UPDATE 1-Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert big winners at Country Music awards – Reuters


(Updates top prize, color from ceremony)

By Lisa Maria Garza

ARLINGTON, Texas, April 19 (Reuters) – Luke Bryan won the
fan-voted top prize of entertainer of the year at the 50th
Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday, which drew more than
70,000 fans to the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The home of the Dallas Cowboys was at near-capacity and
broke the Guinness Book of World Records for most attendance at
a live awards show – logging 70,252 guests.

Bryan and fellow country music star Blake Shelton hosted the
awards, broadcast on CBS, for the third year running.

“They say everything is bigger in Texas,” Bryan told the
crowd. “Tonight we are the most attended live award show of all
time.”

Miranda Lambert, who led all nominees for the second
consecutive year with eight nods, walked away with three awards,
including Album of the Year for her work, “Platinum.”

“It’s good to be home,” said Lambert, a native Texan.

Jason Aldean took home the award for male vocalist of the
year for the third straight year. Cole Swindell won the
fan-voted new artist of the year.

George Strait, who retired from touring with a final show at
Cowboys’ Stadium last year, debuted his new single, “Let it Go”
after performing a medley of his greatest hits.

Little Big Town, whose latest single “Girl Crush,” has
drummed up controversy over how it depicts post-breakup
jealousy, won for vocal group of the year.

“We really wanted to bring big hair back to country music,”
said singer Karen Fairchild.

Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Reba, George
Strait, Taylor Swift, and Brooks & Dunn each received a 50th
Anniversary Milestone Award.

Swift, who crossed over from country to pop music, thanked
the academy and fans for sticking by her.

“When I told you I wanted to make a pop album, you showed me
who you are with the grace you accepted it with,” she said.

Alan Jackson performed his Grammy-winning hit “Where Were
You (When the World Stopped Turning)”, a song he wrote in honor
of the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Garth Brooks dedicated his patriotic performance of
“All-American Kid” to U.S. troops while audience members held up
plastic cards forming the American flag.

The Academy of Country Music honors big stars as well as
small market radio disc jockeys and concert promoters, and the
awards are voted on by members of the Encino, California-based
professional organization.

(Reporting by Lisa Maria Garza in Arlington, Texas; Editing by
Mary Wisniewski, Eric Walsh and Victoria Cavaliere)