Luke Bryan won his second consecutive Artist of the Year trophy at the fan-voted American Country Awards Tuesday night in Las Vegas. During his speech, Luke promised his young sons, Bo and Tate, that he and his wife Caroline would be back in Nashville Wednesday morning for their Christmas programs at school. While accepting Male Artist of the Year and Touring Artist of the Year honors earlier in the night, Luke thanked the fans, his team on the road and Caroline, whom he thanked for putting up with him since Sunday in Sin City.
Florida Georgia Line took home six trophies, including New Artist of the Year and Single of the Year for "Cruise." The duo's Brian Kelley told the crowd, "It's been an amazing year for [my singing partner] Tyler and our families and our crew, our band, but what an amazing year it's been for country music most importantly. Thank you guys for letting us be a part of something this special." FGL later sang their current single, "Stay." Backstage after the show, Brian added that their six guitar trophies would look good in the new homes they bought after this blockbuster year.
Blake Shelton accepted his Album of the Year trophy for Based on a True Story in a pre-taped speech from Los Angeles, where he's working on The Voice. Lady Antebellum kicked off the night with a performance of their new single, "Compass," as they made their way to the stage through an audience full of fans waving neon glow sticks. Later in the show, Lady A's Hillary Scott got to thank her baby daughter, Eisele, for the first time at an awards show when they picked up the Group of the Year trophy.
It was also a night of firsts at the ACAs. Native Australian Olivia Newton-John presented the first-ever ACA Worldwide Artist Award to Taylor Swift, who accepted the trophy via satellite from her tour stop in Sydney, Australia. Brad Paisley accepted the first-ever Video Visionary Award for his imaginative music videos over the years after performing his latest single, "The Mona Lisa."
As for the other big performances, Jake Owen welcomed ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons for a collaboration on "Days of Gold." Kellie Pickler sang her new single, "Little Big Gypsy," and Randy Houser sang "How Country Feels," which was named Radio Track of the Year by a Male Artist. Justin Moore got the crowd rocking with his #1 single, "Point at You."
Darius Rucker teamed up with Sheryl Crow to sing "Wagon Wheel" after he sang his latest single, "Radio," and she delivered her new single, "Callin' Me When I'm Lonely." Thomas Rhett made his awards show debut singing his hit single, "It Goes Like This." LeAnn Rimes recognized Patsy Cline 50 years after her untimely death with a medley of the late singer's hits, including "Leavin' on Your Mind," "Crazy," "Sweet Dreams" and "Walkin' After Midnight."
This year's hosts, Trace Adkins and NASCAR star Danica Patrick, opened the show by getting pulled over in a small rental car by an Elvis Presley-impersonator cop. They kept the jokes rolling with both Trace and Danica dressing up like Vegas showgirls at one point in the night. Trace closed out the evening with a performance of "Little Drummer Boy."
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