To mark the Academy of Country Music Awards’ fiftieth year, host Lisa Lee speaks to CEO Bob Romeo, “ACM Awards” executive producers “Rac” Clark and Barry Adelman, and country star Clint Black about their involvement with the show.
This September 6, 2014, program coincides with the release of “This Is Country: A Backstage Pass to the Academy of Country Music Awards.” Lee, who wrote the book, also serves as the SVP of creative and content at the ACM, headquartered in Encino, California.
Lee begins the program with a brief introduction of the organization’s early years, followed by a highlight reel of past shows. She asks Romeo to explain why the Academy is based on the West Coast, and he paraphrases a quote from Dwight Yoakam, who told him that Nashville’s version of country music is rooted in the church, while West Coast country stems from the honky-tonks.
Clark describes the network’s involvement in bringing TV actors on the show to present awards. He also credits his father, the legendary Dick Clark, for leading it into prime time. Clint Black tells the audience that the 1989 ceremony gave him his first national exposure. After a reel of Black’s many appearances on the show is screened for the crowd, he talks about winning an ACM Award with his wife, Lisa Hartman Black, for their duet, “When I Said I Do.” He then describes “a tremendous amount of pressure” of singing to fellow country artists in the crowd, as well as the fans at home.
Lee talks about the ACM Awards’ move from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in 2003—an unconventional idea that she says stems from a funny conversation in a hotel bar. Clips are shown from the Las Vegas ceremonies. Later, Black reminisces about co-hosting with Kathy Mattea and George Strait. Clark recalls a moment where his father helped Reba McEntire stretch for time. He also remembers Rascal Flatts’s desire to do something unique on the awards show, which led to an outdoor performance surrounded by fans.
Adelman shares some of his favorite moments, including Steven Tyler’s surprise appearance with Carrie Underwood, and Taylor Swift’s many imaginative on-stage ideas. Romeo shares his memories of Trace Adkins singing with the West Point Glee Club, and Darius Rucker performing with the campers of ACM Lifting Lives. Romeo points out his passion for giving back—long a part of the Academy of Country Music’s history.
The program ends with a preview of the 2015 ACM Awards at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
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