While Sunday night’s ACM Awards may have belonged to big winner Miranda Lambert, it was the performances, which ranged from sweet to just plain strange, that stole the show. Here are the four Academy of Country Music Award moments we found most memorable.
Most Adorable: While Lambert walked away with several of the ACM top prizes, Taylor Swift — never one to be underestimated at awards shows — snagged the entertainer of the year trophy. She also got so cutesy it almost hurt during her performance of “Mean,” which found her strumming a banjo on the front porch of a faux house that looked a lot like the one where Navin P. Johnson was raised in “The Jerk.”
Runner-up in this category goes to the sibling trio the Band Perry, who lost cute points for the depressing nature of their song, “If I Die Young.”
Biggest “Huh?” Moment: Rihanna — yes, that redheaded pop diva, the one we associate with umbrellas — performed her new single “California King” with Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles. While the motivation for bringing an A-list singer like Rihanna to the ACMs isn’t hard to understand, the performance stuck out like a sore thumb. What’s next? Academy Award-winning actresses singing country? Wait, never mind.
Oddest couple: While the strangeness of the Rihanna-Nettles pairing could not be matched, the “Walk This Way” duet, which paired Carrie Underwood with Steven Tyler, wasn’t easy to watch either. The performance reached peak weirdness when Tyler unsuccessfully tried to kiss the married Underwood onstage. Somewhere, Rev. Run was undoubtedly praying that God would forgive this abominable attempt to re-create the Run DMC/Aerosmith classic.
Most heartwarming: Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish fame has made a smooth transition from ’90s nostalgia act to successful country singer. And he’s using his crooning for good. Last night Rucker and 25 developmentally disabled adults performed “Music from the Heart,” which they wrote together during the ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp. We never thought Hootie would make us say, “Awww...” but then again, we never thought we’d see Carrie Underwood attempt to sing “Walk This Way.”