The days of country music being about songs such as “My Wife’s Married, But I’m Not” are in the dim and distant past. Especially if Sunday night’s Academy of Country Music Awards is anything to go by.
Is country the new rock ‘n’ roll? Quite possibly. Because in addition to some household names like Miranda Lambert (four ACM’s), Taylor Swift (Entertainer of the Year), Gwyneth Paltrow (Country Strong won the Tex Ritter Award for films that emphasize country music) and Lady Antebellum (Top Vocal Group, Album of the Year), the night will be remembered for the positively blistering live performances, which seemed to take a leaf out of the Grammy book.
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The highlight must have been Carrie Underwood and Steven Tyler — American Idol‘s past and present if you will — teaming up for the Aerosmith and Run DMC classic “Walk This Way,” (as well as Underwood’s “Undo It”) with the image of Underwood screaming the song’s iconic chorus into a microphone with a glittery whip on the end staying with NewsFeed for quite some time.
And what about Rihanna? You might have thought she must have been lost, turning up at the ceremony at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. But no, she teamed up with Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles on Ri’s new single, “California King Bed.” Meanwhile, Zac Brown was joined by the folk pop icon James Taylor (ask your parents) for an impressive medley of “Colder Weather” and “Sweet Baby James.”
Back to the actual awards and it looked like the night would belong to Lambert, who had already won Best Female Vocalist, and Single, Song and Video of the Year for “The House That Built Me.” But the fan-voted Entertainer of the Year went to Swift, who, at 21, became the the youngest-ever winner. “I’m just losing my mind,” said a teary Swift. “The fact that this is from the fans makes it so beautiful … You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. Ever.”
And Swift managed to speak without needing to worry about being interrupted by Kanye West, After all, the ACM’s aren’t that rock ‘n’ roll. Yet. (via Variety)
(More on TIME.com: See pictures of Taylor Swift)