finishing touch to an amazing number.
This award show also contained numerous testimonies from artists such as Iggy Azalea, Coldplay, John Legend, Lady Gaga, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pete Wentz of Fallout Boy, Adam Levine of Maroon 5, Rita Ora, and many more. the artists spoke about their experiences in LA, their first times encountering the city, and the lessons that they’ve learned from their failures and triumphs in the music business.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to recap Sunday night’s (Sunday April 6th, 2014) ACM Awards. The award show took place in Las Vegas, and honored some of country music’s brightest stars. The show was once again hosted by the hilarious and unpredictable Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan (both were nominated for various awards). With these two hosting, the show was definitely not short on laughs or surprises (and NO celebrity was safe with these two). There were also some amazing performances that stole the show and left the audience in amazement. We definitely have A LOT to cover so if y’all are ready…let’s go!!!
The show began on a hilarious note due to the comedic pairing of Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton. Luke began the show by making fun of the amount of money that was “wasted” on the “ruined” hairdos by the confetti that ‘The Band Perry’ released during their number (I’ll speak more about this in the ‘Performance’ section). They then went on to announce that the 50th ACM show will be held in Arlington, TX (yay Texas!!!) at the ‘AT&T Stadium” (which is home to the NFL team the Dallas Cowboys). Then Blake commented that “you don’t see many awards shows in Cowboys Stadium”, in which Luke responded “You don’t see any playoff games there either”. The two then poked fun at other celebrities such as Britney Spears, and Miley Cyrus. The two also attempted to replicate Ellen Degeneres’ famous Oscar ‘ selfie’ moment, but discovered that they were the “most famous people there”. These were just a few of the numerous jokes and antics that the two came up with. The two definitely left their audience laughing uncontrollably, and in doing so once again proved why they are the perfect award show hosts. The only disappointment that I felt about Blake and Luke’s hosting was that I have to wait A WHOLE YEAR to see them in action again. Honestly who can wait that long?!?
Vocal Event of the Year: ‘We Were Us’ by Miranda Lambert feat. Keith Urban
Although all of the nominees released amazing tracks that were more than deserving of this award, I can definitely see why this song won. Not only is the song incredibly catchy and fun, but the time of the song is very unique in relation to the theme. The tone of the track is happy, because the song is about how good a relationship used to be when the couple was together. When you combine a unique song with the equally unique vocals of Miranda and Keith, you certainly have ‘The Vocal Event of the Year’.
Video of the Year: ‘Highway Don’t Care’ by Tim McGraw feat. Taylor Swift and Keith Urban
Even though I didn’t pick this video, I can definitely see why it won. The plot of the video deals with the devastating effects that texting and driving can have. The story in the video is definitely one that most of us can relate to, and this makes the video much more powerful. The video leads the audience through an emotional roller coaster and makes you reflect on your own texting and driving habits. Because of the power and emotion that this video is able to convey, I can see why it won.
Vocal Duo of the Year: Florida Georgia Line
This was such a big year for Florida Georgia Line that I don’t see how any other group could have possibly had a shot at beating them out. From their breakout cross-over hit single ‘Cruise’, to their newest track ‘This is how we roll’ which features fellow country star Luke Bryan (the song was #2 on the ITunes Country Charts as of 4/8/2014). This power duo seemed to emerge out of thin air, and have since taken fans hearts’ and the airwaves by storm. Although this past year was HUGE for them, Florida Georgia Lone shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Single of the Year: ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’ by Miranda Lambert
This song was all over the radio this year, so it was no surprise when it won ‘Single of the Year’. With about 1,521,000 copies sold as of November 2013, it seems that fans just can’t get enough of this song. This was a really big night for Miranda, but Kacey Musgraves (who co-wrote Mama’s Broken Heart with a few other writers)was also able to share in this honor.
Song of the Year: ‘I Drive your Truck’ by Lee Brice
Now although I didn’t pick this song, I can see why it won. The emotionally charged lyrics make the track very powerful, and this power resonates and stays with listeners. Also, the fact that this song was written about a real person ( the late Fort Drum soldier Jared C. MontiI who was a recipient of the Medal of Honor in 2009) makes the lyrics hit even harder. I personally love this song, and it was all over the radio this year, so this was definitely a HUGE step forward for Lee Brice in his career.
Male Vocalist of the Year: Jason Aldean
This was a VERY tough category, because all of the artists who were nominated had huge years in country music. Jason Aldean has had numerous hits this year with songs such as ‘Night Train’ and ‘When She Says Baby’. With his catchy songs and amazing vocals, Jason definitely proved that he deserves this high distinction.
Vocal Group of the Year: The Band Perry
Even though this wasn’t the group that I thought would take home this prize, they have had numerous popular songs this year. With fan favorites such as: ‘DONE.’ ‘Better Dig Two’, ‘Don’t Let Me Be Lonely’, and ‘Chainsaw’, it is easy to see why this group continues to dominate the country music scene. The group has been on a non-stop uphill ride ever since their 2010 hit ‘If I Die Young’, and this momentum makes no indication of stopping any time soon.
Female Vocalist: Miranda Lambert
Even though there were a lot of very deserving artists for this category, this was “the year of Miranda Lambert”, so it only makes sense that she would win the award for best representing female country vocalists. With her huge sales, fiercely loyal fan base, and incredible songs and vocal ability, who else could’ve won this award!?!
Album of the Year: Kacey Musgraves. ‘Same Trailer, Different Park’
Kacey has certainly been a breakout star this year with her super popular tracks ‘Merry Go Round’, ‘Blowin’ Smoke’, and ‘Follow Your Arrow’. Her “classic country” vocal qualities and honest lyrics have carved her a permanent slot in country music that she will be occupying for A LONG time. Kacey also helped write Miranda Lambert’s hit ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’, which further got her name out to country music lovers everywhere, and also gained her more respect as a singer/songwriter.
Crystal Milestone Award: Merle Haggard
This wasn’t an award that was up for grabs, which is why I didn’t include it in my ‘2014 ACM Awards Predictions’ blog (which you can see here: Monday Memos: My 2014 ACM Nomination Predictions on celindareyes’ Blog – Buzznet ). This award was presented to Merle Haggard due to his long and phenomenal career in country music. He has had countless hits with tracks such as: ‘(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers (his 1st top ten hit), ‘I’m a Lonesome Fugitive’ (his 1st number 1 hit), ‘Okie From Muskogee’, ‘Mama Tried’, ‘If We Make it Through December’, ‘Today I Started Loving You Again’, ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star’, and numerous others. Merle Haggard has won 14 ACM (Academy of Country Music) Awards, 6 CMA (Country Music Association) Awards, and 3 Grammy Awards. He was inducted into ‘Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame’ in 1977, ‘The Country Music Hall of Fame’ in 1994, and was inducted into the ‘Kennedy Center Honor’ ( an award given to individuals who use the performing arts to affect American culture) in 2010. He was also one of the pioneers of the ‘Bakerfields Sound’ ( which is distinguished by the combination of traditional country steel guitar sound, and new vocal harmonies in which words are kept at a minimum). This sound continues to greatly influenced numerous modern artists such as Brad Paisley, the Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and numerous others. So as you can see, Merle Haggard has not only had an extremely enviable career, but has also greatly changed the sound of country music.
Entertainer of the Year: George Strait
Although there were numerous deserving artists that could have won this award, the award had to go ‘King George’. With a chart topping 2013 album ‘Love is Everything’ (which reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums, and #2 on the U.S. Billboard 200 charts), George Strait used this final album to perfectly end his career. Even some of the other artists who were nominated for this award cheered when George Strait won, so this showed the vast amount of respect that he has within the country music community.
The Band Perry:
They performed their newest hit track ‘Chainsaw’, and brought a very cool rock element to their performance style. The band dressed in all black, which finished off their very cool country meets rock vibe. The back screen behind the stage displayed the lyrics of the song in big red letters, which brought a very unique element to the number. My favorite part of the performance was the confetti that flew into the audience about mid-way through the track. It brought a very fun vibe to the performance, and served as a great set-up for jokes from the show’s hosts. All in all, this performance was very energetic and cool, and definitely showed that The Band Perry has cultivated their performance style and have found their artistic identities.
Florida Georgia Line:
FGL performed their newest hit ‘Stay’, while the music video for the tune played in the background. At one point of the number fire and smoke began to go off in the background, which added an extra cool flair to the number. I really loved Florida Georgia Line’s vocals on this song, because their harmonies were very tight, and they proved that they have the talent and energy to put on a phenomenal live show. Later on, Florida Georgia Line performed their super hit ’This is How we Roll’ with the show’s co-host Luke Bryan. The performance was very interesting and intricate, with a very cool BMX show in the background (it was AMAZING!!!).
Brad Paisley performed his newest song ‘River Bank’. I thought it was really cool that he performed the song on a glass stage over a pool. Throughout the song, Brad kept the energy up, and played a very cool guitar solo midway through the song (which has become a staple in his songs). I really loved this performance, and found it to be a very cool addition to the lineup.
Blake Shelton & Gwen Sebastian:
Next, ACM co-host Blake Shelton, and singer/songwriter Gwen Sebastian (who also competed on the second season of ‘The Voice’, and was coached by Blake while she was on the show) performed the song ‘My Eyes’, off of Blake’s album ‘Based on a True Story’. The staging for the song was very cool, due to the stage’s darkness and the small lanterns that decorated the stage. The performance gave off a very stripped down acoustic vibe, due to the staging, and Blake accompanying the song on an acoustic guitar. After so many high energy performances, this was a very nice change of pace.
New Artist nominee Bret Eldridge performed a very shorten version of his track ‘Beat of the Music’, as the music video for the song played in the background. Despite the performance being very short, he still got the crowd excited, and certainly showed that he is one to watch in the upcoming year.
George Strait performed his new single ‘I got a car’ off of his final album ‘Love is Everything’. Before he began the performance, the person who announced him stated some facts about his career, such as the fact that he is the only artist to have a top 10 hit every year for 30 years. As he performed the song, different images of road signs and other images that have to do with driving appeared behind him on the back screen. I really loved how George Strait proved that even after all these years, he is a true showman, and is able to keep an audience completely captivated just with his voice. Later in the show, George Strait covered Merle Haggard’s song ‘I’m a Lonesome Fugitive’, as sketches of Merle Haggard were displayed on the back screen. It was really cool to see a legendary performer like George Strait honor another legendary performer and showing how important roots are in music.
Lee performed a shortened version of his hit song ‘I Drive Your Truck’ (which won ’Song of the Year’ later in the show). Even though this was a shorten version of the track, it was still very powerful due to Lee’s intense emotional connection to the song’s lyrics. I also really loved how dark and haunting the staging looked, it really added to the vibe of the performance. My favorite part of the performance was that you could really see how much passion he gave to his performance, especially when he began to cry while singing, (then I began to cry and it all got very emotional…but you don’t want to hear that…ok…moving on).
Eric Church was up next with his single ‘Give Me Back My Hometown’. I really loved how simple the performance was (the staging was very simple with only the music video playing in the background). I felt that this staging perfectly matched the “old country” feel of the song, and just gave the whole number a very cool effect.
Justin performed a shortened version of his hit song ‘Lettin’ the Night Roll’ (which helped him win the new Artist of the Year award at the ACMs). Even though the track was shorten, it certainly proved why Justin won the award this year.
Blake Shelton and Shakira:
Blake’s second performance of the night was with another artist associated with the voice, the one and only Shakira (who coaches on the show)! They sang the song ‘Medicine’, which is off of Shakira’s self-titled album. I really liked this performance due to the unique pop meets country feel that this song has (and Shakira even wore boots!). Towards the end of the song, Blake and Shakira walked down the catwalk part of the stage, and added a little bit of rock to the performance. This was definitely a fun performance to watch, and made me excited to see if the two will duet again sometime in the future.
Lady Antebellum performed an absolutely unforgettable number with the legendary rock star Stevie Nicks. They did a mashup of their song ‘Golden’ and Stevie Nicks’ song ‘Rhiannon’. It was so much fun to see the two amazing acts share the stage together. This was certainly one of the highlights of the show, and gave the audience a fun change in musical direction. Ever since Lady Antebellum and Stevie Nicks performed together on ‘CMT Crossroads’ earlier this year, I have loved seeing them together. I was really excited to see them perform at the ACM’s, and this leads me to think maybe they should record an album together…maybe…possibly…please! Ok, I will stop fangirling now.
Keith Urban performed his track ‘Even The Stars Fall 4 U’, off of his ‘Fuse’ album. Per usual Keith Urban fashion, the performance was full of energy and very entertaining. There was also a very cool mid song guitar solo (another Keith Urban staple). My favorite part of the performance was towards the end, when two of Keith’s band members went up to his mic and started singing with him, it gave the performance a very old school rock n’ roll feel.
Kip (another nominee for best new artist) performed a shortened version of his hit song ‘Something Bout a Truck’. Although this was a short performance, the crowd completely loved it, and Kip showed exactly why he was nominated.
Co-host Luke Bryan performed his newest single ‘Play it Again’, off of his hit ‘Crash my Party’ album. This performance definitely had my favorite staging of the night, due to the fact that the stage was made of giant records, and the back screen also had giant records on it as well (because the song is called play it again…get it…good!). The items on the back screen rotated between displaying the giant records, and showing a live feed of the audience dancing to the song. This was a really fun performance to watch, and definitely proved why Luke Bryan is one of the top male artists in country music.
Jason Aldean performed his newest hit single ‘When she calls me baby’. As always, Jason’s impressive vocals were front and center (which makes sense since he did win Male Vocalist of the Year). The staging was very simple, with blue lights shining all over the stage, and Jason dressed in all black (even his guitar was black!).
Miranda performed her newest single ‘Automatic’ off of her newest, yet to be released, album ‘Platinum’. I really love that this performance had Miranda old family pictures displayed on the back screen throughout the number. The song has a very ‘vintage country’ sound to it, so the performance really matched the theme of the track. I also loved that Miranda wore a very casual outfit ( a sparkly white tank top, sparkly white boots, and ripped jeans), because this really matched her carefree and down to earth attitude ( which is one of the many things that makes her awesome…I mean c’mon, you have to admit that she seems really cool and we all want her to be our BFF…yeah that what I thought). Later in the show Miranda covered Merle Haggard’s song ‘Tonight the Bottle let me Down’. As she sang, sketches of Merle Haggard rotated on the back screen. Miranda did a very good job performing covering this classic song, and proved that although her music has many modern country elements in it, she is still influenced by the pioneers that shaped country music.
Next up, Tim McGraw performed ‘Meanwhile Back at Mama’s’, where his wife Faith Hill made a special appearance. She was dressed in a beautiful strapless white dress, and he wore a tux with a black cowboy (very cowboy chic). My favorite part of the staging was the old 50s style golden mic that Tim McGraw used in the performance, I thought it was an interesting touch that made the performance unique.
Toby Keith performed his newest single ‘Shut Up and Hold On’ off of his ‘Drinks After Work’ album. The staging was really cool due to the multicolored stage lights and steel guitar influence in the sound.
Next, Hunter Hayes performed his latest tear jerking ballad ‘Invisible’. The performance began with Hunter singing behind a large screen as images of shadows appeared across the screen. Once the first chorus of the song began, the screen rose but the shadows continued to move across the screen. I really enjoyed this performance because how passionate and connected Hunter was to the song. The fans really seemed to love this number, proving that this was certainly one of the most special moments of the evening.
Darius Ruckner then performed his version of the song ‘Wagon Wheel’ with super group Lady Antebellum. The crowd seemed to really get into it, and the whole performance felt like an amazing sing-along. I really loved how much fun the performance was, and even though they have performed this song before they were able to bring a fresh feel to the track.
Next up was the AMAZING Rascal Flatts who performed their newest hit track ‘Rewind’, which is off of their latest album ‘Rewind’. Even though the lead singer Gary LeVox did not perform the song live (because he was sick and did not want to damage his vocal chords), I still felt that the group put on an excellent show. I was really impressed that they did not cancel their appearance last minute, and found a way to make an appearance for their fans despite the problems that they were faced with.
Sheryl Crow and Dierks Bentley:
Lastly, Sheryl Crow and Dierks Bentley performed Dierks song ‘I hold on’. I really loved how the two had such great stage chemistry, which made their performance a very sweet ending to an AMAZING show.