ACM Awards: Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Taylor Swift shine

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The 2015 Academy of Country Music Awards jam-packed more than three hours of music, from classic country stars such as George Strait and Alan Jackson to contemporary favorites Miranda Lambert and Luke Bryan and pop and rock stars Taylor Swift and Steven Tyler.

Even A-list celebrities and a football star took part as the awards show celebrated its 50th anniversary in a new location, the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Here's a breakdown of the top moments from Sunday night's show, which featured 23 performances.



Miranda Lambert is like the perennial winner actor Meryl Streep of country: She took home four Country Music Association Awards last year and the Grammy Award for best country album for "Platinum" this year.

And at Sunday's ACM Awards, the native Texan won four awards and earned the 50th Anniversary Milestone Award.

"I was just proud in general of the show being here and kind of all the artists and fans got to see what we're all about in Texas," she said backstage. "That made me really happy. Like, my chest swelled up."

Every album Lambert has released, aside from her 2005 debut "Kerosene," has won the ACM Award for album of the year. This year was no exception, with "Platinum" taking the prize.

She also won her sixth consecutive female vocalist of the year Sunday and her third single record of the year (winning twice for the hit, "Automatic," once as a singer and once as a songwriter).

Lambert was on a red-hot winning streak — and she rocked a red-hot bustier when she performed "Little Red Wagon."

On the red carpet she wore a flowing, plunging dress, and inside the venue she donned white pants and a white top with a black sheer center.



Luke Bryan took home his second entertainer of the year award — but the singer says he's not jaded about winning.

"I don't think it's a time for me to be smooth. I don't think it's a time for me to be suave. I think it's a time for me to jump up and down and celebrate. These are the days," Bryan said backstage. "When I'm an old guy rocking in a rock chair, I'm going to go, 'You had a doggone good time.' And that's my approach."

Bryan first won the honor in 2013. He won the entertainer of the year award at the Country Music Association Awards in November.

Bryan was a double winner Sunday night: He also picked up the ACM for vocal event of the year for "This How We Roll" with Florida Georgia Line.

The country star performed and hosted the show, for a third year, with Blake Shelton.



Taylor Swift returned to her country roots at the ACM Awards and celebrated with her mother and father.

A video package highlighting her career and success played before Swift was awarded the 50th Anniversary Milestone Award, also given to Lambert, Strait, Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire and Kenny Chesney.

Swift's mother, who recently announced she is battling cancer, presented the award to her 25-year-old daughter with emotional words.

"I am a very proud mom," said Andrea Swift, who also called Swift "brave enough to explore her musical curiosity."

Taylor Swift thanked the country world for showing grace when she announced the release her first full-blown pop album, the top-selling "1989," last year.

"I am so happy I learned how to write songs in a town like Nashville," said Swift, who sat in the audience with her father, Scott Swift.



The 2015 ACM Awards featured just about every country act alive — from Randy Travis to Trisha Yearwood to Alabama.

But artists from other worlds joined in to party: Christina Aguilera sang with Rascal Flatts, and Nick Jonas, formerly of the Jonas Brothers trio, performed his recent hits "Jealous" and "Chains" with the country duo Dan + Shay.

Others worked as presenters, such as Steven Tyler, Kelly Clarkson, Reese Witherspoon, Sofia Vergara and Tony Romo, who played football with Bryan and Shelton.

"This isn't one of those deflated balls?" Shelton said after Bryan caught the ball, referencing the deflategate scandal earlier this year.