ACM Awards kick off with energy and Chuck Berry tribute

ABC  CBS  Jim Smeal  BEI  Shutterstock

ABC CBS Jim Smeal BEI Shutterstock

Rhett spoke for the three of them, acknowledging his wife for whom he wrote the song.

- Male vocalist of the year: Thomas Rhett.

Miranda Lambert was a vision in white alongside boyfriend Anderson East. Lambert stepped out in a floor-length white gown that featured gold detail, and her beau went with a black suit and dress shoes.

The next on the ACM list of awards was for the Vocal Group of the Year that went to Little Big Town. Mr. Bryan and Mr. Bentley, two of Nashville's biggest stars, are hosting the show for the second year and know their job: Set a celebratory tone, keep the show moving and throw in a few not-too-mean jabs about fellow country stars during the monologue.

- New male vocalist of the year: Jon Pardi. FGL also won Vocal Event of the Year for "May We All", it song with Tim McGraw.

- Songwriter of the year: Lori McKenna.

Eagles guitarist and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Joe Walsh, who'd appeared early in the show performing "Johnny B. Goode" in tribute to the late Chuck Berry with hosts Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley, returned to announce the entertainer of the year victor. The trio performed "Johnny B. Goode" as audience members got out of their seats.

"For the man that influenced every form of music, including country", said Bryan of Berry, who died last month at age 90. The 2017 ACM nominees are led by Keith Urban who has seven nominations, followed by Miranda Lambert and Maren Morris, each with six; while Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line have five nominations. "I am so thankful".

The ACMs producers are well aware that not all country fans love cross-genre performances.

Through the magic of television, special effects changed Urban playing "Blue Ain't Your Color" into a blue on black-and-white performance before transitioning into full color for "The Fighter" with Underwood.

Miranda Lambert performed a simplified version of "Tin Man" while Rascal Flatts sang "Yours if You Want It".

Lambert began her wining streak in 2009 as the top female vocalist at the awards show and in 2016 she tied with Reba McEntire for the number of wins, according to E!

"Carrie can sing me under the table".

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