Lainey Wilson wins “Triple Crown” at ACM Awards in Frisco

The 59th Academy of Country Music Awards took place Thursday night at the Dallas Cowboys practice facility, and the competition was both competitive and friendly.

This week, Music Row moves to suburban Dallas to celebrate this massive and growing music genre with fans. (Beyoncé will be eligible for a nomination next year, for those paying attention.) Country music stars put on plenty of performances and had big wins — and many of them, like the Cowboys, also squeezed A full stadium experience.

Lainey Wilson took home the night’s most coveted award – Entertainer of the Year – for the first time. She received a total of five nominations, and with this victory, she won what the ACM calls the “Triple Crown,” winning multiple awards for Female Artist of the Year and 2021 New Female Artist of the Year.

“I remember when I was a little girl, I would climb out of the roof and see planes flying over our little town of 200 people,” Wilson said through tears as she accepted her third award. “I dreamed of getting there on one of those planes. I still feel like that little girl.

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Wilson also won Female Artist of the Year for the second consecutive year, while Chris Stapleton won Male Artist of the Year for the fifth time and Album of the Year. Wilson had the most wins of the night, winning three trophies. Cody Johnson, the most nominated Texas artist of the night, left empty-handed. Luke Combs was unable to attend the show, but as the night’s most-nominated artist, he only picked up one award: for his cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” Single of the Year Award.

This is the third time country music’s oldest awards show has come to North Texas and the second time it’s being held at The Star in Frisco. Each time, though, it’s been tied to the Dallas Cowboys: In 2015, the show was held at AT&T Stadium.

Reba McEntire, winner of 16 ACM Awards in her decades-long career, is hosting for the 17th time. She last hosted the awards show in 2019, which was held in Las Vegas.

The show opened with Wilson, the soon-to-be 10th ACM Award winner, performing a full cover of Little Texas’ “God Blessed Texas,” followed by her latest single, “Hang Tight Honey.” She wore her signature flared pants, this time in bright red leather.

McEntire’s opening monologue followed, which included a number of quips about the 69-year-old entertainer’s age. She explained that she won her first ACM Award 40 years ago. “I know what you’re thinking,” McEntire said. “Reba, you’re 39 years old.” At the time, she explained, “Luke was one of the evangelical guys, not half of the country music industry, and Stagecoach was the way I worked.”

But her introduction wasn’t all jokes. “Country music is going to be so important in 2024, there’s room for everyone,” McEntire concluded. “We’re here to talk about country music and how everyone is invited and welcomed to the annual country music party.”

Texas artists had a prominent presence at the awards show, if not among the winners. Rapper and singer Post Malone performed at the ACMs for the first time, opening up with a brand new song that he said “no one” has heard before and performing his single “I Had Some Help.”

Malone paid homage to his North Texas roots during his performance, putting the pedal steel front and center and wearing a Dak Prescott jersey. His entire band also wore Cowboys jerseys, a nod to the venue and Malone’s father’s long history with the organization. Later, he and Reba performed an impromptu duet with Dickey Betts and sang the Allman Brothers’ “Ramblin’ Man” acapella.

Reba McEntire (L) and Post Malone perform “Ramblin’ Man” during the 59th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the Ford Center on Thursday, May 16, 2024 in Frisco, Texas.(Chris Pizzero/Chris Pizzero/Invision/AP)

The state was well represented by other Texas artists on the show: Cody Johnson performed a stripped-down, punchy version of his song “Dirt Cheap,” Parker McCollum Parker McCollum performed an intimate version of his hit song “Burn It Down,” and Miranda Lambert performed her new single “Wranglers,” wearing a glamorous western outfit from a bejeweled cowboy hat to silver fringed pants and cowboy boots.

The late Charley Pride’s widow, Rozene, and son, Dion, were on hand to honor the legendary singer, who spent most of his life in Dallas. Despite being nominated for the ACM Awards 16 times, Pride has never won an award, although he won the show’s Vanguard Award in 1994. Plenty of room,'” Dionne said.

Kelsea Ballerini and Noah Kahan gave one of the most anticipated performances of the night, performing her song “Mountain With A View” as a low-key acoustic duet ” and his song “Stick Season.” Country upstart Nate Smith’s duet with pop-rock star Avril Lavigne continues that fusion of genres, performing Smith’s country hit “Bulletproof.”

There were a few more surprises: Pop superstar Dua Lipa sang with Chris Stapleton on his song “Think I’m In Love With You,” and the two won a house Standing ovation.

Kane Brown sang a perfect, church-colored version of “Georgia on My Mind,” paying homage to Ray Charles and the state where he spent much of his youth.

Nate Smith (L) and Avril Lavigne perform “Bulletproof” during the 59th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the Ford Center in Frisco, Texas, on Thursday, May 16, 2024.(Chris Pizzero/Chris Pizzero/Invision/AP)

The night’s most pointed satire came with some musical impersonations to soften the blow, as Ashley McBride and actor Noah Reid improvised on topics including Morgan Wallen’s latest legal saga and the lack of female nominations at the ACM Awards .

One star’s absence stands out. “Toby was a big star in every way,” Blake Shelton said, explaining that as a “fellow Okie” he was asked to introduce the night’s tribute to Toby Keith. “He was a true straight shooter until the end of his courageous journey ended too soon.”

Three-time ACM Entertainer of the Year winner Jason Aldean then sang Keith’s hit single “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” to the chorus of much of the Ford Center crowd. In memory of the late singer-songwriter. McEntire also nodded to her fellow Oklahomans during her monologue, telling Keith “happy trails until we meet again.”

Other winners include Dan and Shay (Duo of the Year) and Old Dominion (Group of the Year), who have now won the category seven times in a row.

McEntire closed the show by launching a new single, “I Can’t,” backed by a full choir and a wall of fire, then said she had agreed to host next year’s ACM Awards.

Dan and Shea’s Shea Mooney said it best when accepting the trophy: “God bless Reba McEntire.”

Rozene Cohran (left) and Dion Pride present the Album of the Year award during the 59th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the Ford Center in Frisco, Texas, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Chris Pizzero/Chris Pizzero/Invision/AP)

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