The three-hour broadcast of the 48th Academy of Country Music Awards is over now, and the winners have been named and honored. At the top of that list is, of course, Luke Bryan, who walked away with Entertainer of the Year.
Luke’s win was certainly a highlight of the evening–he went knocked-over surprised to practically bawling on stage, and finally came round enough to give a speech thanking fans that was probably as genuine as anything an award winner has given to date. This kind of raw emotional reaction is of course exactly what country fans adore in their artists–and what sets this genre apart.
But Luke wasn’t the only one to show that degree of tearful sincerity during the show. Both Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert battled emotions as they accepted Record and Song of the Year awards for “Over You,” a song they wrote together and that Miranda recorded and turned into a Number One hit. The photo of them embracing on stage is one of the night’s most memorable.
As for the award, Miranda noted that “having your songs and lyrics be recognized by your peers is as good as it gets.” And she also made sure to give a shout out to country music as a whole, saying that she loves being a part of the genre because “every time someone gets nominated, I just cheer.”
You could see that love not only from fans but between artists all night long. Blake Shelton seemed truly excited that his cohost Luke Bryan won Entertainer of the Year, for instance (as did Shania Twain, who presented the award and practically had to hold Luke up when he accepted). Same goes for Jason Aldean’s win for Male Vocalist of the Year–the high fives he got as he took the stage, including the cheers from fellow nominee Eric Church, was impressive.
And speaking of Eric Church, while he wasn’t nominated for Entertainer of the Year, and didn’t win Male Vocalist, he did take home a trophy for Album of the Year for Chief, which is a plenty significant honor. He was handed the trophy by presenter John Fogerty, and noted that he couldn’t believe he just met the Creedence Clearwater Revival bandleader. “We should hang out later,” he said, probably only half joking.