With Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, and Lady Antebellum taking home seven of the eleven total awards at the 45th annual Academy of Country Music Awards, it’s safe to say that they have become the new ambassadors for country music.
After a decade where superstars Kenny Chesney, Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill were country’s torch bearers, the Academy of Country Music presented the artists they think will represent country music this decade, and Taylor Swift isn’t one of them.
On Sunday night, Carrie Underwood continued to be a force to be reckoned with when she won her second consecutive Entertainer of the Year award, becoming the first female to win twice. Going into the show, Taylor Swift was widely considered the favorite while Underwood was predicted to be left behind. However, it was Underwood’s huge and dedicated fanbase that powered their artist to the win. After 2009 was the year of Taylor Swift, it’s easy to forget that Carrie had another solid year with her latest album, Play On, going platinum and continuing her streak of number one radio hits. It’s a great thing for country music to have such a powerhouse and widely loved artist as its leading lady, and now, leading entertainer.
Along with Underwood, the ACM’s made Miranda Lambert a big winner by rewarding her with three wins in the Video of the Year, Album of the Year, and Top Female Vocalist of the Year categories. In a decade where country music has gone more mainstream, this blonde beauty has stuck to her roots by incorporating traditional country music with a mixture of southern rock and bluegrass which has finally launched her to a new level of stardom. After finishing third in the first season of Nashville Star, Lambert has consistently been an often overlooked artist while other female artists have risen, and some fallen, from superstardom while she’s been put on the backburner. However, after finally reaching the top of the charts for the first time with her smash hit, “White Liar,” Miranda has finally earned the praise and accolades shes deserved for so long. Look to Miranda Lambert to be the new leader of the mainstream traditionalists in the genre.
The Dixie Chicks and Rascal Flatts have dominated the first decade of the new millenium, but now a new trio has emerged as country’s leading supergroup. On Sunday night, Lady Antebellum picked up three ACM awards which included both the Song of the Year and Single Record of the Year awards for their smash hit, “Need You Now.” Along with the two wins for “Need You Now,” the group won their first, of what could be many, Top Vocal Group of the Year trophy. Only two years after the release of its debut album, Lady Antebellum have already proven they have the potential to take country music by storm and dominate the vocal group category for many years to come.
With Underwood, Lambert, and Lady A as the genre’s newest superstars, the future of country music is in extremely good hands. Though it’s only a day after the awards, it’s hard to think that these three artists won’t have big nights at this fall’s Country Music Association awards.