American Country Countdown Awards: Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line Roll Over Competition

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Miranda Lambert won Female Vocalist of the Year

Jason Aldean takes home the top prize at inaugural awards show; Kenny Chesney and Reba McEntire are honored

The inaugural American Country Countdown Awards were held Monday night (Dec. 15) at Nashville's Music City Center, and as producers hoped, the night was akin to a Christmas office party to celebrate the most popular acts in the business.

Standing alone at the top of the winners' list was Broken Bow's Jason Aldean, who was voted Artist of the Year. Aldean received the trophy from NASCAR great Jimmie Johnson and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw before reveling in the honor with a performance of "Just Gettin' Started." In his speech, he recalled listening to the syndicated countdown show while growing up in Georgia.

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Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line took home three awards each, sharing trophies for Collaboration of the Year and Digital Song of the Year for their energetic anthem "This Is How We Roll." Bryan took home the award for Male Vocalist of the Year, and Florida Georgia Line walked away with the prize for Duo or Group of the Year. The Republic Nashville duo made quite the impression with their latest single, "Sun Daze."

As is the case with most industry awards shows, Miranda Lambert staked her ground in the Female Vocalist of the Year category before performing the title track from her latest RCA disc. The other categories seemed to mix things up just a little bit. Hunter Hayes presented Capitol Nashville's Eric Church with the Album of the Year award for The Outsiders, while Kip Moore won the fan-voted Breakthrough Artist of the Year award prior to performing his chart-topping "Hey Pretty Girl." Brett Eldredge claimed the prize for Song of the Year for "Beat of the Music," which was also the No. 1 single of 2014 on the Country Airplay Songs chart. "This is the best feeling in the world," he said after performing his hit.

A pair of the industry's biggest stars were recognized with special achievement awards. Kenny Chesney performed his current single, "When It's Gone," after being introduced by actor Vince Vaughn, who praised Chesney's success as a live act and a recording artist. The Groundbreaker Award recognizes an artist who has consistently pushed the boundaries and is a trailblazer in the realm of concerts, musical accomplishment, creative innovation and connecting with fans across the United States. "God gave me a wonderful gift, and I have been able to take that gift all over. Music and songs are the most powerful things we have in our lives," he told the audience.

In addition, Country Music Hall of Fame member Reba McEntire was given the first-ever NASH Icon Award, presented by longtime friend and American Country Countdown radio host Kix Brooks. Kelly Clarkson and Lambert paid tribute to Reba by performing "How Blue," "Take It Back" and "Fancy," on which McEntire joined in to a standing ovation. The NASH Icon Award celebrates an iconic artist whose extraordinary talent has influenced generations of musicians.

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The evening kicked off with a powerhouse performance by Carrie Underwood that tied in with her decade in the business and the recent release of Greatest Hits: Decade #1, her first such compilation. Some of the songs she revisited included "Blown Away," "All American Girl" and her current single, "Something in the Water." After it was announced that Bryan had taken the award for Male Vocalist, he paired up with Cole Swindell for a rare performance of the No. 1 hit "Roller Coaster," which Swindell co-wrote. In his acceptance speech, Bryan thanked his fans for their support during the passing of his brother-in-law Ben in November. It was one of the most emotional moments of the night.

All throughout the show, American Country Countdown host Brooks jammed with various artists heading into commercial breaks, including Jerrod Niemann. Lady Antebellum also turned out in the audience to perform their chart-topping "Bartender" just a few moments before taking to the big stage to play "Freestyle." The night ended with a rowdy performance from the legendary Hank Williams Jr., who sent the crowd out into the night with a performance that included his 1984 anthem "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight."

ARTIST OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Florida Georgia Line
Lady Antebellum
Blake Shelton

MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Luke Bryan

Jason Aldean
Dierks Bentley
Randy Houser
Blake Shelton

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Miranda Lambert

Danielle Bradbery
Cassadee Pope
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

GROUP/DUO OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Florida Georgia Line

The Band Perry
Eli Young Band
Lady Antebellum
Zac Brown Band

SONG OF THE YEAR
WINNER: “Beat Of The Music” – Brett Eldredge

“When She Says Baby” – Jason Aldean
“Lettin’ The Night Roll” – Justin Moore
“Drink To That All Night” – Jerrod Niemann
“Chillin’ It” – Cole Swindell

COLLABORATION OF THE YEAR
WINNER: “This Is How We Roll” – Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan

“Small Town Throwdown” – Brantley Gilbert featuring Justin Moore and Thomas Rhett
“Meanwhile Back At Mama’s” – Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill
“My Eyes” – Blake Shelton featuring Gwen Sebastian
“We Were Us” – Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
WINNER: The Outsiders – Eric Church

Crash My Party – Luke Bryan
Here’s to the Good Times – Florida Georgia Line
Just As I Am – Brantley Gilbert
Platinum – Miranda Lambert

DIGITAL SONG OF THE YEAR
WINNER: “This Is How We Roll” – Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan

“Burnin’ It Down” – Jason Aldean
“Drink A Beer” – Luke Bryan
"Play It Again” – Luke Bryan
"Dirt” – Florida Georgia Line

BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST OF THE YEAR PRESENTED BY SAMSUNG GALAXY
WINNER: Kip Moore

Brett Eldredge
Tyler Farr
Thomas Rhett
Cole Swindell

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