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George Strait won his second entertainer of the year — 25 years after he won his first — and Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban teamed up to earn top honors Sunday night at a jam-packed Academy of Country Music Awards that had a little something for everyone.
Strait’s victory was not unexpected. The 61-year-old is a few months from retiring from the road and won the same trophy at the rival Country Music Association Awards five months ago. But the ACMs entertainer award is fan-voted and some wondered if Strait’s older fan base might vote.
“I’ve always said I have the best fans in the world,” Strait told the crowd. “I heard this was a fan-voted thing, so I rest my case.”
No one will begrudge Strait the win, including co-hosts Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan, who were also nominated in the category with Lambert and Taylor Swift.
“Our hero,” Shelton said in a genuine moment. “Our hero won tonight!”
Until that point Bryan and Shelton had overshadowed much of the ceremony, held in Las Vegas. Urban and Lambert tied for the most trophies but it was Lambert’s husband, Shelton, and Bryan who were on a winning streak.
They deftly stole the show with a mix of self-deprecating, celebrity-skewering jokes and two performances apiece. And as Shelton noted, he also gets to share Lambert’s bed.
“Honestly, I think we’re the biggest celebrities in the room,” Shelton said during the show’s funniest moment — a recreation of Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie moment at the Oscars — and it may just be true.
Shelton is the star of “The Voice” and a platinum-selling hitmaker with 11 straight No. 1s. Bryan was the reigning entertainer of the year, and both were up for that award again this year with Lambert, Taylor Swift and George Strait, the genre’s top stars.