(from Billboard Magazine, April 7, 2013) The 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards took place Sunday, April 7 on CBS. The night proved to be one fine education in partying with Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton hosting the show. Blake Shelton opened with “Boys Round Here,” his latest single, and was accompanied by co-host Luke Bryan, also Sheryl Crow, the Pistol Annies, and Brad Paisley. With Shelton and Bryan never working with each other in that fashion before, the jokes didn’t hit quite the spot as they had the past few years. Shelton claimed the top joke of the night was when in introducing his wife Miranda Lambert, that “I saw her naked this morning,” eliciting a strong laugh from the audience.
Numerous artists performed throughout the night, many adding a new twist, or venturing out of their element. Eric Church toned down his performance style with an acoustic version of “Like Jesus Does.” Little Big Town’s “Your Side of the Bed” may have been the most emotionally charged moment in the night; it contained an incredible duet vocal between the husband-and-wife. Hall of Fame member, Reba McEntire, introduced George Strait and Garth Brooks to perform in honor of longtime show producer Dick Clark who passed away last April. The two were flawless with versions of iconic hits such as “Cowboy Rides Away” and “The Dance.”
Throughout the night the crowd and audience repeatedly applauded the deserving winners including Thompson Square who took home ACM Top Vocal Duo and New Artist of the Year. A few performances later Eric Church stole the spotlight for the ACM Album of the Year award while Miranda Lambert took home Female Vocalist of the Year. The Entertainer of the Year went home with co-host Luke Bryan. He embraced the stage with tears and after composing himself stated this, “I swear to God, every time I step on stage it’s a blessing for me to play to fans. This is the defining moment of my life and it means the world to me and I will never take it for granted.”