Chris Stapleton was named Entertainer of the Year for the first time at the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards, held Thursday (May 11) at the Ford Center at the Star in Frisco, Texas. Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton – both former winners of ACM Entertainer of the Year – co-hosted the show.
This was Stapleton’s fifth nomination in this category. The award comes seven years after he was named New Male Artist of the Year. Stapleton has been named Male Artist of the Year three times, meaning he qualifies for another award that the ACM calls the “Triple Crown.”
More from Billboard
Lainey Wilson and HARDY
Here are all the winners of the 2023 ACM Awards
HARDY and Lainey Wilson were the top winners of the 2023 ACMs with four awards each, followed by Cole Swindell with three awards and Ashley Gorley with two.
HARDY won two awards (as Artist and Co-Producer) for Music Event of the Year for “Wait in the Truck,” his collaboration with Wilson. HARDY and Wilson were also recognized as Visual Media of the Year for this hit. HARDY, who won last year’s Songwriter of the Year award, won in the New Artist-Songwriter of the Year category this year.
In addition to two awards she shared with HARDY, Wilson won two other awards. Their Bell Bottom Country won Album of the Year. It is the first album by a female artist in this category since Kacey Musgraves’ “Golden Hour” four years ago. The album was produced by Jay Joyce, who won the category a decade ago for producing Eric Church’s Chief.
Wilson was also named Artist of the Year for the first time, just a year after she was named New Artist of the Year. That’s the fastest move from a New Artist of the Year win to an Artist of the Year win since it also took Carrie Underwood a year to make that move 16 years ago.
The story goes on
Swindell’s “She Had Me at Heads Carolina” won both Single and Song of the Year. It’s the first work since Dan + Shay’s Tequila four years ago to win in both categories. The song contains lyrical and melodic references to Jo Dee Messina’s 1996 debut single “Heads Carolina, Tails California” and credits the song’s writers Mark D. Sanders and Tim Nichols as co-writers.
This helped “She Had Me at Heads Carolina” set a new record as the winner of Song of the Year with the most authors (six). The previous record of four songwriters for an ACM Song of the Year was jointly held by “Need You Now”, written by the three members of Lady A and Josh Kear, and “One Man Band”, written by three members of Old Dominion plus frequent collaborator Josh Osborne.
Messina joined Swindell to perform the song at the ACM Awards, as she did at the CMA Awards in November. ACM voters have had their eye on both artists for many years. Messina was named Best New Singer in 1998. Swindell was named New Artist of the Year in 2014.
Zach Crowell produced She Had Me at Heads Carolina. It’s his second single of the year. He also produced Sam Hunt’s Body Like a Back Road, which won five years ago.
Morgan Wallen was named Male Artist of the Year for the first time. Last year he won two awards – Album of the Year for “Dangerous: The Double Album” and an ACM Milestone Award. These awards cap a remarkable comeback of a career-threatening episode in which Wallen was caught on video using a racial slur. Country fans rallied behind him and didn’t want a promising star to be canceled so early in his journey. Wallen, who was forced to cancel six-week shows on May 9 on the advice of his voice doctor, was the only winner not to be there to say yes.
The Osborne brothers have been named Duo of the Year for the fourth time. Since TJ Osborne’s gay outing in February 2021, the brother duo have now won the title of “Duo of the Year” the same number of times as they did before his unveiling. Only three other duos have won four times or more in this category. Brooks & Dunn lead with 16 wins, followed by The Judds with seven and Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn, also with four.
Old Dominion won Group of the Year for the sixth year in a row. This is the longest consecutive winning streak in this category since Rascal Flatts won seven straight years from 2002 to 2008. Previously, Alabama won six straight years from 1980 to 1985.
Gorley, who co-wrote three of the nominees for this year’s Song of the Year awards (including the winner “She Had Met at Heads Carolina”), was named Songwriter of the Year for the first time. Gorley is only the third songwriter in ACM history to have written three Song of the Year nominations in one year. The first two were Merle Haggard in 1969 and Kris Kristofferson in 1971.
Zach Bryan and Hailey Whitters were named New Male and Female Artist of the Year, respectively. Bryan was eligible last year and applied for a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist, but failed to get nominated.
The ACMs made history in 2022 as the first major awards ceremony to be live-streamed only, in partnership with Prime Video. For the 2023 event, the show once again partnered with Prime Video to offer an exclusive global live stream. The full replay will stream for free on Freevee on Friday, May 12.
The ACM Awards are produced by Dick Clark Productions. DCP is owned by Penske Media Eldridge, a subsidiary of Penske Media Corporation (PMC) and a joint venture between PMC and Eldridge. PMC is Billboard’s parent company.
The best of Billboard
Click here to read the full article.