Author - Nicole Marchesi
Photos - Getty Images
The 58th Academy of Country Music Awards took place Thursday in Frisco, Texas to a packed stadium. The night was hosted by Dolly Parton for the second time in a row and Garth Brooks, making his hosting debut. Garth’s opening monologue consisted of him naming all-male ACM country icons, which was only partially saved by his introduction of Dolly Parton. “But the king of country music is a female! Give it up for G.O.A.T.” he said as Parton herself walked on stage with a real life goat. Instantly Parton got the crowd laughing by making a joke about being Garth and Trisha’s hall pass, “I know why you're doing that ‘G.O.A.T.’ thing! I think it stands for ‘Garth Organized a Threesome.'” Overall, the hosts bounced jokes off of each other well and were champions of those performing and awarded, even when they didn't show up.
The night went on with Cole Swindell and Jo Dee Messina performing “Heads Carolina, Tails California” which he then won two awards for, gracefully thanking Messina for making the song a hit originally. Other standout performances include New Female Artist of the Year, Hailey Whitters, who performed her first radio single “Everything She Ain’t” with champion Nicolle Galyon admiring from the side. Her southern charm and grinning smile made everyone a fan that night. Miranda Lambert won for most intricate set design. Performing her song “Carousel”, Lambert appeared in a stunning feathered dress on top of a fog filled stage, surrounded by various carnival pieces. Carly Pearce joined Trisha Yearwood to perform numerous hits including “Wrong Side of Memphis”, “XXX’s and OOO’s” and our favorite “She’s In Love With The Boy”. Together they had the crowd singing and dancing along, especially Caylee Hammack who later appeared on stage for a performance of “Bonfire At Tina’s”. The Lindeville crew included Ashely McBryde, Brandy Clark, Pillbox Patti, Caylee Hammack, and John Osborne on guitar. It was clear they were having a blast and it was even better without the swear words getting bleeped, thanks Amazon! Special shoutout to Ed Sheeran for making an appearance with Luke Combs. The two superstars gave a stripped down performance of “Life Goes On” off of Sheeran’s new album.
A crowd favorite and the standout of the night was Lainey Wilson. The “Country With a Flair” singer took home four trophies including Female Artist of the Year. Her acceptance speech was inspiring, recognizing those who paved the way for her and being a role model to those who will follow. “I’m up here because of y’all, because of people like Dolly Parton, pavin’ the way,” Wilson began. “Everybody in this category didn’t just wind up there by happenstance, they worked their fingers to the bone. They have put the blood, sweat, tears, and years into this… For the little girls watching this, it stands for hard work. If you’re gonna be a dreamer, you better be a doer.” She also took home the awards for Album of the Year (Bell Bottom Country), Visual Media of the Year, and Music Event of the Year with Hardy for “Wait In The Truck”. Wilson made a surprise appearance joining labelmate Jelly Roll on stage before performing “Grease”. Showing off her dance moves, Wilson brought the heat!
The crowd was disappointed by Male Artist of the Year winner Morgan Walllen not attending and performances by Bailey Zimmerman and Jordan Davis didn’t make up for it either. The biggest surprise was Chris Stapleton winning Entertainer of the Year. It was clear by his acceptance speech that Stapleton was just as surprised as we were.
Luckily Dolly Parton saved the night once again with her rockstar debut of “World On Fire.” Accompanied by dancers, flames, and a dramatic skirt that covered the entire stage, Parton proved she was indeed the G.O.A.T. Touching on the important message behind the song, she said, “This is a song I felt very inspired to write. I think it speaks about everything and to everyone this day and time. I hope it is something that will touch you and maybe touch enough people to want to make a change for the better.”
What did you think of the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards? Let us know!