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ACM Awards: Best and worst of the broadcast

The real winners were announced last night at the 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. But here are a few more honors from the telecast you should feel free to weigh in on: READ FULL STORY

Best and Worst 2012: The year in country music

Ah, what a year in music it’s been! Here at EW, we’ve been in retrospective overdrive, looking back at the best and worst albums, singles, lyrics, and soundtracks that 2012 had to offer.

But since I’m already primed to hop onto a plane and head home down South for the holidays, I thought it might be fun to take let my music tastes do the same and take a deep-dive into the country music world. Here’s my take on the year that was — country music style:

BEST: Little Big Town The hard-working quartet has always had the respect of Nashville for their on-point harmonies and sumptuous live performances, so it was nice to see them find true mainstream success in 2012. “Pontoon” was a fresh, tongue-in-cheek summer smash that motorboated all the way to No. 1.

BEST: Eric Church With a sand-papery voice, a trademark baseball cap (which have now officially replaced cowboy hats), a drink in his hand, and some genuinely great melodies, Eric Church joined country’s A-list this year. “Springsteen” was a wide-open crossover hit that gave his confidently country disc Chief the mainstream appeal it deserved. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Chief won the CMA Award for Album of the Year, either. READ FULL STORY

CMA Awards: Best and worst of the broadcast

The real winners were announced last night at the 46th Annual Country Music Association Awards. But here are a few more honors from the telecast you should feel free to weigh in on:

Best Hosts: There really aren’t enough superlatives to describe the effervescent duo of Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood — they’re simply the best. If you were to look through the last five years of Oscar/Grammy/Tony/Emmy telecasts, you’d be hard pressed to find one joke that could compete with Paisleywood’s opening monologue. Their goofy (and increasingly saucy) hosting style always brings the laughs, and they keep the show moving briskly. On top of that, they both performed their own singles, delivered heartfelt tributes to Andy Griffith and Connie Smith, and demonstrated impressive “Gangnam Style” technique. Do better than that, Seth MacFarlane.

Best performance: I’m a sucker for the CMA Awards’ tribute performances (I still get a little teary thinking about last year’s Glen Campbell effort), and this year’s Willie Nelson-centered medley was no exception. Charles Kelly and Hillary Scott (of Lady Antebellum) sounded terrific on “Always on My Mind,” as did Blake Shelton and Keith Urban on “Whiskey River” and Faith Hill and Tim McGraw on “Good Hearted Woman.” The whole thing felt so warm that when Nelson himself took the stage and sang “The life I love is making music with my friends,” (from “On the Road Again”), you really believed it was happening in that moment. Watch below. READ FULL STORY

Who should win at the CMA Awards? -- POLLS

Tonight is country music’s biggest night. The 46th annual Country Music Association Awards will air at 8:00 p.m. on ABC, and it’s already shaping up to be a great show.

Why? Well, because the CMA Awards are always a great show. In an overcrowded field of country awards (ACAs, I still haven’t warmed up to you), the CMA Awards remain the most prestigious — and most entertaining — of the bunch.

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, who have become quite the formidable comic duo, are returning for a fifth year as hosts (check out their interview about the show here), and performances from stars like Kelly Clarkson and The Band Perry, both of whom will perform new singles, as well as Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean will keep the night rocking.

But at the center of the awards are still, believe it or not, the actual awards! We’ve already given you our thoughts on all the nominations (as well as all the snubs and surprises), but now let’s handicap who might win in the major categories. READ FULL STORY

CMA Awards: Eric Church leads noms (and Snoop Dogg's in the house!)

Nominations for the 46th Annual CMA Awards (airing live on Nov. 1 on ABC) were announced this morning on Good Morning America. Eric Church led the way with five nods, including Male Vocalist and Album of the Year, along with Song, Single, and Video of the Year for his hit “Springsteen.” (Not a country music fan? Give that one listen and get back to us.)

Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert scored four noms a piece while Taylor Swift, who earned three noms, was the lone female to make the Entertainer of the Year category. Kelly Clarkson’s nom for Female Vocalist of the Year is slightly less of a surprise than Snoop Dogg popping up in Musical Event of the Year (listen to Willie Nelson’s “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” featuring Snoop, Kris Kristofferson, and Jamey Johnson). The full nominees list: READ FULL STORY

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