Best Rock Act: The Band Perry performed new single “Done,” which came off as a thundering variation of classic Aerosmith or even Franz Ferdinand. A fiddle was invoked, reminding that this is a country band, but this crew rocked the MGM Grand Garden very hard.
Best Joke Hearkening to a Strip Headliner: Luke Bryan cracked about co-host Blake Shelton’s jeans with, “You know how Blake’s jeans are like a Motel 6? No ball room!” The line is a sure winner ... which is why Frank Marino has used it for years.
Longest Reach for a Duet: Motown icon Stevie Wonder performed “Sir Duke” with 21-year-old country star Hunter Hayes. Wonder is said to have heard Hayes on recording and just liked him a lot.
Great Moment in Logistics: Accompanied by a Metro Police escort, Bryan and Shelton were hauled from the MGM Grand to a live feed from the “Fan Jam” at Orleans Arena, where they introduced Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley. The trip took about four minutes.
Best Hype for a Moment That Fell Short: George Strait and Garth Brooks, who had never performed onstage together, were summoned for a tribute to star-maker Dick Clark, who died last year. Brooks sang “The Dance” with great warmth, and Strait started with “The Cowboy Rides Away.” Brooks joined for that song, about midstream, but that was it. It was a thrill to see them onstage together, finally, but fans wanted more.
Duet Idea that Would Put an End to ACM Awards Duets: Strait and Bruno Mars.