Rick Diamond/Getty Images
When host Reba McEntire kicked off the Academy of Country Music Awards on CBS Sunday night by shouting, "Are y'all ready to party," she wasn't kidding.
She wasted no time introducing the first performance of the evening, and then she wasted even less time ignoring the genre's close relationship to the biggest stories in entertainment these days.
"I'd like to thank Tiger Woods and Jesse James for inspiring us all," she said. Later she noted that the show was going green—all paper used for the show was "made from recycled Larry King divorce papers."
Of course, what's a party without a few awards being handed out—largely to Carrie Underwood and triple-takers Lady Antebellum and Miranda Lambert—a little water, a Taylor Swift tune and a Kanye moment...
Lambert was given her gong for Video of the Year 24 hours before showtime, so when the time came to accept her award for Album of the Year (handed to her by Kristen Bell!), there was a little extra excitement and the "White Liar" singer wanted to make sure her two producers enjoyed the moment as well.
After she finally got them to approach the mic, show producers pulled a Kanye West and cut them off, dimming the stage lights and panning to the back of the house. "Really?!" she declared just before the telecast cut to a video of the Zac Brown Band in the Middle East.
At least she was able to get in a slight dig when she breathlessly accepted the bigger award for Best Female Vocalist.
"You've got to be kidding me," she rejoiced. "I didn't get to thank very many people last time, but I really missed the most important person, which is the Lord...Thank you so much to the fans. This is my life and you make it great."
Things went decidedly more smoothly for the Lady Antebellum trio as they picked up trophies for Top Vocal Group, Single of the Year and Song of the Year.
"It is an honor to be a part of the best genre in the world," they said as they came to the stage for round three. "We're having a blast tonight! We'll never forget this night."
Underwood took home Entertainer of the Year for the second year straight, making sure to thank her mom and fiancé Mike Fisher before jumping and squealing. She was considerably more composed for her ultra-girly performance. She belted the moving ballad "Temporary Home" wearing a big pastel, floral dress standing on a stage covered in flower petals and watching an Easter explosion of petals fall into the crowd.
Swift got a little more showy this time around—she sang "Change" from a stage that floated around the crowd! She ripped off a sparkly white dress to reveal a tight black number! She did a stage dive!—and, thankfully, she sang a bit better than the last time.
Speaking of dives, Top Male Vocalist winner Brad Paisley didn't shower the crowd à la Pink, but he did conclude his performance by falling back into a hot tub (on purpose).
He was dripping wet when Matthew McConaughey presented him with his award, but at least the actor bought him a little time with a TMI rant about what went down the night of the ACMs last year.
"This is my second time here," he said. "I had a really good time last year...After the show last year, my lady and I, Camilla, we even went back to the hotel and conceived the little lady who is now our daughter, Vida Alves McConaughey. That's a true story. Now I'm back and I'm having a good time, but I promise you me and Camilla are gonna try and not get so lucky this year. Two is enough. We're flush for a while."
Brooks & Dunn took the ACM stage for the last time as a duo, playing "My Maria" thanks to fan votes, just before picking up their gong for Best Vocal Duo for the 16th time.
"We are currently in therapy with Brett Favre trying to figure out how to waffle on this," Kix Brooks said of their impending retirement. "It's very tough, very difficult, very sensitive...This has just been a wonderful, amazing, dream experience."
Here's the complete list of winners for the 45th Annual ACM Awards:
- Entertainer of the Year: Carrie Underwood
- Top Male Vocalist: Brad Paisley
- Top Female Vocalist: Miranda Lambert
- Top Vocal Group: Lady Antebellum
- Top Vocal Duo: Brooks & Dunn
- Top New Artist: Luke Bryan
- Top New Solo Vocalist: Luke Bryan
- Top New Vocal Duo: Joey + Rory
- Top New Vocal Group: Gloriana
- Single Record of the Year: Lady Antebellum, "Need You Now"
- Top Album of the Year: Miranda Lambert, Revolution
- Song of the Year: Lady Antebellum, "Need You Now"
- Video of the Year: Miranda Lambert, "White Liar"
- Vocal Event of the Year: Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins, "Hillbilly Bone"
- Home Depot Humanitarian Award: Montgomery Gentry
The twang continues in our ACM Awards Gallery!