Review: ‘Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar,’ starring Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo

February 11, 2021

by Carla Hay

Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo in “Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar” (Photo by Cate Cameron/Lionsgate)

“Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar”

Directed by Josh Greenbaum

Culture Representation: Taking place mostly in the fictional U.S. cities of Taylorsville and Vista Del Mar, the comedy film “Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar” features a predominantly white cast (with some African Americans and a few Asians and Latinos) representing the middle-class and working-class.

Culture Clash: Two middle-aged female best friends unwittingly get ensnared in a villain’s scheme to get deadly revenge on the residents of Vista Del Mar, Florida.

Culture Audience: “Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar” will appeal primarily to fans of stars Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo (who co-wrote 2011’s Oscar-nominated “Bridesmaids”), but “Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar” is a disappointing, uneven dud.

Jamie Dornan in “Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar” (Photo by Cate Cameron/Lionsgate)

When close friends Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo first wrote a movie screenplay together, it was for 2011’s hilarious “Bridesmaids,” which garnered an Academy Award nomination for the duo, as well as a best supporting actress Oscar nod for “Bridesmaids” co-star Melissa McCarthy. Unfortunately, Wiig and Mumolo’s next screenplay collaboration is the messy and frequently unfunny “Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar,” an awkward mishmash of repetitive jokes about being middle-aged women, with some sci-fi and musical theater elements that mostly fall flat. The movie definitely won’t be nominated for any awards, not even a Razzie, because “Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar” is ultimately forgettable.

Directed by Josh Greenbaum, “Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar” is a frequently unfocused movie that loses steam in the last third of the film. Greenbaum has a background in directing sitcoms, such as “Fresh Off the Boat” and “New Girl.” And that TV comedy background shows up in the most annoying ways in this movie. The music score sounds like it was made for a sitcom, and the music volume is turned up to irritating levels because it interrupts the flow of the movie.

Unlike “Bridesmaids,” which was made for adults, “Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar” tries to be more family-friendly and therefore loses a lot of potential to have raunchy humor that’s genuinely funny. However, there are moments where the filmmakers tried to throw in some adult-themed content, such as drug-fueled partying that ends up with some of the main characters having a sexual threesome. But this very adult scenario doesn’t really work in this film, because the movie is too cutesy with its sexual innuendo, thereby making the tone of the movie look confused and ultimately ineffective. Imagine if 2009’s “The Hangover” or 2017’s “Girls Trip” held back on a lot of the things that happened in the stories because the filmmakers wanted to make these movies suitable for underage kids to watch.

In “Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar,” Mumolo portrays widow Barb Quicksilver and Wiig portrays divorcée Star Testigivlio, two middle-aged best friends/housemates who talk in a Midwestern twang and embody every stereotype of being a very bland, sheltered and uptight middle-aged American woman. (The movie has a running joke about Barb and Star’s penchant for wearing culotte pants.) The movie doesn’t say which U.S. state Barb and Star live in, but their hometown is called Taylorsville, and it’s far enough away from Florida that they have to travel by plane to get to the Florida city of Vista Del Mar.

Barb and Star are motormouths who frequently talk over each other but don’t have much to say that’s meaningful. They obsess over trivial things, such as why they don’t want anyone to buy their favorite sofa at the Jennifer Convertibles furniture store where they work as sales clerks. They’re so attached to the sofa that they come up with excuses for customers not to buy it. In the end, it doesn’t matter, because one day their boss (played by Ian Gomez) calls Barb and Star into his office and tells them that they’re all losing their jobs because the company has gone out of business.

As Barb and Star leave the store in shock, a friend of theirs named Mickey Revelet (played by Wendi McLendon-Covey) sees them walking down the street and runs over to talk to them. Mickey raves to Barb and Star about just coming back in town from the vacation that she and her man Miguel took in Vista Del Mar, Florida. (It’s a fictional city in Florida. The movie was actually filmed in Mexico City and Cancun, Mexico.)

Mickey brags that not only did she have a lot of fun and get a splendid tan, but she also says that going to Vista Del Mar had this effect on her: “I feel like I got a soul douche.” That’s the type of dialogue in the movie that’s supposed to be funny. Before Mickey leaves, she hands Barb and Star a travel brochure for Vista Del Mar. McLendon-Covey was a scene-stealing character in “Bridesmaids,” but “Bridesmaids” fans will be disappointed that her role in “Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar” is really just a quick cameo, since she’s only in the movie for about five minutes.

Barb and Star’s idea of fun is getting together not with a book club but with a talk club, which consists of other boring women who are around the same age. The members of the talk club gather to discuss a single topic per meeting. Shortly after Barb and Star lose their jobs, they’re at a talk club meeting, which is led by a bossy snob named Debbie (played by Vanessa Bayer) at Debbie’s home. Three other women are also in attendance: Pinky (played by Fortune Feimster), Delores (played by Phyllis Smith) and Bev (played by Rose Abdoo), who all do whatever Debbie expects them to do.

The talk club has certain rules that Debbie is fanatical about enforcing. When one of the club members is one minute late, Debbie locks the door and won’t let her inside. And the three cardinal rules of the club are (1) No wearing of sneakers; (2) No swearing, except for the “f” word; and (3) No lying. When Debbie announces that this meeting topic will be jobs, Barb and Star look at each other with dread because they’re embarrassed to talk about how they’ve become recently unemployed.

As the members of the club go around the room to talk about their jobs, (pharmacist Debbie is ecstatic when she describes how much she loves shaking pills in bottles while listening to music), Barb and Star continue to act as if they still work at the furniture store. However, the guilt of lying gets to Star, who blurts out that she and Barb lied and they actually got laid off recently. A furious Debbie kicks Barb and Star out of the club.

With their social life in shambles, Barb and Star decide to follow Mickey’s advice and take a vacation in Vista Del Mar. On the plane, there’s a sequence that goes on for far too long where Barb and Star ramble on about what kind of lady would be an ideal friend to lots of other women. They call her Trish and imagine all sorts of scenarios and personality traits that this ideal woman would have. And as soon as this becomes the entire plane conversation in the movie, you just know that there will be a character named Trish that shows up at some point.

Now for the weird and clunky sci-fi part of the story. It’s shown in the beginning of the movie that underneath the quiet streets of suburban Taylorsville is a high-tech underground bunker where a villain lives named Sharon Gordon Fisherman (also played by Wiig), who wants to kill the people of Vista Del Mar for a revenge reason that’s revealed in the movie. (It’s the most obvious reason possible.) The only way to get to the bunker is through a secret entrance in a tree trunk. Yes, it’s that kind of movie.

Sharon has a skin condition that makes her look unusually pale and sensitive to being in sunlight. She always wears white clothing. And she wears her hair in a jet-black bob, which kind of makes her look like a cross between Gloria Vanderbilt and Tilda Swinton, if they wanted to look like a Goth who only wears white. Sharon has a bitter demeanor and she seems to have problems emotionally connecting to people.

Sharon has three people working for her: an unnamed elderly scientist (played by Patrick Bristow), a handsome henchman named Edgar Pagét (played by Jamie Dornan), and a precocious boy named Yoyo (played by Reyn Doi), who’s about 9 or 10 years old. In the movie’s opening scene, Yoyo is shown riding his bike while delivering newspapers and singing Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb’s 1980 hit “Guilty.” However, Yoyo is no mild-mannered paperboy.

The scientist tells Sharon that he’s found a way to genetically modify mosquitos so that one mosquito sting can kill a large animal in minutes. When the scientist finds out that Sharon wants to use these mosquitos to kill humans, he objects to this plan and then is on the receiving end of Sharon’s deadly wrath. Shortly after that, Sharon orders Yoyo to activate a remote control in an earring that he’s wearing. The remote control sets off a bomb that was in a newspaper that Yoyo delivered to someone’s front porch.

Sharon then dispatches Edgar to go to Vista Del Mar to let loose the lethal mosquitos on the city’s population. Edgar is infatuated with Sharon and there’s a not-very-believable subplot that Edgar wants to be her boyfriend, but she’s been resistant to the idea. Sharon has a dead personality, so it’s very far-fetched that someone like Edgar (who could have his pick of women) would be pining after someone who lacks charisma and is very self-absorbed. But maybe Edgar likes women who play very hard-to-get.

And so, when Edgar goes to Vista Del Mar and inevitably meets Barb and Star, it’s at a hotel bar. He’s pining over Sharon and distracted in thinking about her, while Barb and Star try to strike up a conversation with him. There are some shenanigans that happen between Barb, Star and Edgar that leads to a very cliché plot development in a movie about two female best friends: They end up competing with each other over a man. Take a wild guess who it is.

In addition to the sci-fi elements of the movie that are very poorly conceived (with tacky visual effects), “Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar” has some musical song-and-dance interludes that come out of nowhere. The first is when Barb and Star arrive at the Palm Vista Hotel, and all the people in the lobby break into a musical number to greet Barb and Star. Edgar also has an extensive musical number on the beach that involves an obvious stunt double.

There are also some other bizarre things in the movie that don’t work well either. For example, Star has a conversation with a talking crab named Morgan Freemond (voiced by Josh Robert Thompson), and the “joke” is that the crab sounds like Morgan Freeman and gives advice to the lovelorn Star. Damon Wayans Jr. has a useless role in the movie as a spy named Darlie Bunkle, who makes contact with Edgar. The running gag with Darlie is that he’s supposed to be undercover and always lectures Edgar to keep their communication “private,” but Darlie always bungles and reveals his own identity so that it’s out in the open and not “private” at all.

If the movie wasn’t trying so hard to appeal to underage audiences, it could’ve had more fun showing adults acting and talking like adults. Instead, by playing it too coy and too safe, the movie’s humor fails to be edgy or genuine. There’s a recurring character in the movie named Richard Cheese (played by Mark Jonathan Davis), who’s a singer/pianist in the hotel lounge. The joke is that Richard keeps singing about how much he loves women’s breasts, and he comes up with all sorts of ways to say the word “breasts.” It’s a mildly funny gag, but the humor is very juvenile, like 10-year-old boys giggling about saying slang words for this part of the female anatomy.

“Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar” is a story about two middle-aged single women who go on what’s supposed to be a fun-filled vacation together, but the movie is so watered down, that Barb and Star might as well have been teenagers. Barb and Star are sheltered women, but it would’ve been funnier to have them experience culture shock in a raunchier environment. “Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar” is one of those movies where the trailer makes the film look a lot funnier than it actually is.

Wiig and Mumolo (who are also two of the movie’s producers) are capable of doing much better work. Barb and Star are fairly one-note. And except for a brief mention of why they are single (Barb’s husband Ron died in an accident, while Star’s husband Carmine left her for another woman), there’s no backstory for these two central characters. It seems as if the filmmakers were trying to do a middle-aged version of 1997’s “Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion” (another movie about two sheltered best friends who travel somewhere to party), but “Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar” lacks a lot of the charm that made “Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion” a hit.

“Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar” isn’t a completely terrible movie, because viewers can find some laughs here and there. (People who are under the influence of alcohol or other substances while watching are more likely to find this movie funny.) Wiig has better comedic timing than Mumolo, while Dornan has some deliberately campy moments that can’t save this embarrassing film. Andy Garcia and Reba McEntire have unremarkable cameos in the movie. Considering the level of talent involved in this movie, it’s a misfire in so many ways, and it will just make people appreciate “Bridesmaids” even more.

Lionsgate will release “Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar” on VOD on February 12, 2021.

2020 CMA Awards: Maren Morris is the top winner; Luke Combs and Eric Church also win big

November 11, 2020

by Carla Hay

With three prizes, Maren Morris was the biggest winner at the 54th annual CMA Awards, which were presented at Nashville’s Music City Center on November 11, 2020. ABC had the U.S. telecast of the ceremony, which was hosted by Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker. Morris received the awards for Female Vocalist of the Year, while her hit “The Bones” was named Song of the Year and Single of the Year.

Other big winners were Eric Church (who was named Entertainer of the Year) and Luke Combs, who won the prizes for Male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year (for “What You See Is What You Get”).

Miranda Lambert, who went into the ceremony with the most nominations (seven) and ended up winning one CMA Award: Music Video of the Year, for “Bluebird.” Other winners of the 2020 CMA Awards included Old Dominion (Vocal Group of the Year); Dan + Shay (Vocal Duo of the Year); ; Morgan Wallen (New Artist of the Year); and Carly Pearce and Lee Brice’s duet “I Hope You’re Happy Now” (Musical Event of the Year). Charley Pride received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award.

Performers at the ceremony included Jimmie Allen; Ingrid Andress; Kelsea Ballerini; Gabby Barrett featuring Charlie Puth; Brothers Osborne; Eric Church; Luke Combs; Dan + Shay with Justin Bieber; Lambert; Little Big Town; Ashley McBryde; McEntire with Rucker; Maren Morris; Old Dominion; Jon Pardi; Carly Pearce with Charles Kelley; Rucker; Chris Stapleton Keith Urban; and Morgan Wallen. In addition, Thomas Rhett, McEntire and Chris Tomlin teamed up for a performance.

Presenters included Lauren Akins, Lauren Alaina, Dierks Bentley, Bobby Bones, Charles Esten, Sara Evans, Taylor Hill, Jake Owen, Patrick Schwarzenegger and Cece Winans.

The 54th Annual CMA Awards was a production of the Country Music Association. Robert Deaton was the executive producer. Alan Carter was the director, and David Wild was the head writer.  

The following is a complete list of winners and nominees for the 2020 CMA Awards:

*=winner

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

Eric Church*
Luke Combs 
Miranda Lambert
Carrie Underwood 
Keith Urban

SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Award goes to artist(s), producer(s), and mix engineer

“10,000 Hours” – Dan + Shay (with Justin Bieber) (Producer: Dan Smyers; Mix Engineer: Jeff Juliano)

“Beer Never Broke My Heart” – Luke Combs (Producer: Scott Moffatt; Mix Engineer: Jim Cooley)

“Bluebird” – Miranda Lambert Producer: Jay Joyce; Mix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce)

“The Bones” – Maren Morris (Producer: Greg Kurstin; Mix Engineer: Greg Kurstin)*

“I Hope” – Gabby Barrett Producers: Ross Copperman, Zach Kale; Mix Engineer: Buckley Miller)

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Award goes to artist and producer(s)

“Heartache Medication” – Jon Pardi (Producers: Bart Butler, Ryan Gore, Jon Pardi)

“Never Will” – Ashley McBryde (Producers: Jay Joyce, John Peets)

“Old Dominion” – Old Dominion (Producers: Shane McAnally, Old Dominion)

“What You See Is What You Get” – Luke Combs (Producer: Scott Moffatt)*

“Wildcard” – Miranda Lambert (Producer: Jay Joyce)


SONG OF THE YEAR
Award goes to songwriters

“Bluebird” (Songwriters: Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby, Miranda Lambert)

“The Bones” (Songwriters: Maren Morris, Jimmy Robbins, Laura Veltz)*

“Even Though I’m Leaving” (Songwriters: Luke Combs, Wyatt B. Durrette III, Ray Fulcher)

“I Hope You’re Happy Now” (Songwriters: Luke Combs, Randy Montana, Carly Pearce, Jonathan Singleton)

“More Hearts Than Mine” (Songwriters: Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis, Derrick Southerland)


FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

Miranda Lambert
Ashley McBryde 
Maren Morris*
Kacey Musgraves 
Carrie Underwood

MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

Eric Church
Luke Combs*
Thomas Rhett 
Chris Stapleton 
Keith Urban

VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR

Lady A
Little Big Town 
Midland 
Old Dominion*
Rascal Flatts

VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR

Brooks & Dunn 
Brothers Osborne 
Dan + Shay*
Florida Georgia Line 
Maddie & Tae

MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR
Award goes to artists and producer(s)

“10,000 Hours” – Dan + Shay with Justin Bieber (Producer: Dan Smyers)

“Be A Light” – Thomas Rhett featuring Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, Chris Tomlin, Keith Urban (Producer: Dann Huff)

“The Bones” – Maren Morris with Hozier (Producer: Greg Kurstin)

“Fooled Around And Fell In Love” – Miranda Lambert feat. Maren Morris, Elle King, Ashley McBryde, Tenille Townes & Caylee Hammack (Producer: Jay Joyce)

“I Hope You’re Happy Now” – Carly Pearce and Lee Brice (Producer: Busbee)*

MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR

Jenee Fleenor, Fiddle*
Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar
Rob McNelley, Guitar
Ilya Toshinskiy, Guitar
Derek Wells, Guitar

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Award goes to artist(s) and director

“10,000 Hours” – Dan + Shay with Justin Bieber (Director: Patrick Tracy)

“Bluebird” – Miranda Lambert (Director: Trey Fanjoy)*

“Homemade” –Jake Owen (Director: Justin Clough)

“I Hope You’re Happy Now” – Carly Pearce and Lee Brice (Director: Sam Siske)

“Second One To Know” – Chris Stapleton (Director: David Coleman)

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Jimmie Allen 
Ingrid Andress 
Gabby Barrett 
Carly Pearce 
Morgan Wallen*

FINALISTS FOR BROADCAST PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR (by market size):
National 

“American Country Countdown” (Kix Brooks) – Westwood One
“The Blair Garner Show” (Blair Garner and “Off Eric” Garner) – Westwood One
“CMT After Midnite” (Cody Alan) – Premiere Networks
“Country Countdown USA” (Lon Helton) – Westwood One*
“The Mayor of Music Row” (Charlie Monk) – Sirius XM Satellite Radio

 
Major Market

“Angie Ward” – WUBL, Atlanta, Ga. 
“Chris Carr & Company” (Chris Carr, Kia Becht, and McKaila Granning) – KEEY, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.*
“Double-L” (Lois Lewis) – KNIX, Phoenix, Ariz. 
“Fitz in the Morning” (Cory Fitzner) – KNUC, Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. 
“Paul Schadt & Sarah Lee in the Morning with Producer Geof” (Paul Schadt, Sarah Lee and Geof Knight) – WKKT, Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, N.C.-S.C.

 
Large Market

“The Big Dave Show (“Big Dave” Chandler, Chelsie Shinkle, Jason Statt and Ashley Hempfling) – WUBE, Cincinnati, Ohio*
“Jim, Deb & Kevin” (Jim Denny, Deborah Honeycutt and Kevin Freeman) – WFMS, Indianapolis, Ind. 
“Lexi & Banks” (“Lexi” Elena Abatgis and “Banks” Jared Danielson) – KUBL, Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo, Utah
“Obie & Ashley” (“Obie” Obed Diaz and Ashley Morrison) – WWKA, Orlando, Fla. 
“Ridder, Scott and Shannen” (“Ridder” Shaun Ridderbush, Scott Dolphin, and Shannen Oesterreich) – WMIL, Milwaukee-Racine, Wis.

 
Medium Market

“Brent Michaels” – KUZZ, Bakersfield, Calif. 
“Clay & Company” (Clay Moden, Rob Banks, and Val Townsend) – WYRK, Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.*
“Kenn McCloud” – KUZZ, Bakersfield, Calif. 
“Scott and Sarah in the Morning” (Scott Wynn and Sarah Kay) – WQMX, Akron, Ohio
“Steve & Gina In The Morning” (Steve Lundy and Gina Melton) – KXKT, Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb.- Iowa


Small Market

“Big Rick In The Morning” (“Big Rick” Daniels) – WGGC, Bowling Green, Ky.
“Bobby & Steve (and Mandi!)” (Bobby Cook, Steve Schwetman and Mandi Turner) – WKYQ, Paducah, Ky. 
“Brent and Candy – The Cat Pak Morning Show” (Brent Lane and Candy Cullerton) – WYCT, Pensacola, Fla. 
“Officer Don & DeAnn” (“Officer Don” Evans and DeAnn Stephens) – WBUL, Lexington-Fayette, Ky.*
“Steve And Jessica Mornings” (Steve Waters and Jessica Cash) – WFLS, Fredericksburg, Va.

FINALISTS FOR RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR (by market size):

Major Market

KNUC – Seattle-Tacoma, Wash.
KSCS – Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas*
KYGO – Denver-Boulder, Colo. 
WXTU – Philadelphia, Pa. 
WYCD – Detroit, Mich. 

Large Market

KNCI – Sacramento, Calif.*
KUBL – Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo, Utah
WMIL – Milwaukee-Racine, Wis. 
WUBE – Cincinnati, Ohio
WWKA – Orlando, Fla. 

Medium Market

KATM – Modesto, Calif. 
WHKO – Dayton, Ohio 
WQMX – Akron, Ohio
WUSY – Chattanooga, Tenn.*
WXCY – Wilmington, Del.

Small Market

KKNU – Eugene-Springfield, Ore.
WBYT – South Bend, Ind.
WKXC – Augusta, Ga.*
WXBQ – Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, Tenn.-Va.
WXFL – Florence-Muscle Shoals, Ala.

Carrie Underwood announces she will no longer host the CMA Awards

December 30, 2019

by Carla Hay

Carrie Underwood at the 53rd Annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on November 13, 2019. (Photo courtesy of ABC/Image Group LA)

Carrie Underwood decided to end 2019 with a surprising announcement: After 12 consecutive years of being a host of the Country Music Association Awards (which is televised in the U.S. on ABC), she will no longer emcee the show. Underwood began her CMA Awards hosting stint in 2008, with Brad Paisley as her co-host. Paisley co-hosted the show with Underwood until 2018. In 2019, Underwood hosted the show with Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton.

On December 30, 2019, Underwood posted an Instagram message that read: “One of the highlights of 2019 and of my entire career was being on stage with the legends that are Reba and Dolly. I’m so proud that we could celebrate the incredible female artists that are part of the legacy of country music, past present and future, and I’m thankful for the huge audiences all over the world that tuned in to see it. It’s hard to believe that it was my 12th year hosting and I will always treasure every show, from the 11 that I was so lucky to do with my partner in crime and friend for life, Brad Paisley, to sharing the stage with two of my all-time heroes. I’m so incredibly grateful to everyone involved with the CMA Awards all these years. It’s hard to imagine topping what we have accomplished together, so I’ve decided that it’s time to pass the hosting torch (at least for now!) to others that will cherish it and honor it as much as I do. I’ve got so many exciting things coming in the new year and beyond, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for all of us.”

The Country Music Association responded Twitter: “We love you, Carrie! You’ll always be family to us. Thanks for 12 amazing years hosting the #CMAawards. We look forward to working with you in 2020 and beyond to help spread Country Music to fans around the world!”

Underwood has won nine CMA Awards so far, including five for Female Vocalist of the Year. Although she won the CMA Chairman’s Award in 2016, she has yet to win the top CMA prize of Entertainer of the Year, which she has been nominated for twice so far: in 2016 and in 2019. In 2019, she was nominated for three CMA Awards but didn’t win any.

Underwood ‘s first book, “Find Your Path,” will be published by Dey Street Books on March 3, 2020.

2019 CMA Awards: Garth Brooks, Kacey Musgraves, Luke Combs, Maren Morris among winners

November 13, 2019

by Carla Hay

Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton
Carrie Underwood (center) hosted the 53rd Annual CMA Awards with special guest hosts Reba McEntire (left) Dolly Parton (right) at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, on November 13, 2019. (Photo courtesy of ABC/Image Group LA)

Garth Brooks, Kacey Musgrave, Luke Combs and Maren Morris were among the winners at the 53rd Annual CMA Awards, which were presented at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, on November 13, 2019. Carrie Underwood, with special guest hosts Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton, emceed the show, which was telecast in the U.S. on ABC.

Music producer Greg Kurstin and Maren Morris at the 53rd annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, on November 13, 2019. (Photo courtesy of ABC/Image Group LA)

Brooks was named Entertainer of the Year. Morris’ “Girl” won Album of the year. Musgraves took the prizes for Female Vocalist of the Year and Music Video of the Year (for “Rainbow”). Combs won Male Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year, for co-writing “Beautiful Crazy.” All of them performed on the show.

The show opened with a groundbreaking medley led by Underwood, McEntire and Dolly Parton featuring Terri Clark, Sara Evans, Crystal Gayle, The Highwomen (comprised of Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Morris and Amanda Shires), Martina McBride, Jennifer Nettles, Tanya Tucker and Gretchen Wilson.

Runaway June, Ashley McBryde, Little Big Town, Carly Pearce and Maddie & Tae at the 53rd annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, on November 13, 2019. (Photo courtesy of ABC/Image Group LA)

Another big collaboration was the supergroup of Kelsea Ballerini, Lindsay Ell, Little Big Town, Maddie & Tae, Ashley McBryde, Carly Pearce and Runaway June.

Other performers included Kelsea Ballerini; Brooks & Dunn with Brothers Osborne; Underwood; Brooks with Blake Shelton; Dan + Shay; Musgraves with Willie Nelson, Lady Antebellum with Halsey; Old Dominion; Blake Shelton; Thomas Rhett; Eric Church; Miranda Lambert; McEntire; Parton with for King & Country and Zach Williams; Pink with Chris Stapleton; and Keith Urban.

Kacey Musgraves and Willie Nelson at the 53rd annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, on November 13, 2019. (Photo courtesy of ABC/Image Group LA)

Nelson’s performance was his first CMA Awards performance since 2012, when he received the inaugural CMA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Kris Kristofferson received the 2019 Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Dierks Bentley, Sheryl Crow, Chris Janson and John Osborne teamed up to perform Kristofferson’s classic “Me & Bobby McGee.”

Dierks Bentley and Sheryl Crow at the 53rd annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, on November 13, 2019. (Photo courtesy of ABC/Image Group LA)

Presenters included Bobby Bones, Blanco Brown, Hannah Brown, Deana Carter, Kristin Chenoweth, Janie Fricke, Jim Gaffigan,  Vince Gill, Kathy Mattea, Martina McBride, Midland, Craig Morgan, Jennifer Nettles, Madelaine Petsch, J.B. Smoove, Pam Tillis, Morgan Wallen and Trisha Yearwood.

Luke Combs at the 53rd annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, on November 13, 2019. (Photo courtesy of ABC/Image Group LA)

The 53rd Annual CMA Awards was a production of the Country Music Association. Robert Deaton was the executive producer, Alex Rudzinski was the director and David Wild was the head writer.

Garth Brooks at the 53rd annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, on November 13, 2019. (Photo courtesy of ABC/Image Group LA)

Country artists Carly Pearce and Michael Ray hosted the CMA Awards pre-telecast, where CMA Musician of the Year was presented to the winner. In addition, the CMA Music Video of the Year and CMA Musical Event of the Year winners were recapped, having been announced November 13, live on “Good Morning America.” The CMA Broadcast Awards winners were also recognized during the pre-telecast.

Here is the complete list of winners and nominees for the 2019 CMA Awards:

*= winner

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

  • Garth Brooks*
  • Eric Church
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Keith Urban

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

Award goes to Artist, Producer(s), and Mix Engineer

  • “Burning Man” – Dierks Bentley featuring Brothers Osborne

Producers: Ross Copperman, Jon Randall, Arturo Buenahora, Jr.
Mix Engineer: F. Reid Shippen

  • “GIRL” – Maren Morris

Producer: Greg Kurstin
Mix Engineer: Greg Kurstin

  • “God’s Country” – Blake Shelton*

Producer: Scott Hendricks*
Mix Engineer: Justin Niebank*

  • “Millionaire” – Chris Stapleton

Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton
Mix Engineer: Vance Powell

  • “Speechless” – Dan + Shay

Producers: Dan Smyers, Scott Hendricks
Mix Engineer: Jeff Juliano

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Award goes to Artist and Producers

  • “Center Point Road” – Thomas Rhett

Producers: Dann Huff, Jesse Frasure, Thomas Rhett, Julian Bunetta, The Stereotypes, Cleve Wilson

  • “Cry Pretty” – Carrie Underwood

Producers: David Garcia, Jim Jonsin, Carrie Underwood

  •  “Dan + Shay” – Dan + Shay

Producers: Dan Smyers, Scott Hendricks

  • “Desperate Man” – Eric Church

Producers: Jay Joyce, Arturo Buenahora Jr.

  • “GIRL” – Maren Morris*

Producers: busbee, Maren Morris, Greg Kurstin*

SONG OF THE YEAR

Award goes to Songwriters

  • “Beautiful Crazy”*

Songwriters: Luke Combs, Wyatt B. Durrette III, Robert Williford*

  • “GIRL”

Songwriters: Maren Morris, Sarah Aarons, Greg Kurstin

  • “God’s Country”

Songwriters: Devin Dawson, Jordan Schmidt, Michael Hardy

  • “Rainbow”

Songwriters: Natalie Hemby, Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves

  • “Tequila”

Songwriters: Dan Smyers, Nicolle Galyon, Jordan Reynolds

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

  • Kelsea Ballerini
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Maren Morris
  • Kacey Musgraves*
  • Carrie Underwood

MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

  • Dierks Bentley
  • Luke Combs*
  • Thomas Rhett
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Keith Urban

VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR

  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town
  • Midland
  • Old Dominion*
  • Zac Brown Band

 
VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR

  • Brooks & Dunn
  • Brothers Osborne
  • Dan + Shay*
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Maddie & Tae

 
MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR

Award goes to Artists and Producer(s)

  • “All My Favorite People” – Maren Morris featuring Brothers Osborne

Producers: Maren Morris, busbee

  • “Brand New Man” – Brooks & Dunn (with Luke Combs)

Producer: Dann Huff

  • “Dive Bar” – Garth Brooks & Blake Shelton

Producer: Garth Brooks

  • “Old Town Road (Remix)” – Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus*

Producers: YoungKio, Michael Trent Reznor, Atticus Matthew Ross*

  • “What Happens In A Small Town” – Brantley Gilbert & Lindsay Ell

Producer: Dann Huff
 
MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR

  • Jenee Fleenor, Fiddle*
  • Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar
  • Mac McAnally, Guitar
  • Ilya Toshinsky, Banjo/Guitar
  • Derek Wells, Guitar

 
MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Award goes to Artist(s) and Director

  • “Burning Man” – Dierks Bentley featuring Brothers Osborne

Director: Wes Edwards

  • “GIRL” – Maren Morris

Director: Dave Meyers

  • “God’s Country” – Blake Shelton

Director: Sophie Muller

  • “Rainbow” – Kacey Musgraves*

Director: Hannah Lux Davis*

  • “Some of It” – Eric Church

Director:  Reid Long

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR

  • Cody Johnson
  • Ashley McBryde*
  • Midland
  • Carly Pearce
  • Morgan Wallen

2019 CMA Awards: Carrie Underwood returns as host, with guest hosts Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton

August 19, 2019

The following is a press release from the Country Music Association and ABC:

The Country Music Association has announced Carrie Underwood will host “The 53rd Annual CMA Awards” with special guest hosts and Country Music Hall of Fame members Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton, celebrating legendary women in Country Music throughout the ceremony. Country Music’s Biggest Night(TM) broadcasts live from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Wednesday, November 13, 2019 (8:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC.

Combined, the three hosts hold 124 CMA Awards nominations and 22 total wins, 11 of which are for Female Vocalist of the Year. In addition, the three superstars hold a combined 14 nominations in the Entertainer of the Year category, with Parton receiving the award in 1978 and McEntire winning in 1986.

“It’s an incredible honor to welcome Carrie, Reba and Dolly to the CMA Awards stage this year,” says Sarah Trahern, CMA chief executive officer. “In addition to awarding the year’s best and brightest in the genre, ‘The 53rd Annual CMA Awards’ will celebrate the legacy of women within Country Music, and we couldn’t think of a more dynamic group of women to host the show.”

Final nominees for “The 53rd Annual CMA Awards” will be announced WEDNESDAY, AUG. 28, live during ABC’s “Good Morning America” from their Times Square studio in New York and via livestream following the broadcast.

Underwood is a true multiformat, multimedia superstar. She has won seven CMA Awards, has sold 64 million records worldwide and recorded 26 No. 1 singles, 13 of which she co-wrote. Underwood has co-hosted the CMA Awards since 2008, creating an unforgettable legacy, from celebrating the 50th anniversary of the CMA Awards in 2016 to countless other highlights across the legendary broadcast’s history.

“The 53rd Annual CMA Awards” is a production of the Country Music Association. Robert Deaton is the executive producer. Alex Rudzinski is the director, and David Wild is the head writer.

About CMA Awards

The first “CMA Awards Banquet and Show” was held in 1967. The following year, the CMA Awards was broadcast for the first time – making it the longest running, annual music awards program on network television. The CMA Awards have aired on ABC since 2006. ABC is the network home of the CMA Awards and CMA’s other two television properties, “CMA Fest” and “CMA Country Christmas.”

2019 ACM Awards: first wave of performers, radio winners announced

March 12, 2019

by Carla Hay

ACM Awards

Brothers Osborne, Kane Brown, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Reba McEntire, Maren Morris, Thomas Rhett, Chris Stapleton and George Strait are in the first group of artists announced to perform at the 54th Academy of Country Music Awards, which will take place April 7 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. CBS will have the U.S. telecast of the show, which will be hosted by McEntire. As previously announced, Jason Aldean, who will also perform on the show, will receive the ACM Awards’ first Artist of the Decade prize. Stapleton and Dan + Shay are the show’s leading nominees, with six nods each.

Tickets for the ceremony are available for purchase now at www.axs.com.  Ultimate ACM Awards® VIP Experience and the Ultimate ACM Awards VIP Travel Packages are available from CID Entertainment. The Academy of Country Music’s social media can be found on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Meanwhile, the radio winners of the 2019 ACM Awards were announced on February 28:

*=winner

NATIONAL ON-AIR PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR (tie within category increased nominees)
• Cody Alan – CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan
• Kix Brooks – American Country Countdown
• Darren Wilhite and Tim Wall – Wilhite & Wall
Lon Helton – Country Countdown USA with Lon Helton*
• Tracy Lawrence – Honky Tonkin’ with Tracy Lawrence
• Lorianne Crook and Charlie Chase – The Crook & Chase Countdown

ON-AIR PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR – MAJOR MARKET
• Chuck, Rachael & Grunwald in the Morning – WYCD-FM (Detroit, MI)
• Katie Neal – WNSH-FM (New York, NY)
• The Rob + Holly Show – WYCD-FM (Detroit, MI)
Tanner in the Morning – Rob Tanner, Catherine Lane, Chris Allen, Captain Jim, and Mimi – WSOC-FM (Charlotte, NC)*
• Tracy Dixon, Guy David & Patrick Knight – KYGO-FM (Denver, CO)

ON-AIR PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR – LARGE MARKET
Jim, Deb & Kevin – WFMS-FM (Indianapolis, IN)*
• Lexi And Banks – KUBL-FM (Salt Lake City, UT)
• Q Morning Crew with Mike and Janie – WQDR-FM (Raleigh, NC)
• Ridder, Scott and Shannen – WMIL-FM (Milwaukee, WI)
• Tige & Daniel – Tige Rogers, Daniel Baker, Mari Mueller – WSIX-FM (Nashville, TN)

ON-AIR PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR – MEDIUM MARKET
• Kenn McCloud – KUZZ-AM/FM (Bakersfield, CA)
• Brent Michaels – KUZZ-AM/FM (Bakersfield, CA)
Mo & StykMan Show – WUSY-FM (Chattanooga, TN)*
• Roger, Julie and DJ Thee Trucker in the Morning – WPCV-FM (Lakeland, FL)
• Tom & Becky – WBBS-FM (Syracuse, NY)

ON-AIR PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR – SMALL MARKET
• Adam & Jen in the Morning – KIOK-FM (Richland, WA)
Brent Lane and Candy Cullerton – WYCT-FM (Pensacola, FL)*
• The Q Crew with Jason and Ashley on Q100.3 – KRWQ-FM (Medford, OR)
• The Roger & Corliss Morning Show – KORA-FM (Bryan, TX)
• Scotty & Catryna in the Morning – KCLR-FM (Columbia, MO)

RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR – MAJOR MARKET
• KKBQ-FM – Houston, TX
• KNIX-FM – Phoenix, AZ*
• KPLX-FM – Dallas, TX
• KSCS-FM – Dallas, TX
• WYCD-FM – Detroit, MI

RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR – LARGE MARKET
• KAJA-FM – San Antonio, TX
• KUBL-FM – Salt Lake City, UT*
• WLHK-FM – Indianapolis, IN
• WMIL-FM – Milwaukee, WI
• WWKA-FM – Orlando, FL

RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR – MEDIUM MARKET
• KATM-FM – Stockton, CA
• KUZZ-AM/FM – Bakersfield, CA
• KXKT-FM – Omaha, NE
• WHKO-FM – Dayton, OH
• WIVK-FM – Knoxville, TN*

RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR – SMALL MARKET
• KHAY-FM – Ventura, CA*
• KKNU-FM – Eugene, OR
• KORA-FM – Bryan, TX
• WGSQ-FM – Cookeville, TN
• WYCT-FM – Pensacola, FL

2018 Kennedy Center Honors: Cher, Reba McEntire, Philip Glass, Wayne Shorter, ‘Hamilton’ creators are the honorees

July 25, 2018

The following is a press release from the Kennedy Center:

The Kennedy Center Honors announced today that its honorees for 2018 will be actress Cher, composer and pianist Philip Glass, country music entertainer Reba McEntire and jazz saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter. Additionally, the co-creators of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “Hamilton” – writer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and music director Alex Lacamoire – will receive a unique Kennedy Center Honors as trailblazing creators of a transformative work that defies category. These artists will receive tributes during THE 41st ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS, to be broadcast Wednesday, Dec. 26 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. CBS has broadcast the special each year since its debut 41 years ago.

“The Kennedy Center Honors recognizes exceptional artists who have made enduring and indelible marks on our culture,” stated Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. “Cher is the consummate star, wowing generations of fans with her distinctive voice, blockbuster albums and glittering on-screen presence; Philip Glass is a modern-day Mozart whose works across opera, symphony, chamber music and film define contemporary music and simply transfix us; country songstress Reba McEntire has inspired us over five decades with her powerhouse voice and music that conveys heartfelt, heartwarming honesty; Wayne Shorter is a seminal artist, defying categorization while carrying forward the mantle of jazz; and the creators of ‘Hamilton’ have literally and figuratively changed the face of American culture with daringly original, breathtakingly relevant work.”

“The world looks to America for its creative instincts and artistic courage. This year’s slate of Honorees represents the pinnacle of our nation’s originality and the rich mosaic of diverse perspectives and art forms that have come to define who we are as a people,” said Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter.

“As the national cultural center, the Kennedy Center is guided by its artistic mission to pay tribute to the past, to offer a platform for artists making transformative impact in the present, and to shepherd creative innovators as we look toward the future,” Ms. Rutter continued. “Historically, the Kennedy Center Honors have celebrated lifetime achievement. In recognizing ‘Hamilton’ and its co-creators, the Kennedy Center is making an unprecedented statement about an unprecedented work – a work that transcends cultural boundaries and tells America’s story in a powerful and contemporary way.”

In a star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage on Dec. 2, the 2018 Honorees will be saluted by today’s leading performers from New York, Hollywood and the arts capitals of the world, accepting the recognition and gratitude of their peers through performances and tributes.

The Honors recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts – whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television – and are confirmed by the executive committee of the Center’s board of trustees. The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence. The Honors are not designated by art form or category of artistic achievement; over the years, the selection process has produced a balance among the various arts and artistic disciplines.

Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment will executive produce the special for the fourth consecutive year. Also, Weiss returns as director. The Kennedy Center Honors founding producer is George Stevens, Jr.

ABOUT THE HONOREES

Cher (Singer, Actress)

A worldwide superstar and household name for more than 50 years, Cher has conquered more challenges than a handful of other talents put together – recording, concerts, film and Broadway acting, television and directing. Along the way, she has been richly rewarded with an Academy Award®, a GRAMMY®, an Emmy®, three Golden Globes, a Cannes Film Festival Award and a People’s Choice Award.

Beginning as a studio backing singer in the 1960s, Cher met fledgling producer Sonny Bono, and they quickly became pop sensations with the worldwide smash “I Got You Babe.” Their attention-grabbing hair and clothes were an early hint of Cher’s subsequent profound influence on the world of fashion. The couple’s popularity peaked with “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour” television series until they split up in the mid-1970s. In 1982, Cher took a huge gamble to appear on Broadway in “Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.” It worked, however, and prompted a hugely successful acting career, which included “Mask,” “Silkwood” and “Mermaids” and culminated in an Academy Award® for Best Actress in “Moonstruck.”

Cher stunned the music world with a complete musical reinvention in the mid-1980s, highlighted by her controversial hit video for “If I Could Turn Back Time.” But it would be her venture into the world of dance music with the GRAMMY® Award-winning “Believe” in 1998 that eclipsed it all. “Believe” made Cher the oldest woman (at 52) to have a #1 hit in the Hot 100 rock era. It made her the only female artist to have top 10 hits in every decade from the 1960s to 2000s. The subsequent three-year “Farewell Tour” played to more than three million fans, was captured in an Emmy®Award-winning TV special and is one of the most successful tours in history.

Cher remains very active as a stage performer, actress and recording artist with a starring role in the current movie “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” a new album scheduled for September release, and a stage musical about her life debuting on Broadway in December.

Philip Glass (Composer, Pianist)

Born in Baltimore, Md., Philip Glass is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Juilliard School. In the early 1960s, Glass spent two years of intensive study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and, while there, earned money by transcribing Ravi Shankar’s Indian music into Western notation. By 1974, Glass had a number of innovative projects creating a large collection of new music for the Philip Glass Ensemble and for the Mabou Mines Theater Company. This period culminated in Music in Twelve Parts and the landmark opera “Einstein on the Beach,” for which he collaborated with Robert Wilson. Since then, Glass has expanded his repertoire to include music for opera, dance, theater, chamber ensemble, orchestra and film. His scores have received Academy Award nominations (“Kundun,” “The Hours,” “Notes on a Scandal”) and a Golden Globe (“The Truman Show”). In the past few years, several new works were unveiled, including an opera on the death of Walt Disney, “The Perfect American” (co-commissioned by Teatro Real, Madrid and the English National Opera); a new touring production of “Einstein”; the publication of Glass’ memoir, Words Without Music, by Liveright Books; and the premiere of the revised version of Glass’ opera “Appomattox,” in collaboration with librettist Christopher Hampton, at the Washington National Opera in November 2015.

Glass celebrated his 80th birthday on Jan. 31, 2017 with the world premiere of “Symphony No. 11” at Carnegie Hall. His 80th birthday season featured curated programming around the globe, including the U.S. premieres of operas “The Trial” and “The Perfect American,” and world premieres of several new works, including “Piano Concerto No. 3,” “String Quartet No. 8” and his first “Piano Quintet.”

Other recent accolades include the U.S. National Medal of the Arts, presented to Glass by President Barack Obama in 2015. In 2016, Glass was named the 11th recipient of the Glenn Gould Prize, a lifetime achievement award given to prominent musicians. Also, he was honored to hold Carnegie Hall’s Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair throughout the 2017-2018 season.

On Jan. 10, 2019, the Los Angeles Philharmonic will present the world premiere of Glass’ “Symphony No. 12,” based on David Bowie’s album Lodger, and a completion of three symphonies based on Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy. Glass continues to perform solo piano evenings, chamber music evenings with world renowned musicians and regularly appears with the Philip Glass Ensemble.

Reba McEntire (Country Music Entertainer)

Multi-media entertainment mogul Reba McEntire has become a household name through a flourishing career that spans music, television, film, theater and retail. Her album Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope topped both the Billboard Country and Christian/Gospel charts, bolstering McEntire’s successful record of 35 #1 singles and over 56 million albums sold worldwide across four decades. The double-disc collection earned McEntire her third GRAMMY®Award and first GMA Dove Award. The Country Music Hall of Fame, Grand Ole Opry and Hollywood Bowl member has also won 16 ACM Awards, 15 American Music Awards, nine People’s Choice Awards and six CMA Awards. Her leadership and philanthropic endeavors have been recognized with the Andrea Bocelli Foundation Humanitarian Award, Leadership Music Dale Franklin Award, the Music Biz Chairman’s Award, the National Artistic Achievement Award from the U.S. Congress, and joining the Horatio Alger Association.

McEntire returned for the 15th time to host the ACM Awards in April 2018 and led the 2017 ratings-high CMA Country Christmas television special. In 2005 she partnered with Dillard’s to launch her own lifestyle brand, and launched the REBA by Justin™ collection at select retailers nationwide for holiday 2017. The Oklahoma native is an acclaimed actress with 11 movie credits to her name, a lead on Broadway in “Annie Get Your Gun,” and starred in the six-season television sitcom “Reba.” As part of the longest-running country act in the Colosseum’s history, she will join with superstar pals for another round of “REBA, BROOKS & DUNN: Together in Vegas at Caesars.”

Wayne Shorter (Jazz Saxophonist, Composer)

Wayne Shorter has been called a genius, a trailblazer, a visionary and one of the world’s greatest composers. Born in Newark, N.J. in 1933, he grew up poring through comic books and imagining adventures in undiscovered universes. He studied music at New York University, and upon graduating, he was drafted into the U.S. Army.

In 1959 Shorter joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers as a saxophonist, eventually composing for the group and becoming its music director. After four years, Miles Davis invited him to join his second historical quintet, with Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and Ron Carter. This marked the beginning of Shorter’s exploration of uncharted territories that led him to form, with pianist Joe Zawinul, the world’s first fusion band, Weather Report.

Over the next decade, Short produced a succession of jazz albums for the Columbia label. During this period, he became known for collaborations with greats across genres, including Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Carlos Santana and Don Henley. In 1996 he released High Life, which received the GRAMMY® for best contemporary jazz album. Two years later, he reunited with longtime friend Herbie Hancock for an intimate duet recording entitled “1+1,” winning another GRAMMYfor their collaboration. In 2000 he formed his first acoustic group under his name, the Wayne Shorter Quartet, featuring Danilo Shorter, John Patitucci and Brian Blade, which still performs today. At the same time, Shorter began exploring the world of classical music. He paired with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw, and the BBC Chamber Orchestra, unveiling his new symphonic repertoire.

Shorter is the recipient of the NEA Jazz Masters Award (1998), the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award (2015) and, most recently, the prestigious Polar Music Prize (2017). With a total of 11 GRAMMY Awards under his belt, Shorter refuses to slow down. Currently, in collaboration with Esperanza Spalding, he is composing his first opera, “Iphigenia,” his ultimate expression honoring the nobility of humanity – to awaken one’s inherent power. Wayne Shorter believes that there are no limits: “To me, jazz means: I dare you.”

The Co-Creators of “Hamilton”

Lin-Manuel Miranda (Writer and Actor)

Lin-Manuel Miranda is a Pulitzer Prize, GRAMMY®, Emmy® and Tony® Award-winning composer, lyricist and actor. He is the creator and original star of Broadway’s Tony Award-winning shows “Hamilton” and “In the Heights.” Additionally, his Broadway credits include “Bring It On: The Musical” (co-composer/co-lyricist, Tony nomination for Best Musical) and “West Side Story” (2009, Spanish translations). A 2015 MacArthur Foundation Award recipient, Miranda composed songs for Disney’s “Moana” (2017 Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Song). He has actively supported the relief efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in September 2017, creating the benefit single “Almost Like Praying.” TV/film credits include “Saturday Night Live” (2017 Emmy nomination, Guest Actor), “Sesame Street,” “The Electric Company,” “House,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “DuckTales,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “200 Cartas,” “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” and the upcoming 2018 holiday movie “Mary Poppins Returns.” In addition to his work as an artist, Miranda has worked with the Hispanic Federation since Hurricane Maria to support the rebuilding of Puerto Rico, and most recently he announced the launch of the Flamboyan Arts Fund to provide grants for artists, cultural institutions and programs on the island. Miranda received his B.A. from Wesleyan University in 2002. He lives with his family in New York City.

Thomas Kail (Director)

Thomas Kail received the 2016 Tony Award® for his direction of the Broadway production of “Hamilton.” He received a Tony nomination for his direction of “In the Heights.” Additional Broadway credits include the new plays “Lombardi” and “Magic/Bird.” Other credits include the world premiere of “Hamilton,” “Kings,” “Tiny Beautiful Things” and “Dry Powder” at the Public Theater; the world premiere of “In the Heights,” “Broke-ology” and the world premiere of “When I Come to Die” at Lincoln Center Theater; the world premiere of “Daphne’s Dive” at the Signature Theatre; Randy Newman’s “Faust,” as well as “The Wiz” at New York City Center; the world premiere of “The Tutors” at Second Stage Uptown; the world premiere of “Broke-ology” at Williamstown Theater Festival; the world premiere of A.R. Gurney’s “Family Furniture” at The Flea; and the national tour of “In the Heights.” Kail is the co-creator and director of the Hip Hop improv group Freestyle Love Supreme. He won the 2016 Emmy® for his direction of “Grease Live.” Also, Kail is the recipient of a Drama Desk Award, an Obie, a Callaway Award, the Lucille Lortel Award and the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University.

Andy Blankenbuehler (Choreographer)

Andy Blankenbuehler is a proud three-time Tony Award® winner for his choreography in the Broadway productions of “Hamilton,” “Bandstand” and “In The Heights.” The recent production of “Bandstand” (director/choreographer) also received the Drama Desk and Chita Rivera Award for Best Choreography. Additional Broadway credits include “Bring It On” (Tony nomination), “9 to 5” (Tony nomination), “The People in the Picture,” “The Apple Tree,” “Annie,” and the recent revival of “CATS.” Other theatrical work includes “Desperately Seeking Susan” (West End), the world premiere of the new musical “FLY” (Dallas Theatre Center), “The Wiz” (City Center Encores), “A Little Princess” (Andrew Lippa), and the recent international tour of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Upcoming projects include the new musical “Only Gold” with British singer/songwriter Kate Nash.

On television, Mr. Blankenbuehler’s work has appeared on “Dirty Dancing,” “America’s Got Talent,” “So You Think You Can Dance,” “The Sopranos,” MTV, “Sesame Street” featuring Janelle Monae, and many commercials. He has staged concert work for both Elton John and Bette Midler, and he conceived, directed and choreographed the hit Caesars Palace production “Nights on Broadway.” His work will be seen on the big screen next year in a yet-to-be-titled film with writer/director Adam McKay, starring Christian Bale and Steve Carell.

As a performer, Mr. Blankenbuehler danced on Broadway in “Fosse,” “Contact,” “Man of La Mancha,” “Saturday Night Fever,” “Steel Pier,” “Big” and “Guys and Dolls.” Originally from Cincinnati, Mr. Blankenbuehler resides in New York City with his wife, Elly, and two children, Luca and Sofia. He is a recipient of a special 2015 Drama Desk Award for his achievement in the theater.

Alex Lacamoire (Music Supervisor/Orchestrator/Co-Arranger)

Alex Lacamoire is a three-time Tony Award® and three-time GRAMMY® winner for his work on the Broadway musicals “Hamilton,” “Dear Evan Hansen” and “In The Heights.” His film credits include “The Greatest Showman” (executive music producer) and “Incredibles 2” (arranger/orchestrator). As music director, arranger and/or orchestrator on Broadway, he has worked on “Annie” (2011 Broadway revival), “Bring It On,” “The People In The Picture,” “9 to 5” (Drama Desk and Grammy nominations), “Legally Blonde,” “High Fidelity” and “Wicked.” Other theatrical credits include “Bat Boy: The Musical,” “Godspell” (2001 National Tour), orchestrations for the Rockettes and the Academy Awards. He is an Emmy-nominated composer for “Sesame Street.”

2018 ACM Awards: performers and presenters announced

April 9, 2018

ACM Awards

Carrie Underwood at the 52nd Annual ACM Awards at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on April 2, 2017.
Carrie Underwood at the 52nd Annual ACM Awards at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on April 2, 2017. (Photo by Francis Specker/CBS)

The following is a press release from the Academy of Country Music:

The Academy of Country Music® revealed today that thirteen-time ACM Award® winner Carrie Underwood will perform the world television premiere of her soon-to-be-released single live on the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards™, joining a star-studded lineup of performers and presenters.

Underwood is nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year as well as Vocal Event of the Year for “The Fighter” with Keith Urban. The 53rd ACM Awards, hosted by Reba McEntire, will broadcast LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 8:00 PM ET/PT on the CBS Television Network.

Previously announced ACM Awards performers include Lauren Alaina, Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Kane Brown, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Kelly Clarkson, Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Midland, Maren Morris, Jon Pardi, Bebe Rexha, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and Brett Young. Previously announced presenters include David Boreanaz, Drew Brees, AJ Buckley, Cam, Sam Elliot, Eve, Ashton Kutcher, Dustin Lynch, Nancy O’Dell, Rebecca Romijn, Max Thieriot and Lindsey Vonn.

Tickets to the ACM Awards are now on sale at www.axs.com. For more information on the ACM Awards and all ACM events including ACM Party for a Cause®, visit www.ACMcountry.com and www.PartyForaCause.com. You can like Academy of Country Music on Facebook or follow on Twitter at @ACMawards and Instagram @ACMAwards for more immediate updates.

About the Academy of Country Music Awards
The 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards™ is dedicated to honoring and showcasing the biggest names and emerging talent in the country music industry. The show is produced for television by dick clark productions and will broadcast LIVE from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 8:00 PM live ET/PT on the CBS Television Network. Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, R.A. Clark, Barry Adelman and Mark Bracco are executive producers. Pete Fisher is executive producer for the Academy of Country Music.

2018 ACM Awards: Chris Stapleton leads with 8 nominations; Reba McEntire returns as host

March 1, 2018

ACM Awards

Chris Stapleton
Chris Stapleton at the 11th Annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on August 23, 2017 (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for ACM)

The following is a press release from the Academy of Country Music:

The host and nominations were announced today for the 53RD Academy of Country Music Awards, Country Music’s Party of the Year(R), honoring country music’s superstars and hottest emerging talent. Multimedia superstar and 16-time ACM Award(R) winner Reba McEntire will return to host live from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Sunday, April 15 (8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network. This year’s show will mark Reba’s 15th time hosting the ceremony, last appearing in 2012 with Blake Shelton.

In addition to surprising audiences with the news that she will host, Reba appeared live today on “CBS This Morning” to announce this year’s ACM Award nominees for Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, Vocal Duo of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year, as well as nominees for Song of the Year on Facebook Live. “Entertainment Tonight” host Nancy O’Dell announced additional nominees on ETonline.com.

Chris Stapleton leads with eight nominations in five categories, including his first nod for Entertainer of the Year. Stapleton is also nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year, and twice, as both artist and producer, in both the Album of the Year and Single Record of the Year categories; he received the Album of the Year nod for From a Room: Volume 1, and the Single Record of the Year nod for “Broken Halos.” He is also nominated twice in the Song of the Year category, both as artist and songwriter, for “Whiskey and You.”

Reigning Male Vocalist of the Year Thomas Rhett earned six nominations, including his second in the Male Vocalist of the Year category. Rhett is also nominated twice, as an artist and producer, for Album of the Year for Life Changes and Vocal Event of the Year for “Craving You” (featuring Maren Morris). Lastly, he is nominated for his first Music Video of the Year award for “Marry Me,” along with director TK McKamy and producer Dan Atchison.

Keith Urban earned five nominations including his eighth nod for Entertainer of the Year and 11th nod for Male Vocalist of the Year. Urban is also nominated for Song of the Year for “Female,” and twice, as both artist and producer, in the Vocal Event of the Year category for “The Fighter” (featuring Carrie Underwood). Urban won Top New Male Vocalist of the Year in 2000 and Top Male Vocalist of the Year in 2004 and 2005. A win in the Entertainer of the Year category would also make him the eighth-ever ACM Triple Crown winner.

Songwriter Shane McAnally received five nominations. He is nominated as Songwriter of the Year, and twice as songwriter in the Song of the Year category for Sam Hunt’s “Body Like A Back Road” and Keith Urban’s “Female.” McAnally is also nominated in the Album of the Year category for Old Dominion’s album Happy Endings, and in the Single Record of the Year category as a producer on Midland’s single “Drinkin’ Problems.”

Reigning Female Vocalist of the Year Miranda Lambert received four nominations, including her 12th nod for Female Vocalist of the Year. If she wins, it will be her ninth consecutive win in this category. She is the current record holder for most consecutive wins in the Female Vocalist of the Year category. Miranda currently is tied for the winningest artist in ACM history with 29 awards along with Brooks & Dunn. This year, she is also nominated twice, both as artist and songwriter, in the Song of the Year category for “Tin Man,” and for Video of the Year for “We Should Be Friends.”

Reigning New Female Vocalist of the Year Maren Morris received four nominations, including her second nod in the Female Vocalist of the Year category. Morris is also nominated twice, as an artist and producer, in the Vocal Event of the Year category for “Dear Hate” (featuring Vince Gill). She is nominated again in the category with Thomas Rhett for “Craving You.”

Sam Hunt received three nominations for his hit “Body Like A Back Road”: one nod in the Single Record of the Year category, and two, both as artist and songwriter, in the Song of the Year category.

Reigning Vocal Group of the Year Little Big Town earned their 12th nomination in the category. This would be their fourth consecutive win and fifth overall. They are also nominated for Album of the Year for Breaker and Single Record of the Year for “Better Man.”

First-time Academy of Country Music Award nominee Midland received three nominations for Vocal Group of the Year, New Vocal Duo/Group of the Year, and Single Record of the Year for “Drinkin’ Problem.”

Eighteen-time ACM Award winner Tim McGraw and 16-time ACM Award winner Faith Hill received their first-ever nomination as a duo in the Vocal Duo of the Year category.

Reba McEntire received her 16th nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year. This would be her eighth win in the category.

The following is the list of final nominees. The Academy of Country Music’s professional membership selects the nominees and winners of the Academy of Country Music Awards. The full list of nominations is available on ACMcountry.com and CBS.com.

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

  • Jason Aldean
  • Garth Brooks
  • Luke Bryan
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Keith Urban

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

  • Kelsea Ballerini
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Reba McEntire
  • Maren Morris
  • Carrie Underwood

MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

  • Jason Aldean
  • Thomas Rhett
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Keith Urban
  • Chris Young

VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR

  • Brothers Osborne
  • Dan + Shay
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • LOCASH
  • Tim McGraw & Faith Hill

VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR

  • Lady Antebellum
  • LANCO
  • Little Big Town
  • Midland
  • Old Dominion

NEW FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

  • Lauren Alaina
  • Danielle Bradbery
  • Carly Pearce
  • RaeLynn

NEW MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

  • Kane Brown
  • Luke Combs
  • Devin Dawson
  • Russell Dickerson
  • Brett Young

NEW VOCAL DUO OR GROUP OF THE YEAR

  • High Valley
  • LANCO
  • LOCASH
  • Midland
  • Runaway June

ALBUM OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company-Label(s)]

  • Breaker – Little Big Town Producer: Jay Joyce Record Label: Capitol Records Nashville
  • California Sunrise – Jon Pardi Producers: Bart Butler, Jon Pardi Record Label: Capitol Records Nashville
  • From A Room: Vol. 1 – Chris Stapleton Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton Record Label: Mercury Records
  • Happy Endings – Old Dominion Producer: Shane McAnally Record Label: RCA
  • Life Changes – Thomas Rhett Producers: Julian Bunetta, Jesse Frasure, Dann Huff, Joe London, Thomas Rhett Record Label: The Valory Music Co.

SINGLE RECORD OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company-Label(s)]

  • “Better Man” – Little Big Town Producer: Jay Joyce Record Label: Capitol Records Nashville
  • “Body Like A Back Road” – Sam Hunt Producer: Zach Crowell Record Label: MCA Nashville
  • “Broken Halos” – Chris Stapleton Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton Record Label: Mercury Records
  • “Drinkin’ Problem” – Midland Producers: Dann Huff, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne Record Label: Big Machine Records
  • “I’ll Name The Dogs” – Blake Shelton Producer: Scott Hendricks Record Label: Warner Bros.

SONG OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Songwriter(s)/Publisher(s)/Artist(s)]

  • “Body Like a Back Road” – Sam Hunt Songwriters: Zach Crowell, Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne Publishers: Universal Music Corp./Sam Hunt Publishing, Highly Combustible Music/I Love Pizza Music,/Songs of Southside Independent Music Publishing/Who Wants to Buy My Publishing/Atlas Music Publishing, Anderson Fork In The Road Music/Smackville Music/Smack Songs LLC, Smack Hits
  • “Female” – Keith Urban Songwriters: Ross Copperman, Nicolle Galyon and Shane McAnally Publishers: EMI Blackwood Music Inc./Rezolant Music/Plain Jane Songs, Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp./A Girl Named Charlie (BMI), Smack Hits/Smack Songs LLC (GMR)
  • “Tin Man” – Miranda Lambert Songwriters: Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert Jon Randall Publishers: Sony/ATV Tree Publishing/Pink Dog Publishing (BMI), Beat Up Ford Publishing (BMI), BMG Platinum Songs (BMI)/SWMBMGBMI/Lonesome Vinyl Music
  • “Whiskey And You” – Chris Stapleton Songwriters: Lee Thomas Miller, Chris Stapleton Publishers: WB Music Corp./New Sea Gayle Music (ASCAP), Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp./New Sea Gayle Music (BMI)

VIDEO OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Producer(s)/Director(s)/Artist(s)]

  • “Black” – Dierks Bentley Director: Wes Edwards Producer: Max A. Butler
  • “It Ain’t My Fault” – Brothers Osborne Director: Wes Edwards, Ryan Silver Producer: Tiffany Davies
  • “Legends” – Kelsea Ballerini Director: Jeff Venable Producer: Ben Skipworth
  • “Marry Me” – Thomas Rhett Director: TK McKamy Producer: Dan Atchison
  • “We Should Be Friends” – Miranda Lambert Director: Trey Fanjoy Producer: April Dace

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR*(Off Camera Award)

  • Rhett Akins
  • Ashley Gorley
  • Hillary Lindsey
  • Shane McAnally
  • Josh Osborne

VOCAL EVENT OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company-Label(s)]

  • “Craving You” – Thomas Rhett Featuring Maren Morris Producers: Julian Bunetta, Dann Huff, Joe London, Thomas Rhett Record Label: The Valory Music Co.
  • “Dear Hate” – Maren Morris featuring Vince Gill Producers: Brad Hill, Maren Morris Record Label: Columbia Nashville
  • “Funny (How Time Slips Away)” – Glen Campbell And Willie Nelson Producer: Carl Jackson Record Label: Universal Music Enterprises
  • “The Fighter” – Keith Urban featuring Carrie Underwood Producers: Busbee, Keith Urban Record Label: Capitol Nashville
  • “What Ifs” – Kane Brown Featuring Lauren Alaina Producer: Dann Huff Record Label: RCA Nashville

IMPORTANT NOTE: Award counts for artists reflect categories in which they have been recognized as individuals or as part of their duo or group. In some cases, an artist may receive more than one nomination which factors into their official count.

Multimedia entertainment mogul and mom, Reba McEntire has become a household name through a successful career that spans across music, television, film, theater and retail. She capped off 2017 with the newly-packaged album “My Kind of Christmas,” featuring collaborations with Vince Gill and Amy Grant, Darius Rucker, Lauren Daigle, Kelly Clarkson and Trisha Yearwood. McEntire also marked her 13th summit as “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” topped both the Billboard Country and Christian/Gospel charts, bolstering her successful record of 35 #1 singles and over 56 million albums sold worldwide. The double-disc collection, released jointly on Nash Icon Records/Capitol Christian Music Group, earned her a GRAMMY(R) Award for Best Roots Gospel Album and her first GMA Dove Award for Bluegrass/Country/Roots Album of the Year. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member has won 15 American Music Awards, 16 ACM Awards, 9 People’s Choice Awards, 6 CMA Awards and 3 GRAMMY Awards, in addition to other philanthropic and leadership honors, such as the Horatio Alger Association and induction alongside her mom in the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame.

During her 2011 All The Women I Am Tour, Pollstar and Billboard’s Boxscore named McEntire the #1 female country touring artist with a combined total of over nine million tickets sold in her career. She is part of the longest-running country act in the history of the Colosseum at Caesars: Reba, Brooks & Dunn: Together in Vegas, which returns in March 2018. In 2005 McEntire partnered with Dillard’s to launch her own lifestyle brand, and she separately launched the REBA by Justin(TM) collection at select retailers nationwide. She most recently has been named the first woman and musician to portray KFC’s iconic founder, Colonel Harland Sanders, in the brand’s celebrity colonel campaign to launch KFC Smoky Mountain BBQ fried chicken. The Oklahoma native is an acclaimed actress with 11 movie credits to her name, a lead role on Broadway in “Annie Get Your Gun,” and starred in the six-season television sitcom, “Reba.”

About the Academy of Country Music Awards

The 53RD ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS(TM) is dedicated to honoring and showcasing the biggest names and emerging talent in the country music industry. The show is produced for television by dick clark productions. Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, R.A. Clark, Barry Adelman and Mark Bracco are executive producers. Pete Fisher is executive producer for the Academy of Country Music.

Tickets to the ACM Awards are now on sale at www.axs.com. For more information on the ACM Awards and all ACM events including ACM Party for a Cause(R), visit www.ACMcountry.com and www.PartyForaCause.com. You can like Academy of Country Music on Facebook or follow on Twitter at @ACMawards and Instagram @ACMAwards for more immediate updates.

RATING: To Be Announced

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