The Academy of Country Music Awards (ACMs), which took place last night, is the first of the approximately 65 acronymed trophy ceremonies the genre brings to us annually. As such, we wondered if they are the Golden Globes of Nashville — specifically, whether everyone hauls out their unfettered, Western-wacky-best for this one before slowly taming the beast in time for the year-ending CMAs. The verdict: While country music’s reputation for outlandish fashion is passé, we still saw plenty of sparkly missteps and some very large hats. This slideshow singles out the ACMs' most noteworthy red-carpet looks, from the fabulous to the April fools — which, by the way, were too few. People! The opportunity for a hilarious fashion prank was handed to you on a silver platter. Weak sauce, Nashville.
In December, we noted that Taylor Swift was in serious need of some sartorial spice this year — or failing that, at least a slight change of approach to snap us out of our neutral glitter/curly updo-generated comas. Swift promptly came out with an adorable Vogue cover that did just that, and her ACMs outfit is another step in a good direction. It’s sleek and feminine instead of princessy, and the smoother, darker blonde hair keeps a gentle wave but adds sophistication. All that’s left is for her to stop pretending she can’t believe it when she wins something — again — and we’ll be in business.
Worst Case of Déjà vu
How many celebrities have you seen in this dress already? Off the top of our heads: all of them. It's not like anyone really thinks of LeAnn Rimes as being a talented singer anymore — not after the Brandi Glanville/Eddie Cibrian soap opera unfolded all over US Weekly, and LeAnn seemingly decided to take up tweeting photos of herself in a bikini as a profession — but this is still an event that she's ostensibly attending as a country artist rather than a plus-one. So you'd think she'd go for something less tired-feeling than a frock that's already been sported by everyone from Brooklyn Decker to Nicole Kidman.
Most Welcome Sight
Usually, the answer to this one is, “Reba McIntyre doing anything” (which explains the time she crossed the street in front of our car at a stoplight and we screamed and flailed), but in this case, it’s “Reba McIntyre being sassy while looking super foxy.” These red sequins are a delight on her. Whatever she’s doing — be it surgical, spiritual, or dietary — we hope she keeps it up because it’s working. Can we advocate for a talk show? We’d watch That’s So Reba in a heartbeat.
Best Meeting of Expectations
On a night when we really wanted hats by the gallon and some shiny jackets, the men of Big & Rich — Big Kenny Alphin and John Rich, who are, conveniently, also both big and rich — did not disappoint. One of them looks like the manager of a Barbie-themed C&W group, and inexplicably, the other is channeling Tom Petty doing yoga. It’s both strange and exactly what we needed, a reminder that country still has some special flavor even though half the artists are trying to dilute it and go mainstream. Keep it up, Big & Rich.
We can't decide exactly how we feel about Martina McBride's cocktail-length frock — it's got a fun, Palms Springs–y vibe, but it also looks like she rolled around in a vat of pastel Dots. One thing we do know is that the three-dimensional beading makes us want to dive head first into our Easter baskets. Mmm, Cadbury eggs.
We’re not sure what Laura Bell Bundy was thinking, except perhaps that she misunderstood the concept of draping a dress and thought you actually just drop fabric onto your body and then leave the house.
With apologies to Kimberly Perry for using a weird backstage photo, if your bland, poorly cut, dishwater-hued dress looks that abominable when you’re in motion, then it has no place in your big red-carpet moment. Or even your big carpet-cleaning moment.
Jennifer Nettles is traditionally a hair more fashion-forward than her country brethren — and while there's no way you'd ever call this look "directional," the touch of neon at her waist is an on-trend touch, freshening up what would otherwise be a run-of-the-mill pretty pink dress.
Poor Beth Behrs. At this very moment, Joan Rivers is working on a joke for Fashion Police revolving around a pun calling Beth's boobs the "2 Broke Girls in question." We'll leave that gag for the professional and just note that Beth would be better off not wearing her hotel sheets out of her room.
Most Plus-One Appropriate
It'd be easy for Nicole Kidman to come swooping into one of these events like a mega movie star, but while Nicole's LBD is flattering, it never draws focus from the nominee she's escorting. It's a credit to her sense of occasion that she wore what is essentially a woman’s version of a basic suit to stand by her man — including a collar that recalls a bow tie.
Even Carrie Underwood looks underwhelmed by this, and she's wearing it. Strapless? Check. Sheer overlay? Check. Half-hearted beading? Check. Wake her — and us — up when it's the CMAs.
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