Best Spotlight Stealers: New Artists
With two dazzling performance slots in the first 30 minutes, country newcomer Cam was to the ACCAs what superstar household name Blake Shelton was to April's ACMs. Here, we give credit to the ACCA producers for shining much of its spotlight on new talent — a big step in differentiating this show from its country music counterparts. Dan + Shay got to strut their harmonizing stuff for an entire song, instead of the new-artist norm of one verse/one chorus, while Google searches for Chase Bryant and Michael Ray likely increased a zillion percent after their presenting slots. And, sure, maybe the bigger stars were 140 miles inland at Stagecoach — or on their tour buses watching Game of Thrones — but seeing fresh faces on a country awards show alongside the Carries and Lukes of the genre was (we hope) reflective of what this show is all about: country radio's past, present and, most importantly, future.