April 4, 2011

46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards

The 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards again emptied its trophy case at the MGM Grand Garden Arena tonight. About 10,000 fans, a slightly shrunken capacity because of the big stage needed for the CBS broadcast, took in a 3 hour show stuffed with awards voted on by fans weighing in on text messages.

The unfailingly radiant Taylor Swift won the night’s biggest honor, Entertainer of the Year. Miranda Lambert was voted Female Vocalist of the Year, and Brad Paisley was Male Vocalist of the Year.

Taylor Swift receives the Entertainer of the Year award from presenter Ryan Seacrest during the 46th annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Sunday, April 3, 2011.

The broadcast toggled between the main stage at MGM Grand and the Fan Jam at Mandalay Bay Events Center, where the show was simulcast. The show was tape delayed for West Coast viewers.

Though a dozen awards were dished during the show, we offer even more. Those categories that didn’t make the final broadcast:

Exudation of Self Confidence Award: To first-time co-host Blake Shelton. He owned the stage, or at least leased it. In introducing his soon-to-be-bride Lambert as “the wedding planner. Me, I don’t plan. I just do this.” Then he began peeling bills from a stack of cash and tossing them to the floor. Then he threw the whole pile toward her and cried, “Just take it! Take it all!” Shelton is a born performer.

The Admission of Regret Award: To Paisley, when asked at the post-show news conference if his upcoming album features George Jones on vocals, answered, “No. George isn’t on it. But, thanks for making me feel inadequate about it now.”

Starting at Outside Linebacker for the Tennessee Titans Award: To Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry.

Best Use of a Stale Reference Award: To Shelton. As co-host Reba McEntire introduced Swift, she invoked Swift’s breakup in January with Jake Gyllenhaal and asked, “What was Jake Gyllenhaal thinking?” Shelton answered, “Well, he was in ‘Brokeback Mountain.’ ” Sparked were references to Gyllenhaal’s role in “City Slickers.”

Best Non Specific Plug Award: To Brad Garrett, who in a recorded segment was cast as the driver who hauled Shelton and McEntire from the Grand Garden Arena to Mandalay Bay Events Center. “I have a comedy club in town, so I know my way around,” he said, not noting

Strange But True Resemblance Award: To Lambert, who, from a fair distance while onstage, looked something like Angel Porrino of “Peepshow” and “Holly’s World.”

Conspiracy Theory Award: To Paisley, upon winning his fifth Male Vocalist of the Year Award by saying, “I am genuinely shocked. I don’t know who paid off whom.”

Sticking By His Image Award: To the nattily suited Ryan Seacrest, whom you will never catch wearing anything by Wrangler or, if you will, Cinch.

Country Authenticity Award: Alan Jackson. He introduced the performance of “Colder Weather” and “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor and the Zac Brown Band by striding onstage like he just stepped off a stagecoach.

Artist Who Was Missed Award (Singer/Songwriter Division): To Garth Brooks. A Strip headliner at the Wynn and veritable country music legend still in his performing prime was seen only in a clip from 1997, performing “For Your Love” with Keith Urban, Chris LeDoux and Charlie Daniels.

Artist Who Was Missed Award: To Carrot Top, who has for years joked about his strange resemblance to McEntire. It would have been a TV moment for all time to have him join her onstage.

Strip Ambassadorship Award: To Celine Dion and Donny & Marie. Dion introduced McEntire and Shelton as the show started. Donny & Marie presented Lady Antebellum with the Top Vocal Group award. Naturally, of the three, only one is a little bit country.

Performance You Would Not Expect at Any Country Music Awards Show: To Carrie Underwood and Steven Tyler, an unannounced addition to the show who scrambled onstage for a bounding version of “Walk This Way.” It was fun. It was rowdy. It also was about as country as a set by Sin City Sinners.

The Wardrobe Decision That Most Reminds of the Mullet Award: To the handful of guys who sported tuxedoed tops and blue-jean bottoms. That’s business on the top, party on the bottom.

Name of the Night: To concession staffer Antal Papp.

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