Frisco, Texas (AP) — Rainie Wilson Seen all over the Academy of Country Music Awardscollected four trophies on the night Chris Stapleton won the honor of Entertainer of the Year.
Wilson performed for the second time in a row on Thursday and delivered a heartfelt speech after winning, placing him behind other winners and country music legends.
She won Album of the Year for “Bell Bottom Country,” but received the honor with a slight gasp after performing “Grease.”
Wilson called the album “a labor of love” and said he wrote 300 songs during the pandemic. She said people often tell her how much this album means to their lives, and she said that writing it “saved me”.
Co-host Dolly Parton handed her the trophy when she won Female Artist of the Year. “First, she can’t believe she just met Dolly Parton,” Wilson said.
She celebrated the female artists who came before her and the sacrifices they made. “I’m here because of you. It’s because people like Dolly Parton paved the way.”
“For the little girls watching this, it’s a symbol of hard work,” Wilson said, touching the trophy. “If you want to be a dreamer, be a doer.”
Stapleton dominated the stage at the end of the night, earning the ACM’s highest honor.
“I’m really shocked,” Stapleton said. “I don’t deserve this by any standard imaginable…I never thought I was the person to win this award.”
He dedicated the award to his children at home, who said their careers have cost them a lot of time with him and his wife.
It was not uncommon for the performance-heavy show to have choking moments. Cole Swindell won the first award of the night, Song of the Year, for “She Had Me at Heads Carolina.” He had just performed the song with Joe Dee Messina.
Swindell later won Single of the Year for the same song. “Thank you country music fans, that’s all I’ve ever felt,” he said. “I don’t know what I did to get this good luck.”
Singer-songwriter HARDY enters the show as frontrunner and collected four awards. The duet song “Wait at the Truck” with Wilson, who was a candidate for second place, won the Music Event Award.
“Thank you, Rainie, you definitely killed it,” said Hardy. He believed she was the one who made people believe her song about domestic violence and revenge.
“This was a song about real life,” Wilson said. “I didn’t want people to relate to this song, but a lot of people do.”
Old Dominion frontman Matthew Ramsey has used the band’s Group of the Year award to address recent discord and gun violence. He noted the show’s party vibe, but also acknowledged that “there are people in the world who are obviously hurting right now and are thinking about how they make sense of discord, shootings, etc.” Told.
Ramsey continued, “We are most proud to be able to make music for people who are hurting right now. Thank you for allowing me to do that.”
Garth Brooks and Parton hosted the two-hour ceremony, which was streamed live on Amazon Prime from the star’s Ford Center in Frisco.
A light joke at Brooks’ first hosting gig, Parton relayed the show’s early moments. Parton closed the show with a performance of songs from her upcoming Rock album.
Afterwards, the routine included a video conference with Willie Nelson to wish him a happy birthday. The country legend recently turned 90, and ACM honored him with a performance of Nelson and Waylon Jennings’ hit “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys” (Cody Johnson).
The show opened with a performance of the song “Texas Time” by Keith Urban, befitting the location of the show.
Texas references and celebrities appeared throughout the show. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith presented the first award.
Hardy was also nominated as a songwriter for Morgan Warren’s “Sand in my Boots.” The country’s superstar was unable to perform as planned due to a vocal cord injury, which interrupted his tour and was absent when he won the Best Male Artist award. Brooks took off his hat in honor of Warren, saying that his absence from the show “must kill him.”
Hayley Witters and Zach Bryan won Best New Artist.