Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Now this was Jason Aldean's kinda party.
The platinum-selling artist dominated the field with six wins tonight, including Artist of the Year, at the 2011 American Country Awards, where the fans pick the winners and the winners have to go to Vegas to pick up their Fender Telecaster trophies.
But when there's good music, good humor and girl groups with names like Pistol Annies, what is there to complain about, really?
In addition to winning the night's top honor, Aldean was named Touring Artist of the Year; won Album and Single of the Year by a Male Artist for "My Kinda Party"; and shared both Single and Music Video of the Year in a Collaboration with Kelly Clarkson for "Don't You Wanna Stay."
Whew, was that all?!
The only gal to even meet Aldean halfway was Carrie Underwood, aka Female Artist of the Year and a winner for Music Video and Single of the Year by a Female Artist for "Mama's Song."
An absentee Brad Paisley was named Male Artist of the Year, but he turned up via satellite to introduce Alabama, which is heading out on tour next year—eight years after their "farewell tour"—and was the three-man recipient of the Greatest Hits Award tonight.
Blake Shelton dedicated his wins for Music Video of the Year by a Male Artist and regular old Video of the Year to his ailing dad, Dick Shelton, then gave a stirring performance of "God Gave Me You," one of the best tunes of the night.
The husband and wife team of Keifer and Shawna Thompson, aka Thompson Square, took home an impressive three guitars, for Single of the Year by a New Artist and by a Group, and for Music Video by a New Artist—all for "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not."
New Artist of the Year Scotty McCreery thanked American Idol for propelling him into his current lofty position, while Breakthrough Artist of the Year (there's a difference, folks) Chris Young was also a winner for Single of the Year, for "Voices."
Taylor Swift, though nominated six times, went home empty-handed—but she didn't look too disappointed, considering she wasn't even there.
Also part of the drill that somewhat distinguished this show from the three country music kudosfests that preceded it this year was a countdown of the most-played artists of the past 10 years, culminating in the reveal of the Artist of the Decade.
For the record, counting backwards, the top artists were Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Garth Brooks, Rascal Flatts, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw and...Toby Keith.
Not sure how they were all guys, but...anyway, Keith sang "Red Solo Cup" after video congratulations from pal Stephen Colbert, who joined Keith in singing the national anthem during the artist's recent visit to The Colbert Report.
Here's the complete list of winners from the 2011 American Country Awards:
Artist of the Year: Jason Aldean
Male Artist of the Year: Brad Paisley
Female Artist of the Year: Carrie Underwood
Group of the Year: Lady Antebellum
New Artist of the Year: Scotty McCreery
Breakthrough Artist of the Year: Chris Young
Album of the Year: My Kinda Party, Jason Aldean
Single of the Year: "Voices," Chris Young
Single of the Year, Male Artist:
Single of the Year, Female Artist: "Mama's Song," Carrie Underwood
Single of the Year by a Group: "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not," Thompson Square
Single of the Year, New Artist: "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not," Thompson Square
Single of the Year, Vocal Collaboration: "Don't You Wanna Stay," Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson
Touring Artist of the Year: Jason Aldean
Music Video of the Year: "Who Are You When I'm Not Looking," Blake Shelton
Music Video, Male Artist: "Who Are You When I'm Not Looking," Blake Shelton
Music Video, Female Artist: Carrie Underwood, "Mama's Song"
Music Video, Duo, Group or Collaboration: "Don't You Wanna Say," Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson
Music Video, New Artist: "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not," Thompson Square
Greatest Hits Award: Alabama
Artist of the Decade: Toby Keith