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10 Best and Worst Moments from 2014’s American Country Countdown Awards

From ham-it-up hosts to head-scratching performances, we single out the highs and lows of the live show

Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, Kelly Clarkson

Miranda Lambert (left) and Kelly Clarkson flank Reba McEntire at the American Country Countdown Awards in Nashville.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Behold the American Country Countdown Awards. In all its super-sized glory, country music's latest awards show debuted Monday night. Essentially replacing the now-forgotten American Country Awards, which also aired on Fox, the ACCAs recognized the best artists, songs and albums of the year based primarily on radio play.

Staged at Nashville's Music City Center, the show was decidedly of this year, boasting a Twitter "bar" and revealing winners via smartphone screen. The hosts were also very much of the moment: Florida Georgia Line. "It's probably more nerve-wracking, to be honest, going out at an awards show and trying to read the teleprompter than [it is playing a stadium]," FGL's Brian Kelley told Rolling Stone Country. "Getting out there and trying to read something while it's live, that's probably harder than anything we've done." So how'd he and partner Tyler Hubbard do? Find out in our 10 Best and Worst Moments recap.

Jason Aldean

Jason Aldean performs at the ACC Awards.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Best: Jason Aldean’s Pumped-Up “Just Gettin’ Started”

Country's alpha male isn't the most dynamic of performers, but with an ace band and his own sturdy presence, he doesn't have to be. Aldean delivered his latest single, "Just Gettin' Started" — which would have worked better at the beginning of the show rather than in the penultimate slot — with muscle-bound authority. No choreography, no flash; just a simple-man performance that helped prove why the night's Artist of the Year regularly sells out stadiums. Which he'll surely do again when he hits the road with Kenny Chesney this summer.

Hank Williams Jr.

Hank Williams Jr. performs the final song of the night at the ACC Awards in Nashville.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Worst: Hank Williams Jr.’s Old Fart Song Choice

Props to the producers for including a country veteran in the ACCAs lineup. But it was an idea that looked better on paper than in execution. When Bocephus closed the show with a performance of his shopworn "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight," a collective head-scratch seemed to move through the crowd, with many turning to find the ballroom's exit. Williams looked defiant as always and, to his credit, wasn't phoning it in, but the now 30-year-old song may as well have been a cave painting to the show's target audience. After Hank Jr. donned a cap with "Icon" emblazoned in gold, the whole thing took a turn to the self-congratulatory that seemed as out of place as the appearance itself. (That is, unless he's the next legacy act to follow Reba and Ronnie Dunn's lead and sign with the new Nash Icon Music label.)

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