For those who don’t know, CBS isn’t going to pick up the ACM awards for next year. The reason behind the decisions is poor ratings, combined with an astronomical price tag being charged for television rights. Instead, the ACM Awards have found a new home Amazon Prime. This is a major change for not just country award shows but all award shows. With this being the first streamed show, it will be an experiment of if this truly is the future or not. Personally, I don’t think it necessarily is, but that’s why I’m not a tv executive making these decisions.
Since the ACM awards are undergoing such significant changes, I have a few suggestions to make them worth watching again. While I am guilty of giving the ACM awards shit, it was the first country music award show I ever watched, so I do hold it near and dear to my heart. To be completely honest, it was worth watching not all that long ago. Back in the Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley days, it was funny and lighthearted. Since then, though, Reba, Keith Urban, and Mickey Guyton took an entertaining show and drove it towards more of a PC woke vibe. I have always felt the CMA awards were the more “professional,” almost Grammy-type award show. The ACM Awards were the ones that Larry the Cable Guy would show up at. So out of the kindness of my heart, I will now fix the ACM awards for absolutely no cost to the ACM board.
To fix a mistake, you must admit you have a problem. The awards have reached a point of knowing they have a problem. How do you solve an issue? Well, I think it’s best to go through a 12-step program, not only to address the problem but fix it for the long term. Without further a due, here is how to fix the ACM awards for the future.
We admitted we were powerless to woke culture and gave in—that our lives had become unmanageable.
I’m not going to shit on Mickey Guyton as a host, I don’t think she did a bad job, but in reality, she isn’t a superstar in country music. She doesn’t have a big name like Carrie Underwood or Reba to drive in viewers. Having her have a moment in the show would be cool, and having diversity is essential, but let’s be real here. If I were to ask 100 people if they knew who she was, maybe 10% of people would. It isn’t like her name is pulling viewership in.
On the other hand, is Morgan Wallen, who, as we all know, got canceled to begin 2021. He did a stupid thing, but let’s be honest, people will tune in to watch him. He did his time, and he took this year off, essentially taking him out of Entertainer of the Year and Male Artist of the Year. If he doesn’t win album of the year, though, it is an absolute joke. However, he is back on the radio, and it’s time to move on from his past mistakes and give a guy who is just twenty-eight years old a chance to have a career. ACM Awards, stop fooling yourself, and please give the man what he deserves. Plus, creating a friendly rivalry between Morgan Wallen and Luke Combs wouldn’t hurt anything…
Come to believe that the power of true country music is greater than ourselves and could restore us to sanity.
Ah yes, we need to remind ourselves what our genre is and where it came from. Theproblem is that while blending pop and country music, artists have found ways of getting a wider audience and more money. This reflects in how the award shows go through, and in reality, the ACMs have become a little bit twangier than the Grammy’s, but that’s the only difference.
One of the highlights of the 2021 award show was Alan Jackson performing. Jackson isn’t the only hall of fame country artist that released new music this year, though. Why not let Travis Tritt rock out for a few minutes? What about letting Tracey Lawrence have a moment on stage? Clay Walker released a song with Ryan Upchurch last year and then announced an album of his own. The show has become way too pop, and it’s time to turn things back in the right direction.
Miranda Lambert performed three times in the award show; why not just have her perform once and give another country legend a chance? I understand that the show is going to need a balance, and I’m not saying to give Dan and Shay the middle finger and not allow them on, but the show has gone way too far, pop, and it’s time to reign it back in.
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of true country music as we understood it.
Country music has always been about blue-collar Americans that are out on the front lines of society working their asses off for the general public. It wasn’t created for Los Angeles or New York citizens, but the guy who is working to feed them. Yet, the ACM awards are decided by white-collar people who don’t understand this. Why not give some of the power back to the people who are meant to consume country music, on who the best artists really are.
Change the way that voting is done for the awards. As I understand it, the ACM and CMA voting is the exact same. Why not be unique? Shall I remind everyone of the Thomas Rhett/Carrie Underwood tie? It’s time to stop doing it the way it’s been done and start a new trend. I propose this, a split between media votes, fan votes, artist votes, and other industry votes. Maybe have fan voting by 25% of the vote, media be 25% of the vote, fellow artists be 25% of the vote, and “the academy” by 25% of the vote. This way, everyone has skin in the game; as a viewer of the show, I would find it much more interesting to root for the person I voted for. Maybe it takes a little bit away from being an “industry award,” but lack of change just lost the ACMs a tv contract. Hell, why not allow betting on the show? I’m not entirely sure it’s legal, and it might lead to a massive insider trading issue, but it’s at least worth looking into.
Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
When it comes to “inventory,” I thought this was best interpreted as artists who are being awarded. Let’s get back to having award nominees and winners that make sense. I think it should be an honor to be nominated for an award. Yet so many nominations are made that it takes away the appeal. To achieve this, fewer awards should be given out, and the number of nominees should go from 5 to 4.
First, get rid of duo and group of the year awards, turn them into a singular award. Brooks and Dunn are fantastic, but they didn’t do anything to justify an award in 2020. They haven’t released new music in a few years, in fact. Little Big Town is in the same camp; they haven’t been relevant since like 2015. Make it so that the finalists are Dan + Shay vs. Old Dominion, and all of a sudden, people might care more about the award a little more.
Get rid of all the “New ____ of the Year” awards and make it just one. Also, make the award actually be for new people. I love Cody Johnson, but he is like 8 albums deep at this point; he isn’t new. I would make the criteria so that an artist has to have a single go top 20 before the second studio album is released. The New Artist of the Year isn’t, in my opinion, supposed to project who will have the best career, but award the person who got off to a hot start.
Eliminate single of the year. If an artist wants a song to be a song of the year, they need to release it. Have one singular song be the song of the year and have that be that. Rename “Music Event of the Year” into “Collaboration of the Year.” Why? Why not.
Admitted to true country music, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
I don’t think every year in and year out should be a George Strait dick-suck award, but we isolate more and more country stars who had helped make the genre great every year. Recently artists like Tim McGraw and Brad Paisley have struggled to get radio airplay; why not try to get one of them a spot to play some music. It doesn’t have to be a new song, but Brad Paisley featuring a big ole slide guitar on “I’m Gunna Miss Her” or Tim McGraw talking about a barbeque stain on his shirt would be an excellent highlight of the show.
If no one like that exists in a particular year, why not have Garth Brooks, George Strait, or another legend perform while we still have them? Willie Nelson, anyone? If we don’t let them play now, the next time we hear from them might be via a cover from a living artist to honor them.
Were entirely ready to have true country music remove all these defects of character.
Listen, ACM people, you guys have a great foundation and aren’t all that far off from being a great award show. You just lost track somewhere along the way and completely blended into the CMA awards. You’re not bad people; you just made some mistakes. We are halfway through our twelve-step program, and then you will be ready to rock the ratings again. If you have made it this far, you are ready to move onto the next step.
Humbly ask true country music to remove our shortcomings.
Reflect and reach out to people. What year were the ACM awards most successful, and what were the highlights of that? Also, what do living legend artists think can be done to turn the ship around? The resources are there; you just have to reach out and find them. Go to them, call Hank Jr. and say, “Mr. Williams, please let us do right by you.” Bam, now you have a living fucking legend on your show.
Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
Luke Combs is the biggest name in country music, hands down right now. Morgan Wallen is coming for that title, but right now, Luke Combs is the guy. However, the ACM voters disagreed, and Luke Combs was shut out in awards this year. I’m not exactly sure how that is possible, but Luke Combs’s name is bigger than Luke Bryan’s, and he was much more relevant, in my opinion, last year. For some reason, the ACM’s feels the need to make people “earn it” so Luke Combs will win an Entertainer of the Year in like 2024, but it’s just fucking stupid.
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
This can be simply done. Luke Combs is the 2022 Entertainer of the Year, and Morgan Wallen wins the 2022 Album of the Year. Then in 2023, let the battle between Combs and Wallen battle it out for the new king of country music.
Continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
I’m not one to defend Dan and Shay when it comes to the country music scene, but they got a reputation hit because of an audio fuckup. If you can’t handle the multivenue setup, don’t do it. In reality, it didn’t make much of a difference to me sitting in my living room between watching someone perform at the Ryman or the Opry. Now next year, I think the show will be back in Las Vegas, so hopefully, the entire show is done in one location. This should mean that this mistake won’t happen again. I don’t know if Dan and Shay meant to lip-sync or actually sing, but it didn’t look good for them.
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with true country music, as we understood it, praying only for knowledge of its will for us and the power to carry that out.
In order to understand true country music, you have to listen to it. This isn’t entirely an ACM problem; they are just working with the tools they are given in some respects. Country radio absolutely sucks, and the ACM is just meant to reflect what has happened in the last year. However, there are diamonds in the rough, and the ACM awards need to find these diamonds. Anyone ever hear of a guy named Justin Moore? How about Jon Pardi? Jason Aldean, maybe? The majority of what’s on the radio sucks. The ACMs need to find what doesn’t.
What about having other artists on the show? Canada, Texas, and Independent artists are insanely talented and underrepresented. What about letting Aaron Watson or Cody Johnson from Texas, both men with huge followings in a small region. How about Jade Eagleson or Dallas Smith from Canada? If you want to have a diverse range of country music have a change to represent there types of country. Why not let a rapper on? Ryan Upchurch would pull in a massive audience, as would Adam Calhoun and Jelly Roll. If diversity is what you want, this would bring in a crowd the ACM awards have never even seen before.
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to sellouts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs
Ok, ACM awards here is where you decide what to do. Do you see the error of your ways? Do you see the markets and demographics you forget about trying to make one or two groups of people happy? I understand spreading the love and getting different people watching the show, but don’t forget where you came from. Make changes, make things better, and take advantage of the opportunity that Amazon is giving you.