Academy of Country Music Awards
|Academy of Country Music Awards|
|54th Academy of Country Music Awards|
50th anniversary logo
|Awarded for||Achievements in country music|
|Location||Variable U.S. locations|
|Presented by||Academy of Country Music|
|First awarded||April 1966|
The Academy of Country Music Awards, also known as the ACM Awards, were first held in 1966, honoring the industry's accomplishments during the previous year. It was the first country music awards program held by a major organization. The Academy's signature "hat" trophy was first created in 1968. The awards were first televised in 1972 on ABC. In 1979, the Academy joined with Dick Clark Productions to produce the show. Dick Clark and Al Schwartz served as producers while Gene Weed served as director. Under their guidance, the show moved to NBC and finally to CBS, where it remains today.
In 2003, the awards show left Los Angeles and moved to Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Events Center through 2005. The Academy also adopted a sleeker, modern version of the "hat" trophy in 2003, which is now made by the New York City firm Society Awards. In 2004, the organization implemented online awards voting for its professional members, becoming the first televised awards show to do so. Entertainer of the Year was a fan-voted award for eight years, until 2016, when the ACM announced its decision to abandon Internet-voting for it and the three new-artist categories.
The show was moved to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas from 2006 through 2014 before relocating to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex in 2015 to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The 2015 show broke the Guinness record for Most Attended Awards Show, with 70,252. The show returned to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in 2016 then moved to the new T-Mobile Arena in 2017. In 2018, the ACM Awards returned to the MGM Grand Garden Arena. It was announced on February 20, 2019, that the show would be held again at the MGM Grand Garden Area with the return of Reba McEntire as the hostess for her 16th time. On April 27, 2020, the ACM issued a press release that the 2020 show would be broadcast from three historic country music venues—the Grand Ole Opry House, Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Café.
Voting members of the Academy of Country Music elect the nominees. In 2016, after an eight-year experiment intended to improve consumer engagement, the ACM announced its decision to abandon fan-voting for Entertainer of the Year and its three new-artist categories, thanks to the cost of participation and several rifts that had developed among artists. The program was controversial from the start and included the web ballot stuffing encouragement infamous among awards of the same type presented in other ceremonies. Kenny Chesney, after winning the first fan vote for entertainer in 2008, criticized the process backstage, complaining that instead of acknowledging artists' hard work, the vote had devolved into a marketing contest that rewarded people for "seeing how hard you can push people's buttons on the Internet." The winner, for example, of entertainer will now be voted on by the same people who select the male or female vocalist winner.
The most prestigious awards are for "Artist of the Decade" and "Entertainer of the Year." There are a number of other awards to recognize male and female vocalists, albums, videos, songs, and musicians. The awards are typically presented in April or May and recognize achievement for the previous year.
Artists of the decade
- 2010s: Jason Aldean (presented 2019)
- 2000s: George Strait (presented 2009)
- 1990s: Garth Brooks (presented 1999)
- 1980s: Alabama (presented 1989)
- 1970s: Loretta Lynn (presented 1979)
- 1960s: Marty Robbins (presented 1969)
The Triple-Crown Award is an elite honor that has been presented to only seven country acts in the history of the Academy of Country Music Awards. The honor distinguishes the achievement of an artist, duo or group upon receiving the New Artist (or New Male Vocalist, New Female Vocalist, New Solo Vocalist, New Vocal Duo, New Vocal Group or New Vocal Duo or Group), and Male/Female Vocalist (or Vocal Duo, Vocal Group, Vocal Duo or Group) and Entertainer of the Year awards. Among the later recipients, Carrie Underwood received it at the ACM Awards, while Jason Aldean received his at the Annual ACM Honors. The following list shows the artists that have won the award and the first year winning each of the categories required.
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