The 2015 ACM Awards: The Highs & Lows of a Boring & Weird Show

2015 ACM Awards

The 50th edition of the ACM Awards aired last night on CBS and it was many things. For starters it was quite long, as the show ran for three and a half hours. If you were watching live like me, it felt like six hours. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. But then again it was quite boring. A big part of it may have been the fact that the winners of the awards were pretty predictable and there wasn’t any suspense. There were several guests, with some of them adding to the show while others clearly hurt it (I’ll get to that here in a minute). The 2015 ACM Awards had some highs and many lows. We’ll start first with the highs. Before that though I just want to thank everyone again who followed along on the live blog and on Twitter last night. I had a blast talking about the show with all of you. Also welcome new readers! So without further ado let’s get to the fallout of the ACM Awards…

The Highs

  • George Strait’s Performance – King George went out on the stage and did what he always does: sing great country music. He performed a medley consisting of the classic “All My Exes Live in Texas” and his new single “Let It Go.” In addition to the great performance, he gave a classy speech in accepting his Milestone Award. Strait was awesome. Also I guarantee he high-tailed it out of there after this because I didn’t see him the rest of the show. Brad Paisley wanted him to join in on singing “Crushin’ It,” so that gave him more incentive to leave. Thank you, George.
  • Randy Travis Shout Out – Shortly after Strait, Lee Brice gave a very nice shout out to country music legend Randy Travis. The crowd gave him an ovation, which he full-heartedly deserves. He’s been battling numerous health problems over the last year and it was just great to see him.
  • Tony Romo Burns Blake Shelton – I’m not a big fan of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, but I like him a lot more after the burn he put on Blake Shelton. During a little back and forth Blake made a masturbation joke I believe. Romo uttered at him: “Blake, we’re the Dallas Cowboys, we have real balls.” In the words of Michael Scott, “Boom! Roasted!”
  • Martina McBride’s Performs “Independence Day” – The iconic McBride performed her mid-90s hit and sounded good despite terrible production work and being in a cavernous stadium. It just reminded me of how much I would like to hear her back on country radio again.
  • Dierks Bentley Performs “Riser” – It was satisfying to see Dierks Bentley perform this type of song on a big stage. It was also nice for the writer of the song Travis Meadows. Bentley is working on his new record right now, but I hope that “Riser” gets released as a single before the new record is released. Seeing it performed at the ACM Awards certainly gives me some hope.
  • Little Big Town Performs “Girl Crush” – As most country fans are aware, the group’s latest single has been talked about a lot in the past month for it’s “controversy.” I’m glad they performed it tonight and for anyone out there who still thinks this is a “lesbian” song, you’re an idiot. By the way it was a nice performance, as Fairchild’s vocals were spot on.
  • Reba’s Medley – While I didn’t like her most recent single, I thought her medley performance last night was great. While I would rather hear her sing a full song than a medley (another thing I’ll get to in a minute), I thought she nailed her performance. She really hit the high notes well.
  • Taylor Swift’s Milestone Award Speech – While I’m on record as being not a big fan of Taylor Swift’s work, I have come around on her since she has went pop. After listening to her speech accepting the Milestone Award that the CMA basically used to force her into appearing, I think I like her now. She handled such a weird situation with poise and grace. She thanked country music for giving her the start she needed to become a superstar and all of the fans for their support. Swift also reinforced that she has moved on to pop, but did it in a polite manner. It really painted her in a good light. Meanwhile it makes country music look like the ex who just can’t move on from the broken relationship.
  • Dwight Yoakam Being Dwight Yoakam – Just seeing him on the show was nice. Standing out there with duct tape next to faux outlaw artist Justin Moore, who somehow tore his skinny jeans, with a disinterested look was just icing on the cake. Can Yoakam host next year’s show?
  • Brooks & Dunn’s Performance – The last quality performance from the night came from the great 90s duo Brooks & Dunn, who reunited for the first time in a few years. They sounded just as good as ever and reminded me that they were once the ones dominating the duos awards instead of Florida Georgia Line. Simply put the “old people” kicked the younger performer’s asses tonight.

The Lows

  • Stop The Medleys! – Almost every performance throughout the show was a medley and it drove me absolutely nuts. It drove a lot of people nuts. Apparently since many in today’s world have such short attention spans, full songs weren’t to bothered with. George Strait’s medley was the only one where I could remember all of the songs in it because there were only two songs. The rest had so many songs that I couldn’t remember them all. It makes for pretty non-memorable performances.
  • The Production Value Was Terrible – As someone who is familiar with the workings of television production, I can tell you the 50th ACM Awards featured some of the worst production I’ve ever seen at a major awards show. The cameras were all over the place and people constantly couldn’t figure out where to look or they were off on their cues. It made for some awkward moments. Justin Moore looked completely lost. Steven Tyler was cut off. I will cut them some slack for the fact that the show was in the gigantic Cowboys Stadium, where a country awards show should never be done. It made performances sound much worse than they should have. Regardless if I were CBS I would take a good luck at the production team after that show.
  • The Merle Haggard “tribute” – The 2015 ACM Awards kicked off with a Merle Haggard tribute, performed by Eric Church and Keith Urban. This all seemed well enough and any time the Hag gets recognized is a good thing. The problem is the “tribute” sucked. Haggard wasn’t even at the show and he was only featured on the video behind Church and Urban for around ten seconds. I think Taylor Swift got more airtime during the tribute. To top it all off the tribute song was just a terrible rock song and name-dropped Haggard. It wasn’t even a Haggard song. This was a joke of a tribute.
  • Florida Georgia Line Performs “Sippin’ On Fire” – This went about how I expected it to go. It was terrible. The duo was even more off pitch than usual with the performance taking place in a stadium. Which leads me to ask why do people pay money to hear a concert from these two? You’re better off throwing money into a fire pit.
  • Miranda Lambert’s Domination – Now before you Miranda fans start to tear me a new one, let me explain. I’m not saying Lambert didn’t deserve to win her awards, as her Platinum album was one of the best in mainstream country last year. No, the problem is her winning everything at every award show. Ask any sports fan and they’ll tell you they hate it when a certain team dominates for years on end (unless you’re a fan of that team of course). It’s the same case here. It doesn’t look good for country music to have the same artist winning over and over. As they say variety is the spice of life. I have no problem with Lambert winning, but can somebody else win too?
  • Jason Aldean Performs a Medley – This was the kind of train wreck I expected coming into this show. After a minute of this in the background I had to hit mute. This could have passed as the bro country mashup.
  • Cole Swindell, Thomas Rhett & Sam Hunt Barely Sing; Suck Anyway – The three finalists for New Artist of the Year award all performed on the show. Thankfully they each sang only two or three lines from each of their latest respective hits. But they still managed to be among the worst of the show. Swindell is still bland as a loaf of white bread. Rhett is a black hole of charisma. Sam Hunt didn’t even sing, he just spoke “Take Your Time.” By the way I realized I shouldn’t have been surprised with Swindell winning. Many Bryan fans are Swindell fans and they almost all threw their massive support behind Swindell. Meanwhile Rhett doesn’t have nearly as big of a fan base and Hunt has pop fans who probably weren’t even aware that the ACM Awards aired last night.
  • The Lesser Known Artists Being Forced to Stand Next to a Truck – This was a sad and cruel joke. All of the second-rate artists just happy to be there were forced to stand next to a truck and deliver transition promos between commercials. I mean Big & Rich doing it was kind of funny. But Mickey Guyton being reduced to this instead of performing is a war crime.
  • Dan + Shay + Nick Jonas = Bad Music – I thankfully missed this performance because I was taking a bathroom break. Great timing, huh? By all accounts this was garbage and I’m not going to watch it to verify. In the comments section, let me know over or under two years Dan + Shay are gone from country music.
  • Terrible Guests That Added Nothing to the Show – Christina Aguilera, Steven Tyler and Dr. Phil were all on this show for some reason. Aguilera performed with Rascal Flatts, in one of the oddest pairings I thought I would never see and never wanted to see. She was only there to promote her appearance on the ABC show Nashville. Still the possibility of a country record is there and as much as I roll my eyes at this thought, I also realize it would be more country than a lot of other mainstream albums. Steven Tyler was barely thrown in towards the end, but what little he said didn’t catch people’s attention. It was his hideous pants. Take a look at them. I’m no fashion expert, but those belong in the garbage. Dr. Phil was the strangest guest appearance of the night. By the time he wondered onto the show I was pretty zoned out. I don’t know why he was there. Maybe some therapy after all of the medleys the audience had to sit through?

Overall I would give this show a C-. The veteran country artists and Taylor Swift of all people saved this show from being a complete waste. This show was also almost too boring to hate. I don’t think I’ll remember anything from this show and that’s bad news for the ACM Awards because this was a milestone show.

What did you think of it? What are your highs and lows? Sound off in the comments! 

37 thoughts on “The 2015 ACM Awards: The Highs & Lows of a Boring & Weird Show

  1. Clovis Mello April 20, 2015 / 10:08 am

    I pretty much agree with all of it, but I thought Martina sounded like she REALLY struggled. I’m going to assume she had a cold or something, because she was pitchy all over the place and struggled to hit any of the notes on the chorus. I was really surprised.

    I was encouraged by how many older songs they played during the show (Reba’s medley, George with “All My Exes Live in Texas”, Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You”, etc.). I was also turned off by the fact that they called whatever that was at the beginning of the show a “tribute” to Merle Haggard. Would have been nice to at least hear a Merle song.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judy Hicks April 20, 2015 / 3:08 pm

      My only highlight of the whole thing was seeing Scotty McCreery who can out sing all of the above on the red carpet. He was dressed wonderful, and he is a young man of such good morals and a country voice that is untouchable.

      Like

  2. Kevin Davis April 20, 2015 / 10:19 am

    The “tribute” to Merle was not only a joke — it was an insult. Whoever devised this “tribute” should be fired. Anyway, I agree with all of your pro’s and con’s. Strait, Dierks, and Jackson were the major highlights for me, plus the very emotional moment with Randy Travis. And LBT did a very good job with “Girl Crush,” one of the best vocal performances of the night (though that’s not saying much).

    I want to know who hired the legion of 30 year old women to sit in the front three rows? They were all attractive and knew the lyrics to each song.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott April 20, 2015 / 11:03 am

      Yes I would to like to know that too. Several others pointed this out last night, including Grady Smith. I wouldn’t be shocked if they were plants by some of the labels.

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      • Kevin Davis April 20, 2015 / 11:39 am

        Yeah, it looked planted to me.

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      • darkhornetlsu April 20, 2015 / 5:04 pm

        I definitely assumed they were plants.

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    • ron12274 April 20, 2015 / 11:40 am

      Yeah they kept showing the same group of women over and over again. I dvr’d the show and watched it in about an hour and basically skipped the end. Doesn’t sound like I missed much.

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  3. Derek Hudgin April 20, 2015 / 10:25 am

    CBS really dropped the ball on the production of this. When you have at least three people walk on stage and say “where do I look?” that’s a problem. Audio issues & pitch issues are quite common for these award shows (which is probably why many opt to lip sync), so I don’t complain too much in that department. But Steven Tyler wasn’t the only one cut off, so either the producers played music way too early, or no one gave a crap when the music played.

    One of my positives was no stupid, awkward monologue from Blake and Luke. Save for that dumb bit with Tony Romo, those two were rather subdued in hosting department.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Raymond April 20, 2015 / 10:48 am

    Positives
    Reba. I have to say Going Out Like That is pretty nice without the bombastic production
    LBT right now this song is number #2 all genre on the I-tunes chart
    George Strait Let It Go is awesome way too make Blake & Luke look like chimps.
    Taylor Swift. Part of me wish she would’ve been like yeah country music thanks but I’m done with country.
    Brooks & Dunn cause well come on
    Dwight Yoakam cause he’s just awesome made Justin Moore look like a moron
    Alan Jackson
    Martina McBride. Am I the only one who finds Fake Martina McBride hilarious

    Meh
    Rascal Flatts not bad and Christina has an amazing voice but overall just there.
    Blake’s performance was ok nothing bad nothing good
    Bad
    Dan + Shay. Why the heck do they get a performance slot and ZBB Maddie & Tae Kacey not get one.
    Miranda Lambert. Nice gal love to meet her but she’s said multiple times she wants others to win
    It was a crime Mickey Guyton Chris Young and Maddie & Tae had to be near a truck when they all could easy kick FGL Luke Bryan and Blake’s butts.
    Cole was intolerable
    Thomas sounded like Squidward
    Jason just No
    Miranda Little Red Wagon is on it’s way out of here girl promote a new song or else Carrie is rightfully gonna take the title.
    Brad Paisley
    The 2 Broke Girl connection is literally appearing in Lady A Downtown by that logic let’s bring Tony Hale who are we kidding he’d be awesome.
    Sipping On Fire is slowly growing on me but I’m remembered Maddie & Tae lost to them so yeah they might get a 4/10 but that’s it

    Overall a C-. I agree I turned off when Luke Bryan won cause he is someone I can’t stand him

    I heard an old song on the radio Little Texas What Might’ve Been what do you guys think of that song.

    Liked by 1 person

    • P-Applecakes July 18, 2015 / 10:18 am

      Why bother to watch the awards if you feel this way? Just to slam the show and the current artists on there? You know, obviously not everyone agrees with your opinion. Mainstream country today is very popular, and not just with the young crowd. I happen to love the diversity. I also have a collection of “old” country as many like to call it. Love that sound, too. Why do so many people insist on keeping country in a box? All you people who are slamming the current artists….. Why put yourself through the awfulness of the show? Save it for those of us who enjoy it! And furthermore, we don’t really appreciate the insinuation that those of us who do enjoy it are total idiots with no sense. Move on, people. I don’t really like where rock has gone (love the classics) but I don’t try to find any spot I can to slam it! Not really worth my time……

      Like

  5. Derek Hudgin April 20, 2015 / 1:03 pm

    Also, how hysterical was Thomas Rhett’s performance? With the dance moves, and even his suit look, it’s equal parts sad and funny how much he’s trying to be like Bruno Mars.

    Like

    • Josh Schott April 20, 2015 / 1:20 pm

      Yes! He’s trying so damn hard to be Bruno Mars, but he’s really just making himself out to be a bigger asshole. I bet Bruno gets a good laugh out of it while he’s counting all of the money he’s made off of “Uptown Funk.”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Fat Freddy's Cat April 20, 2015 / 2:50 pm

    Complaining about Miranda Lambert snagging all of the awards isn’t a slam on her; it’s a slam on the country music establishment that is ignoring other fine female artists. I’m not saying that they have to rig the awards to make somebody else win; just give the other ladies a shot at being heard on the radio and competing for the awards. I have no doubt that they’re up to it.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. kayparrish18 April 20, 2015 / 8:45 pm

    I agree with you on your review.Boy it really did not live up to the hype. The best performances were by the older country artists for sure. I get so tired of the same old people performing on every award show and I hate the combos with non country people . I would have loved to have seen Loretta Lynn and I would have loved Scotty McCreery to sing Conway Twitty Hello Darling you can see video of that on Opry site. I would have loved more tributes to the old and less of these so called country ppl singing like fgl

    Like

  8. Pete Marshall April 20, 2015 / 9:41 pm

    I watched 10 minutes of it with Taylor Swift speech. Thomas Rhett’s lame ass performance and Blake Shelton’s performance. I read who won first of all Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town are both extremely overrated.

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    • Raymond April 21, 2015 / 6:43 pm

      Miranda Lambert is overrated but Little Big Town is not by any stretch they’ve always struggled to break out for the latter part of like 10 years the fact that it took this long too finally have them become popular is strait up pathetic by every means. But what makes LBT not overrated and one of the top country acts in country music is of how they have four top notch vocalists and there isn’t one definite leader. Of course radio makes you believe otherwise and their latest album Pain Killer was pretty bland their deep album cuts before hand are amazing in Rich harmonies & production and lovely singing. So I don’t wanna hear for one second Little Big Town is overrated btw Pete can you maybe for future comments just do like longer comments cause you never exactly strike as interesting and come off as a boring commenter like a fake cookie-cutter account cause with this being the one exception you complain all the time about FGL Cole Sam Hunt Thomas Rhett don’t act like all mainstream acts are terrible they are some really good artists

      Good Day sir.

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      • Pete Marshall April 21, 2015 / 10:20 pm

        I apologize Raymond I like most of mainstream country artists like in the 80’s and 90’s and some in the 21st century. I also like Miranda Lambert but I don’t care about her last 2 singles. I like Little Big Town too and they are very good band, but they need to have more hits which they will. I like most of today’s mainstream artists like Zac Brown Band, Eric Church, Jake Owen, etc. Don’t get me wrong I like good country music since 1985. I don’t mean to upset you Raymond I am very sensitive.

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    • Raymond April 22, 2015 / 9:25 am

      I meant no disrespect is there any female acts you like in country music even groups that have females Lady A Gloriana The Band Perry any of them in mainstream

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      • Pete Marshall April 22, 2015 / 6:14 pm

        Yes I like most of country females like Trisha, Reba, Faith, Patty Loveless, and etc.. I like groups like Rascal Flatts, Lady A, Gloriana, Little Big Town, The Band Perry, even 80’s and 90’s band Restless Heart, Shenandoah, and etc. I want my comments to be interesting instead of my ranting.

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  9. dt4c April 20, 2015 / 10:05 pm

    Worst sound production I have ever heard on an awards show. They all sounded like idiots.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Vera Jackimek April 20, 2015 / 10:44 pm

    Josh, you hit the nail right on the head with your review. One thing I don’t understand, is why they never give Scotty McCreery a chance to show his amazing vocals on the ACM Awards. Or for that matter, some of the other young artist. It’s the same ones year after year! So disappointed!

    Like

    • Earlene Peshnak (@Epeshnak) April 20, 2015 / 11:31 pm

      I agree with you ,I love Scotty and he keeps being passed over all the time ,he has a lovely voice and it needs to be awarded for his talent ,HH gets in there all the time ,we need to have some of the new younger ones given a chance

      Like

  11. Donna April 21, 2015 / 12:56 am

    Terrible show I watched it to the end hoping it would get better. Still shaking my head today and trying to make sense of the show. Not watching it in the future!

    Like

  12. Bri April 21, 2015 / 6:27 am

    This review is spot on. As far as Taylor Swift is concerned… Her roots are country and so is her natural harmony, but she down right used country music as an outlet for her stardom. She didn’t deserve to be there and we all know that. As far a the extremely random selection of presenters, I think to myself… Are we that much of a dying breed? For crying out loud. I won’t even begin to point out how much a disaster the Dan Shay Jonas project is. Who enjoys pop ccountry? Why not support true southern artists like Blackberry smoke, Whiskey Meyers, and The Cadiallc Three… They’ve got some sh*t to talk about.

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  13. Pete Marshall April 21, 2015 / 6:26 pm

    I lost all my respect for both ACM and CMA awards show.

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  14. Lisandro Berry-Gaviria April 21, 2015 / 8:14 pm

    I am so sick of having to see pop artists perform at country awards shows. It’s not that I have anything against them but to hear pop music at an awards show that’s supposed to be for COUNTRY MUSIC is just stupid. Unfortunately, that shows you just how “pop” country is going.
    By the way, does anybody have any thoughts on how “I Don’t Dance” beat out both “Automatic” and “Dirt” for Single Record of the year?

    Like

    • Josh Schott April 21, 2015 / 8:18 pm

      Curb Records is the reason “I Don’t Dance” won won Single Record of the Year. Lee Brice is Curb’s last cash cow artist and Mike Curb has enough power to ensure that his top artist gets something at these awards shows. So chalk it up to politics and payola.

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      • Lisandro Berry-Gaviria April 21, 2015 / 9:02 pm

        Oh ok. This will probably come off as sounding stupid, but if an artist’s recording company can change the outcome of the contest solely through money, doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose of giving the award?

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        • Josh Schott April 21, 2015 / 9:15 pm

          Well I wouldn’t say it’s strictly money, but it’s just a lot of politics. Your question isn’t stupid at all. Of course this defeats the purpose of it. These awards shows are just glorified promotional vehicles now. The awards don’t mean much because they don’t give them to the artists that deserve to win the most. Sometimes it happens, but most of the time it doesn’t.

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      • Raymond April 22, 2015 / 9:28 am

        Hey Josh am I the only one who just was surprised by ACM win for vocal event FGL & Luke Bryan. You know this is just a theory but do you think the ACM and CMA awards now will purposefully avoid awarding Carrie Underwood I mean what does she have to do to win find the cure for cancer remove Miranda from the competition I mean what does she have to do its ridiculous now.

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  15. Danielle April 23, 2015 / 7:32 am

    No hate but, Tony Romo’s comment was most certainly not a slam on Blake Shelton, it was a slam on the Patriots. Shelton asked if they were deflated balls, referring to the Patriot’s deflategate.

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    • P-Applecakes July 18, 2015 / 10:24 am

      Exactly. Thank you for pointing that out. Some people will find a way to slam Blake where there is none. I don’t really get it. But, oh well…..

      Like

  16. Axxe July 15, 2015 / 6:37 am

    I used to like Martina McBride but that was awful AND it is the second time that she has struggled live as she was on a show here in the UK a few months back and could not hit any of the (recorded version) notes. Either it’s the botox or, at 48, her voice has gone. I’d be happy if I never had to endure another performance like that. Retire already.

    Like

  17. Acca Dacca July 17, 2015 / 11:43 pm

    I’m a little late, but how come Big & Rich standing next to the truck was funny? Sad funny because they were reduced to that, or did they make some sort of joke? Didn’t see it myself.

    Like

    • Josh Schott July 18, 2015 / 12:46 am

      Sad funny. They looked ridiculous being reduced to truck decorations.

      Like

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