Shared from the 2017-04-03 Chattanooga eEdition

CeLeBriTies | MOVies | TV | MUsiC enTerTAinMenT news ACADeMY OF COUnTrY MUsiC AwArDs

Country music rocks in Las Vegas

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ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTOS

Joe Walsh, left, and Dierks Bentley perform “Johnny B. Goode” at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday in Las Vegas.

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Above: Nicole Kidman, left, and Keith Urban arrive at the Academy of Country Music Awards.

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At right: Country artists Kane Brown

The Academy of Country Music Awards kicked off with six separate performances full of energy, including a tribute to Chuck Berry featuring Joe Walsh, Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley.

The trio performed “Johnny B. Goode” at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas as audience members got out of their seats Sunday to sing and dance along.

“For the man that influenced every form of music, including country,” said Bryan of Berry, who died last month.

Before that, the nominees for entertainer of the year — Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban and Florida Georgia Line — started the show with performances of their recent hits.

Aldean won entertainer of the year last year.

Later in the show, Urban sang the soulful “Blue Ain’t Your Color” with a throwback, black-and-white vibe, while the back of the stage was smoky and bright blue. As he switched to the upbeat, disco-flavored “The Fighter” — where he was joined by Underwood — the camera focused on his actress-wife Nicole Kidman, who sang and danced along.

Miranda Lambert also had a top-notch performance: She earned a standing ovation after she sang the slow, acoustic- sounding “Tin Man.”

Sam Hunt performed his No. 1 hit, “Body Like a Back Road,” and he went into the audience to sit next to his fiancée to sing the song. The show was expected to feature a number of other A-list performances, including the Backstreet Boys with Florida Georgia Line, Chris Stapleton, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.

Earlier winners announced before Sunday’s show included two wins for Florida Georgia Line: single record of the year with “H.O.L.Y.” and vocal event of the year for “May We All” with McGraw.

Urban, who had success with his genre-bending, Grammy-nominated album “Ripcord,” is the top nominee with seven. He will compete for album of the year, song of the year with “Blue Ain’t Your Color” and male vocalist of the year.

In the latter category, he’s up against Aldean, Bentley, Stapleton and Rhett.

Nominees for female vocalist of the year are Kacey Musgraves, Kelsea Ballerini, Lambert, Underwood and Maren Morris, who recently won a Grammy for her hit song, “My Church.”

Other performers during the show are Reba McEntire, Rhett, Ballerini, Brothers Osborne, Cole Swindell and Jon Pardi. Presenters include Darius Rucker, Miss America Savvy Shields, Jake Owen, Kane Brown, Lauren Alaina and Kellie Pickler.

Lori McKenna, who won the best country song Grammy for two consecutive years for writing McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” and co-writing Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush,” was named songwriter of the year.

Morris won new female vocalist of the year, Pardi was named new male vocalist, and Brothers Osborne picked up vocal duo of the year and new vocal duo or group of the year.

Little Big Town won vocal group of the year, beating out Lady Antebellum.

“I just wanna be in Lady Antebellum’s band,” yelled Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town.

“Me too,” screamed bandmate Karen Fairchild.

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