Miranda Lambert performs at the ACMs in between winning trophies. ( Cooper Neill/Getty Images for dcp)

The Academy of Country Music Awards — so many mysteries. We do not know why Miranda Lambert continues to be an unstoppable force at country award shows. Or why Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan were the hosts, but didn’t really do much. Or why no one told the winners which way they were supposed to face the camera when they got on the circular stage at AT&T Stadium.

[Are country music award shows obsessed with Miranda Lambert? Look at the numbers.]

As usual, winners were essentially an afterthought; after all, music award shows are basically three-and-a-half hour concerts. Lambert had four wins, the most of anyone, including Female Vocalist of the Year; Album of the Year for “Platinum”; and Song of the Year for “Automatic.” It was an identical situation to the CMA Awards last fall: She swept the trophies, but Luke Bryan walked away with Entertainer of the Year, the biggest prize. See the complete list of winners below, including Jason Aldean for Male Vocalist; Little Big Town for Vocal Group; Florida Georgia Line for Vocal Duo; and Cole Swindell for Best New Artist.

Anyway, here are some of the best and worst moments from the very long broadcast. Oh, one thing we do know — you’ll want to read down to the end of this post to see a picture of Steven Tyler’s pants.


* Tribute to Merle Haggard.

This was the 50th anniversary of the ACMs, so the show made sure to give shout-outs to classic country acts. Eric Church and Keith Urban kicked off the extravaganza with a performance of Church’s song “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag.” The pair segued right into Urban’s latest single, “Raise ‘Em Up,” which features Church. It’s great if you can forget how certain parts sound nearly exactly like Urban’s “Somebody Like You.”

[Who’s that bro? A complete guide to the dudes of country music.]

* Taylor Swift rocking out to Martina McBride’s “Independence Day.”

[How Taylor Swift really, truly said goodbye to country music at the ACM Awards]

* Reba, Garth Brooks and George Strait.

All three legendary acts were on hand to receive Milestone Awards. Strait looked delighted to revisit “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” again. Reba brought the house down with a medley that included “Fancy” and her latest single, “Going Out Like That.” It was hard not to get swept up in Garth Brooks’s “All-American Kid” as members of the military marched in to join him.

* Tony Romo being a good sport and making a “DeflateGate” joke (1:27):

* Brad Paisley’s guitar skills during “Crushin’ It.”

It’s just refreshing.

* Brooks & Dunn singing “My Maria.”

The duo split up years ago, but as the group with the most wins in ACM history, they reunited to accept a Milestone Award and closed the show with an old favorite.

Kix Brooks, left, and Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn . (Ethan Miller/Getty Images for dcp)

* Beth Behrs and Brett Eldredge singing a few lines of “Gentle on My Mind.”

Did not think a cameo from the “2 Broke Girls” actress would make this part of the list, but it turned into a sweet shout-out to Alzheimer’s-stricken Glen Campbell.

* Seeing all the country stars sing along in the crowd to Alan Jackson’s very emotional “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).”

The song, as usual, was riveting. Were those tears streaming down Jason Aldean’s face?


* Troy Aikman introducing Alan Jackson. 

Through no fault of his own, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback walked into an uncomfortable TV moment. He arrived on stage to thrilled screams from fans in the stadium — so as he started to deliver some scripted lines about the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, there were some awkwardly prolonged cheers before everyone realized what he was talking about. The audience finally quieted so Aikman could properly introduce Alan Jackson.

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 19: Singer Sam Hunt performs onstage during the 50th Academy Of Country Music Awards at AT&T Stadium on April 19, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for dcp) Singer Sam Hunt performs (Ethan Miller/Getty Images for dcp)

* The direction.

Yes, directing a massive award show at a ginormous stadium is a complicated job… which is why it was so surprising that certain parts were a mess. Award winners arrived on stage to accept their trophies and had no idea where to look, so they just started talking, forcing the cameras to scramble and find them. The cameras also seemed to be at least several steps behind Sam Hunt, who did a walk-and-sing as he performed his single “Take Your Time.” Not to mention that the producers zoomed in on Taylor Swift instead of Brooks & Dunn when the announcer was reading the nominees for the Milestone Award — Ronnie Dunn, sitting behind Swift, did not look pleased.

* Christina Aguilera (with Rascal Flatts) and Nick Jonas (with Dan + Shay) crashing the ceremony. 

Sure, Aguilera’s got great chops and the mash-up of Jonas’s “Chains” and Dan + Shay’s “Nothin’ Like You” was weirdly catchy. But really, at an award show of this size, there’s no need for pop artists to crash the party just to promote a guest arc on “Nashville” or a new single for your fledgling solo career.

* Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler (who has a country album in the works) wore some pants.

Musician Steven Tyler of Aerosmith attends the 50th Academy Of Country Music Awards (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)


Complete list of winners:

Jason Aldean
Garth Brooks
Luke Bryan **winner**
Miranda Lambert
Florida Georgia Line

Jason Aldean **winner**
Dierks Bentley
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Brad Paisley
Blake Shelton

Brandy Clark
Miranda Lambert **winner**
Martina McBride
Kacey Musgraves
Carrie Underwood

Sam Hunt
Thomas Rhett
Cole Swindell **winner**

Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line **winner**
Maddie & Tae
The Swon Brothers

Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town **winner**
Rascal Flatts
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band

“Old Boots, New Dirt” – Jason Aldean
“Pain Killer” – Little Big Town
“Platinum” – Miranda Lambert **winner**
“Riser” – Dierks Bentley
“The Outsiders” – Eric Church

“American Kids” – Kenny Chesney
“Automatic” – Miranda Lambert
“Dirt” – Florida Georgia Line
“Drunk On A Plane” – Dierks Bentley
“I Don’t Dance” – Lee Brice **winner**

“American Kids” – Kenny Chesney (written by Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally)
“Automatic” – Miranda Lambert (written by Lambert, Nicolle Galyon and Natalie Hemby) **winner**
“Drink a Beer” – Luke Bryan (written by Jim Beavers and Chris Stapleton)
“Follow Your Arrow” – Kacey Musgraves (written by Musgraves, Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally)
“Give Me Back My Hometown” – Eric Church (written by Church and Luke Laird)
“I Hold On” – Dierks Bentley (written by Bentley and Brett James)

“Lonely Tonight” – Blake Shelton feat. Ashley Monroe
“Meanwhile Back At Mama’s” – Tim McGraw feat. Faith Hill
“Somethin’ Bad” – Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood
“The South” – The Cadillac Three feat. Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley and Mike Eli
“This Is How We Roll” – Florida Georgia Line feat. Luke Bryan **winner**

“American Kids” – Kenny Chesney
“Cop Car” – Keith Urban
“Drunk On A Plane” – Dierks Bentley **winner**
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” – Glen Campbell
“Somethin’ Bad” – Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood


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