The fans have spoken and it was Jason Aldean who walked away the big winner at the American Country Awards. Jason picked up no less than six Fender guitars at country music’s only fan-voted awards, including the top prize for Artist of the Year. Jason also picked up trophies for Male Artist of the Year, Touring Headline Package of the Year, Single of the Year: Vocal Collaboration for “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson and Album of the Year for My Kinda Party.
“This is a little ridiculous now,” Jason said as he accepted the Artist of the Year award. “It’s been a crazy year and so many people to thank. I could stand up here for an hour and thank everyone I needed to… my band, everybody who plays on my records, my crew out on the road, the fans for coming to my show. It’s definitely ‘My Kinda Party.’ Thank you so much!”
Also winning big on the night were last year’s six-time winner Carrie Underwood, and first-time winner Thompson Square. Both acts took home three guitars each. Carrie’s “Mama’s Song” was named Single of the Year: Female and Music Video of the Year. She also picked up the award for Artist of the Year: Female.
“Everybody at the fan club, you guys vote like crazy and support all of us and we thank God for you every single day of our lives,” Carrie said as she accepted her guitar. “Thanks to my family and friends and Mike, I love you and miss you! His teammates are going to make fun of him for that. Sorry babe. I have got an amazing 2012 planned for all of you. We’re going to have a lot of fun. Thanks so much!”
Thompson Square picked up Single of the Year: Group, Single by a New Artist and Video by a New Artist for “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not.” The duo also performed their No. 1 hit during the show. “Whoa, you guys, thank you so much,” Keifer Thompson said while accepting Single of the Year by a Group. “This is the first time we’ve ever won anything, so please be patient.”
Co-hosted by Kristin Chenoweth and Trace Adkins who peppered the night of performances and awards with hysterical skits and commentary as well as their own performances, the ACAs counted down the Top 10 Artists of the Decade throughout the show. The list included names like Brad Paisley, Garth Brooks and Keith Urban but it was Toby Keith who picked up the ACA for Artist of the Decade.
“Thank you very much,” he said. “Hell, anybody can have a good decade, right? As long as the fans keep coming. I want to thank the fans. You guys keep us out on the road and keep requesting our stuff and keep us in business. We’ve had a great decade and I hope we have another one. I’m ready to party in Vegas!” Toby closed down the ACAs with a rousing rendition of his latest single, “Red Solo Cup.”
Alabama took home the guitar for the Greatest Hits Award. The band, who performed a medley of their hits, “Tennessee River,” “If You’re Gonna Play In Texas” and “Mountain Music” during the show, are planning a comeback in 2012. “I’m just so proud that we get a chance to share this with our fans all around the world that have been so great to us all these years,” Randy Owen said. “And tonight we share this wonderful freedom to play our music because of those great men and women all over the world that are serving our country. I thank you. God bless.”
Blake Shelton delivered one of the most memorable performances of the night. He performed his recent No. 1, “God Gave Me You,” which the audience, including wife Miranda Lambert, sang back to him. At one point, Blake, who dedicated one of his two wins to his father, who is hospitalized with pneumonia, stepped away from the microphone, moved by the power of the ballad. At the end of his performance, he took a gracious, emotion-filled bow.
The American Country Awards aired live from Las Vegas on FOX. Tune in to GAC’s Top 20 Country Countdown on December 9 at 8/7 CT for all the action from the red carpet and backstage! Check out our complete coverage from the ACAs! >>
American Country Award Winners
Artist of the Year
Artist of the Year: Male
Artist of the Year: Female
Artist of the Year: Group
Artist of the Year: Breakthrough Artist
Artist of the Year: New Artist