Charlie Daniels, John Fogerty, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood kicked off the 45th annual Academy of Country Music Awards show last night in Las Vegas with a lively rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Travelin’ Band.”
Underwood would later make history as the former American Idol winner became the first female to ever win Entertainer of the Year twice.
Paisley, who also performed his single “Water,” was another big winner of the night, taking home Top Male Vocalist of the Year for the fourth consecutive year. He’s the only artist to ever win three or more consecutive honors in this category.
Brooks & Dunn entertained the MGM Grand crowd with “My Maria,” a song selected by online fan voting for what looks to be their last-ever ACM performance. The duo announced last August that their 2010 “The Last Rodeo” tour would mark the end of their 20 years together.
Shortly after their live performance, Brooks & Dunn returned to the stage to pick up the Top Vocal Duo award, bringing their ACM trophy total to 27, the most of any artist in Academy history.
“What an amazing 20 years we’ve had, thanks to you,” Brooks said to the audience.
“We are currently in therapy with Brett Favre trying to figure out how to waffle on this,” Brooks joked. “It’s very touchy, very difficult, very sensitive.”
Favre wasn’t the only superstar athlete to be the butt of a joke as host Reba McEntire referenced golfer Tiger Woods.
“We’ve had a great year in country music,” she said. “Lots of songs about cowboy Casanovas, white liars and two-timin’ men — and I’d like to thank Jesse James and Tiger Woods for inspiring us all.”
But on a kinder note, Brooks & Dunn expressed their gratitude to all who’ve supported them over the years.
“The fans of country music, we’re going to be out there all this year, saying thank you. We hope you’ll come party with us because you’ve given us the dream that every country music singer and musician dreams of. … It’s just been a wonderful, amazing, incredible dream experience.”
Other big winners included Miranda Lambert, who won Top Female Vocalist and Album of the Year, and Lady Antebellum, who led the evening with five trophy wins.
More than 20 acts performed at the show, including one of our favorite Fender artists, Dierks Bentley, who joined Jack Ingram for his single “Barbie Doll.”