Brooks & Dunn Are ACM's Kings

By Tom Gardner
Associated Press
Wednesday, May 24, 2006

LAS VEGAS, May 23 Brooks & Dunn, the most honored artists in the history of the Academy of Country Music awards show, picked up a record 20th and 21st trophies Tuesday night.

The duo accepted the top vocal duo award plus the song of the year award, for the gospel-tinged "Believe," written by Craig Wiseman, co-writer of the 2005 song of the year, "Live Like You Were Dying."

Newcomer Carrie Underwood, last year's "American Idol" winner, was also a double winner, winning top new female vocalist and single of the year awards. The latter was for "Jesus Take the Wheel," which she performed on the show.

"I wouldn't be here if God hadn't opened all the doors for me," she told the audience.

Kenny Chesney won the award for entertainer of the year.

Brad Paisley, who led the list of nominations with six, got the award he said he wanted, winning album of the year for "Time Well Wasted." He shared vocal event of the year honors with Dolly Parton for "When I Get Where I'm Going."

Keith Urban was top male vocalist for a second year and Sara Evans captured her first ACM award, for top female vocalist.

Jason Aldean, whose song "Why" is No. 1 this week, was named top new male vocalist and Sugarland was honored as top new duo or vocal group.

Trace Adkins, dressed all in black -- from his cowboy hat to his leather suit -- added a Vegas touch to the program as he performed "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" while surrounded by shimmying showgirls.

His performance was preceded by a more traditional country salute to the nation's soldiers that brought many in the audience to their feet. Gretchen Wilson also paid tribute to the soldiers, the Bible, working men and other country traditions in the song "Politically Incorrect."

Reba McEntire, hosting the show for an eighth time, took a shot at the Dixie Chicks, who once criticized President Bush and are striking back at their critics with a new single, "Not Ready to Make Nice."

"I don't know why I was so nervous about hosting this show this year," she said. "If the Dixie Chicks can sing with their foot in their mouths, surely I can host this sucker."

This year's 41st annual ceremony, at the MGM Grand, aired on CBS against the performance portion of the "American Idol" finale on Fox.

The (Nashville) Tennessean reported Tuesday that the academy wants to move its awards show to April to escape the conflict with TV's top-rated show. The size of the "Idol" audience has dwarfed that for the awards show the past three years.

The 3,000 members of the academy select the nominees and winners.

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