At least seven collaborative performances aired, starting with the opener featuring hosts Blake Shelton and Bryan and closing with Stevie Wonder, Hunter Hayes, Shelton and Bryan. But the show's highpoint was Bryan's surprise win as Entertainer. "I swear to God, every time I step on stage ... it is a blessing to me to play for fans," he said. "Thank you, country. Thank you, Country radio. This is the defining moment of my life and it means the world to me and I'll never take it for granted." See the full list of awards here and take a look at some of the ACM weekend activities in the photo gallery posted below.
- "This isn't some made up country fiction like the show Nashville where a faded, aging superstar is forced to team up with a hot, young sensation." Luke Bryan, ribbing co-host Blake Shelton
- "My career is going to be pre-Chief and post-Chief. That record changed everything for us." –Album winner Eric Church backstage
- "This time last year ... we were watching this!" –Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard accepting New Artist
- "Our babies Elijah, Penelope and Daisy – thank you for letting us ride your bus!" –Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild accepting Vocal Group
- "I was so focused on hosting that I forgot the first line of my new single 'Crash My Party.' I don't even know what I sang." Bryan, backstage
- "This young man is a blessing to country music and to America because he really has listened to all kinds of music and you can hear those influences in everything he is doing." –Stevie Wonder on Hunter Hayes
- "Last night ... Faith Hill introduced me to Shania Twain. In my 12-year-old wildest dreams that would never happen in the whole world. So I've pretty much been over-stimulated since then." –Lambert, backstage
- "Which one of them is Zac Brown?" –Bryan, on the Duck Dynasty stars
- "This next performer is nominated for Female Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year. But the coolest thing is, this morning, I saw her naked." –Shelton, introducing Lambert
- "No. How could he see someone naked on ACM day? There's no time for that." –Lambert, asked backstage if Shelton's quip was true
- "Congratulations, buddy. You won Entertainer of the Year in your first and last year of co-hosting this show!" –Shelton to Bryan
- "My family has dealt with a lot of tragedy with me losing my older brother and sister. That's the first thing you go to – you know they're in heaven smiling down." –Bryan on his first thought after winning Entertainer
- Kix Brooks hosted the ACM Party for a Cause Festival Saturday (4/6) where the cast of the A&E reality show Ducky Dynasty helped ACM execs present checks for $10,000 to Nellis Air Force Base Force Support Squadron, $25,000 to Wounded Warrior Project and $25,000 to Folds of Honor. Additionally, Dierks Bentley and Tim McGraw presented Army Sgt. Mathew Pickar and his wife with a check for $10,000 to help them get started in the new home they received through Operation Homefront.
- Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Jake Owen, Brantley Gilbert and Florida Georgia Line are on the bill for this year's Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI. Billed as the World’s Largest Music Festival, shows run for 11 days featuring more than 800 acts June 26- 30 and July 2-7.
The late Carl Perkins (4/9)
Steve Azar (4/11)
Jim Lauderdale (4/11)
Tuesday (4/9): Blake Shelton, The Voice (NBC); Kellie Pickler, Dancing With The Stars (ABC).
Wednesday (4/10): Keith Urban, American Idol (FOX).
Thursday (4/7): Blake Shelton, The Voice (NBC); Trace Adkins, All-Star Celebrity Apprentice (NBC); 48th Annual ACM Awards (CBS).
This Week's Album Releases
Brad Paisley Wheelhouse (Arista)
Collaborations with LL Cool J, Charlie Daniels, Mat Kearney, comedian Eric Idle, Dierks Bentley, Hunter Hayes and the late Roger Miller are highlighted on the 14-song, 3-interstitial album that includes current single "Beat This Summer" of which Paisley says is "one of the most fun grooves I've ever recorded."
Eric Church Caught In The Act: Live (EMI Nashville)
Recorded over the course of a two-night stand last year at The Tivoli Theatre in Chattaooga, TN, 17 live tracks include "Creepin'," "Homeboy" and the ACM Song of the Year nominated, "Springsteen."
Chuck Wicks Rough (Independent)
Released independently, the five song EP includes "Salt Life" which ties into the retail brand offer 20,000 free copies of the album with a Salt Life product purchase. "This music has been a long time coming," says Wicks. "I believe this EP reflects the steps I've taken to grow not only as an artist but as a writer as well."
» G & G Music Factory: Garth Brooks (r) joins George Strait for "The Cowboy Rides Away" to pay tribute to Dick Clark and remind everybody "how country feels."