From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Oklahoma stars to shine at inaugural American Country Awards
The inaugural American Country Awards will be handed out amid the dazzling neon of the Las Vegas strip, but many of Oklahoma’s brightest stars in the genre are set to do the shining.
The fan-voted American Country Awards will air live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Vegas at 7 p.m. Monday on Fox. Fans can still vote for the top prize, artist of the year, through Saturday at www.theacas.com.
Several country music stars with Oklahoma ties are competing for, performing at or appearing on the first-ever American Country Awards.
Checotah native Carrie Underwood earned six nominations, including artist, female artist and touring artist of the year. Her hit “Cowboy Casanova” is up for top single and music video by a female artist, and her “Play On” is nominated for album of the year.
Miranda Lambert, who lives in Tishomingo, garnered five nominations, including artist, female artist and album of the year for “Revolution.” Her chart-topper “White Liar” got two nods, for best single and music video by a female artist.
Reba McEntire, who hails from Chockie, snared four nominations, including female artist and touring artist of the year for her superstar tour with George Strait. Her hit “Consider Me Gone” is nominated for top single and music video by a female artist.
Rascal Flatts, which includes Joe Don Rooney of Picher, got nods for duo/group and touring artist of the year, along with top single by a duo/group for the anthem “Unstoppable.”
Lambert’s fiance and fellow Tishomingo resident Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins share nominations for music video of the year and best video by a male artist for the mini-movie to their No. 1 duet “Hillbilly Bone.”
Recently split duo Brooks & Dunn, which includes former Tulsan Ronnie Dunn, received a nomination for touring artist of the year; the pair ended their two-decade musical partnership over the summer with their “Last Rodeo Tour.” Also nominated in the touring artist category is Norman resident Toby Keith.
Newcomer Easton Corbin and hot trio Lady Antebellum each earned a leading seven nominations.
In addition, Keith, Shelton, Rascal Flatts and Reba will perform on the new awards show, along with Corbin, Josh Turner, Steel Magnolia and Uncle Kracker. Adkins will perform and host the show, while Alan Jackson will play the event and receive the Greatest Hits Award.
The inaugural two-hour show also will feature appearances by Tulsa comedian Rodney Carrington, music stars Laura Bell Bundy, Jewel, Lady Antebellum and Bret Michaels; rodeo standout Ty Murray; comic/ventriloquist Jeff Dunham; and NASCAR drivers Michael Waltrip and Elliott Sadler.
Fox is billing the American Country Awards as the first country music awards show in which fans vote for the winners in both music and video categories, along with previously unrecognized areas of the business such as touring. The genre’s loyal fan base already voted for its favorite music videos for June’s CMT Music Awards, and they got to cast their ballots for the top award, entertainer of the year, at the venerable Academy of Country Music Awards in April.
To find the rationale behind the addition of another country music awards show, people probably need look no further than last month’s 44th Annual Country Music Association Awards, which emerged as the top-rated entertainment show of the week for ABC.