Rating the Performances of the 2020 Academy of Country Music Awards
On Sept. 16, the Academy of Country Music Awards took place but in a very different way than normal. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the award show changed from its original location in Las Vegas to three separate locations in Nashville: The Bluebird Cafe, Ryman Auditorium and Grand Ole Opry. From there, some of the biggest country artists performed remotely. Some of the performances were astonishing, others not so much. Let’s rate 10 of the biggest performances of the night.
The worst performance of the night belonged to Trisha Yearwood, an older singer and actress. She performed the song “I’ll Carry You Home” to pay tribute to all of the country artists that died this past year. Yearwood was center stage in the Opry, singing into a microphone while surrounded by a pattern of warm yellow lights. This was a slow performance, and it was hard to pay attention to since there was nothing exciting going on. While Yearwood’s recital was heartfelt, it was too dry to keep the audience entertained.
Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani
Country music’s newest power couple, Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, performed at the ACM Awards for the first time with their song “Happy Anywhere.” The couple had a green screen behind them as if they were in the Bluebird Cafe, but they were actually at home in Los Angeles. The performance was interesting. Shelton played the guitar as he sang with Stefani while bright lights surrounded them, the camera panning all around the room to make the performance pleasing to watch. Still, the performance didn’t do much to stand out from the rest.
Taylor Swift was one of the most anticipated performances of the night, but it didn’t turn out to be what many expected. Swift performed “Betty,” one of the most popular tracks off of her new album “Folklore,” at the Opry. Fans were excited to hear how this song would be performed live, but it was a little disappointing. Swift sat on a stool and let light come from out behind her as she sat in darkness while wearing a sparkly red turtleneck top. Ultimately, it was a little too simple for a performance, but it was still exciting to see Swift try country music again.
Country music legend Tim McGraw performed his old song “I Called Mama” at the Bluebird Cafe, where he sat on a stool and sang with a guitar playing in the background. It was a slow performance, but it was sweet and inspirational. At the end of the performance, McGraw talked about the women in his life and how much they mean to him. Ultimately, it was a very sweet and sincere performance, though a little bit simple.
Carrie Underwood, an Opry legend, performed a melody of six other Opry inductees. She performed a medley of songs by Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Barbra Mandrell, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire and Martina McBribe, standing in the middle of the stage and singing into a microphone as pictures of the women whose songs she was singing displayed behind her. It made for a nostalgic performance.
Thomas Rhett and John Pardi
Thomas Rhett and John Pardi had a great performance with their song “Beer Can’t Fix” at the Opry. The performance was fun and upbeat, which was very refreshing to see. There were many bright lights in a variety of colors behind them, making it fun to hear and watch. In addition to the performance, Rhett also received the award for Entertainer of the Year.
Kelsea Ballerini performed her new single “Hole in the Bottle” at the Ryman Auditorium. She performed the song in old-time country style, complete with a piano and background singers. The bright lights in the background and her sparkly dress made for a great visual performance on top of the entertaining music.
Florida Georgia Line
Florida Georgia Line was the last to perform at the show, singing “I Love My Country” at the Opry. The duo made this performance so much fun to watch by walking around the stage and really getting into the performance. Bright, colorful lights were projected all around the stage to give the performance life. Their dynamic energy combined with the upbeat song made it one of the best performances of the night.
Luke Bryan performed his latest single “One Margarita” at the Opry. This was one of the best performances of the night because of the upbeat energy and tropical feel. Ukulele playing and visuals of palm trees and the beach behind Bryan paired with his Haiwaiian shirt kept viewers smiling, making it a joy to listen to and watch all the way through.
The best performance of the night belonged to Eric Church, who sang “Stick That in Your Country Song” at the Opry. The energy he gave off was just incredible. Church had the entire band behind him, and a powerhouse female vocalist sang background music to add to the performance’s liveliness. Between the song and the flashy production behind him, Eric Church’s performance gets a perfect score.
Payton Steckroat is a freshman majoring in journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.