Why Miranda Lambert Won the ACM Entertainer of the Year Award

Perhaps Miranda Lambert had the best year in 2021, and that’s why she won the ACM Artist of the Year award. Maybe she didn’t. Either way, she still deserved this honor.

It’s a debate about the extent to which this trophy should be a legacy. You see, there’s a funny kind of hypocrisy among fan groups when their artist doesn’t win. If it suits the group, they will indicate the year for which fans are supposed to vote.

If it suits the group, they will indicate the legacy or relative importance of this artist. Everything matters, and none of it matters at the same time. For the sake of argument, here’s what each Artist of the Year nominee has achieved in 2021, on paper (these are anonymous, but there are enough context clues to determine who is who ). Other honors are not included; they are only good cold and hard souls:

Artist 1: A No. 1 radio single; The #9 Best-Selling Song of 2021 (Collaboration); A released album (non-genre); No. 5 best-selling album of 2021.

Artist 2: Three new albums released in the space of seven days in 2021; Headlining Tour; A #1 radio single.

Artist 3: Headlining Tour; Two No. 1 radio singles; #3 Best Selling Song of 2021; #2 best-selling album of 2021.

Artist 4: A released album (side project); A Top 10 radio single; #5 Best Selling Song of 2021 (Collaboration).

Artist 5: Two No. 1 radio singles; Headlining Tour; 10th best-selling song of 2021; 7th best selling song of 2021; No. 4 best-selling album of 2021.

From this group, who is your artist of the year?

OK, let’s do the same with the inheritance argument in mind.

Artist 1: Emerged in 2005; Eight studio albums, including two non-genres; Six Platinum or multi-Platinum albums; Over 20 #1 radio singles; Visits every two to three years; Three times artist of the year.

Artist 2: Emerged in 2006; Seven studio albums; Five Platinum or multi-Platinum albums; About. 10 No. 1 radio singles; Sells stadium tours without an opening act; An artist of the year.

Artist 3: Emerged in 2017; Two multi-platinum studio albums; 12 consecutive No. 1 radio singles to start their career; The perennial tour sells out most sites; An artist of the year.

Artist 4: Emerged in 2004; Eight studio albums; Six Platinum or multi-Platinum albums; About. 10 No. 1 radio singles; Visits regularly; All-time leader in ACM award wins.

Artist 5: Emerged in 2015; Four studio albums; Two Platinum or multi-Platinum albums; Two No. 1 radio singles; Perennial touring force; Zero Entertainer of the Year wins.

Is there an obvious choice? What about when you put the two together?

The thing is, voters in all elections (political, sports, and music included) decide who they want to vote for and use a set of analytics to convince themselves they’re right. In the case of country music awards shows, the panel is historically behind the times to get it right. Let’s go back to the 2010 CMA Awards for an example – Brad Paisley’s No. 1 hit streak had lasted from 2005 to 2009, and his tour was an extremely hot ticket for years before his victory. That year he was at the tail end of that success, and it almost looked like he would never get that trophy, but then he did – ultimately.

It was the same for Keith Urban at the 2018 CMA Awards, and it was certainly the case for Eric Church two years later, though it’s hard to pinpoint where Church stands in relation to his commercial heyday. These artists were deserving. No one remembers the race, just the results. Looking back, there has never been a questionable artist of the year, and Lambert is no different.

She deserved it because she deserved have two or three of these trophies now. Eight years ago, she was overlooked in this category to the point that – as she said while accepting the award on Monday March 7 – she thought her time was up. There was no unassailable favorite for the 2022 ACM Entertainer of the Year race, so little things like legacy mattered more. Little things like what you did for the future of the genre mattered more. Little things like your commitment to the media mattered more.

“This one is for all the girls out there…we did it!” Lambert said to close his speech.

These five artists are influencing the next generation because of their stardom, but Lambert goes out of her way to play an active role in the lives and careers of the women who come to seek her crown. Lainey Wilson said it as she picked up her New Female Artist trophy last week. The Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars Tour is a regular reminder of who’s next, and the Texan isn’t stingy with her endorsements. These artists vote. Their teams vote. Their labels – if they have one, or if that label doesn’t have an artist to vote for – vote.

Miranda Lambert won the ACM Entertainer of the Year award because she played it slow and steady and bet on herself. From there, she got the job done – of this group, only Luke Combs is as active with the media as she is – and was never swayed by the next trend or the lure of awards. Not once did she complain or even look bitter about not winning, and that’s certainly not something you can say about the other nominees.

There’s no fat reason Lambert won in 2022, but in a year when nothing was obvious and it felt good to vote for people who worked their ass off to get here (see Wilson and Carly Pearce), the little things were added to give him an advantage. Time and place aren’t nearly as important as whether or not one of country music’s most decorated and influential artists of the past 20 years got it.

Monday night, she did.

ACM 2022 Red Carpet Photos

Country stars brought glitz, glamor and drama to the red carpet ahead of the 2022 ACM Awards

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