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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 2012: Snubs and surprises

The 46th Annual CMA award nominations were announced yesterday. Here are a few thoughts on who made the cut — and who was sorely left out:

SURPRISE! Kelly Clarkson: I don’t know that anyone in the country community dislikes Kelly Clarkson. Heck, I don’t know if anyone in any community dislikes Kelly Clarkson. But it rings rather false that she scored a Female Vocalist of the Year nomination. Though the original American Idol did have a country remix of her single “Mr. Know It All” out to radio last year, and though she did appear on Jason Aldean’s “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” two songs does not a country singer make — even if she is dating Reba McEntire’s stepson. Should Lady Gaga have gotten a nomination after putting out a country remix of “Born This Way”? READ FULL STORY

This week's music winners and losers: Rick Ross, Carly Rae Jepsen, Ellie Goulding, and more!

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Carly Rae Jepsen and Rick Ross muscle out the competition, Ellie Goulding surges, and Phillip Phillips makes a gigantic chart leap with his Idol coronation song “Home.” Here’s your guide to who’s burning up (and flaming out) on the music charts:

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Rick Ross: The large and in charge rapper’s fifth album God Forgives, I Don’t became his fourth number one album, selling 219,000 copies in its first week. The sales total was the largest rap debut since Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded bowed with 253,000 copies earlier this year.

Carly Rae Jepsen: “Call Me Maybe,” which this week passed the 5 million mark in sales, logged a ninth week atop Billboard’s Hot 100. The track, the first off her just-announced Kiss (due Sept. 18), is now the longest-running number one single in 2012 over Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know,” which held the peak position for eight weeks and is still sitting pretty at No. 6. READ FULL STORY

CMT Music Awards: Best and worst of the broadcast

The actual winners were announced last night at the CMT Music Awards. But here are a few more honors from the telecast that you should feel free to weigh in on:

Best Overall Performance Willie Nelson assembled an all-star crew to help him sing the hilarious “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.” The ponytailed veteran was joined by Darius Rucker, Toby Keith, Zac Brown, and Jamey Johnson, all of whom looked delighted to be sharing the stage with the legendary toker.

(Honorable Mention Little Big Town, who always sound fantastic, delivered a fun rendition of their summer single “Pontoon.” On a night when A-listers like Kenny Chesney, the Zac Brown Band, and Luke Bryan delivered competent but forgettable performances, theirs might legitimately have earned the quartet a few new listeners. Also, props to Kellie Pickler for her “Motorboatin’” introduction.) READ FULL STORY

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