ACM hands out awards

Lethbridge Herald - - ODDS & ENDS - Mes­fin Fekadu THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The 2018 Academy of Coun­try Mu­sic Awards marked a mem­o­rable night for the vic­tims of the mas­sive Las Vegas shoot­ing, come­back queen Car­rie Un­der­wood and triple win­ners Chris Sta­ple­ton and Miranda Lam­bert.

Ja­son Aldean paid trib­ute to the 58 peo­ple who died at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas last Oc­to­ber when he was named en­ter­tainer of the year Sun­day for the third con­sec­u­tive time.

“It’s been a rough year,” Aldean said, thank­ing those “that showed us love and sup­port over the last six months.”

The ACMs brought the coun­try mu­sic com­mu­nity back to Vegas six months af­ter the deadly tragedy. Aldean was per­form­ing on­stage when the shoot­ing oc­curred.

“You guys are in our hearts al­ways,” Aldean said. “We love Las Vegas. Vegas strong.”

Though Aldean beat out Sta­ple­ton for the top hon­our, Sta­ple­ton’s Sun­day was met with many high points: His wife, Mor­gane, gave birth to twin boys; he cel­e­brated his 40th birth­day; and the lead­ing nom­i­nee, who didn’t at­tend the show, won male vo­cal­ist of the year and album of the year, where he won twice as a singer and pro­ducer.

Un­der­wood also had a big night, re­turn­ing to the stage like an A-List veteran in her first tele­vi­sion appearance since in­jur­ing her face and wrist last year due to a fall at her home. Her pow­er­house vo­cals shined when she per­formed her new song, “Cry Pretty,” earn­ing a rous­ing — and long — stand­ing ova­tion from the au­di­ence.

Im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the performance, she won vo­cal event of the year for the dance-in­fused coun­try song, “The Fighter,” with Keith Ur­ban.

“I am still kind of shak­ing right now,” she added, ap­pear­ing teary-eyed.

“See­ing her stand up there and be so beau­ti­ful, she’s one of the great­est singers of all-time in any genre of mu­sic,” Lam­bert said back­stage of Un­der­wood. “I am just proud of her and I know how strong she is and how hard she’s worked.”

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