In few days’ time, the Academy of Country Music Awards will be hosting its 54th annual awarding ceremony to recognize the artists who had the most impactful contributions to the genre last year. One of the biggest issues surrounding the prestigious program ever since was the lack of women being awarded or nominated for the most coveted award which is the “Entertainer of the Year.” In fact, no female country singer was nominated for the said title this year. To this, Reba McEntire, who will be hosting the show, expressed her dismay in an earlier press release.
“I was very disappointed by that,” McEntire told CBS Late Show Stephen Colbert who was enumerating the names of nominees. “Shoot, yeah. They’re great, but I wanted to hear some women in there. That would have been really nice.”
Looking at the list of nominees, we can’t help but feel sad that the names of Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, and Kacey Musgraves were not included in the Entertainer of the Year award.
Since the Academy of Country Music Awards debuted in 1970, there are only eight female country artists who won the sought-after accolade. And since we are not expecting anyone to be added on the list come April 7, let’s just honor those previous winners by simply looking back at the time they get hold of the precious trophy.
Here are the eight female country artists who won Entertainer of the Year award at the ACM.
Loretta Lynn (1975)
The Coal Miner’s Daughter became the first woman to earn the ACM Entertainer of the Year honor in 1975. All in all, Lynn has a total of 13 ACM Awards under her belt. Also, she was the only female recipient of the ACM Artist of the Decade in the 1970s. She remains the most awarded female country recording artist to date. She popularized the classic songs “The Pill,” “Fist City,” “Don’t Come Home A Drinking,” “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl,” and many more.
She also had a very successful partnership with Conway Twitty and they recorded many greats songs together such as “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man,” “Lead Me On,” “As Soon as I Hang Up the Phone,” and “After the Fire Is Gone,” to name a few.
At the age of 86, Lynn continues to perform at the Grand Ole Opry, tour, and release new records. Her most recent album, Wouldn’t It Be Great, went out September last year. On April 14, the legendary singer will be celebrating her 87th birthday. Some of the biggest names in country music paid her a tribute party early this year. Moreover, she was honored with a birthday concert by famous country stars this Monday.
Dolly Parton (1977)
The “I Will Always Love You” singer has a total of seven ACM Awards including an Entertainer of the Year title which she won in 1977 beating out an impressive crop of nominees which comprise of Loretta Lynn, Kenny Rogers, Roy Clark, and Mel Tillis. Parton was the second woman to win the coveted title after Lynn. Also, she has 39 nominations in total for ACM Awards. Parton hosted the 35th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards shows herself on May 3, 2003.
Parton’s career, which spans more than five decades, has been peppered with multiple achievements and recognition. She has a total of 25 albums that have been certified gold, platinum, and multi-platinum by the RIAA, 25 top country hits, and 110 charting singles over the past 40 years of her career. Her numerous awards include nine Grammys, ten Country Music Association trophies, seven Academy of Country Music titles, and three American Music Awards. She was also one of the only seven female artists crowned as Entertainer of the Year by the CMA.
Barbara Mandrell (1980)
Winning the Entertainer of the Year award at the ACM in 1981 made Barbara Mandrell the first woman to win the sought-after trophy Triple Crown Award. She was presented with the award in 2005 and it took five years before another female country artist was bestowed with such in the person of Carrie Underwood. She had previously won the Top New Female Vocalist award in 1972, and the Top Female Vocalist award in 1979. Mandrell bested Dolly Parton, Eddie Rabbitt, Kenny Rogers, and Willie Nelson for the ACMs’ biggest prize.
Aside from the ACM, Mandrell also won the Entertainer of the Year award of the CMA, not once but twice. She was the first performer to ever set such record in 1980 and 1981. Her career peaked in the late ’70 up the to the early ‘80s where she had popular hits like “Sleeping Single in a Double Sheet,” “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right,” “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool,” “Till You’re Gone,” and “One of a Kind Pair of Fools.” She has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1972. In 2009, Mandrell was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Reba McEntire (1994)
At the 1995 ACM Awards, Reba McEntire competed with male country superstars for the Entertainer of the Year Title. The impressive line-up of nominees includes Alabama, Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, and Alan Jackson. But, McEntire emerged as the big winner in the end. McEntire has been nominated nine times in this category since 1986. In addition, she has the most number of wins for the Female of the Year trophies.
The 54th ACM Awards will mark McEntire’s 16th year in a row as a host to the show. It was in 1986 when she hosted the show for the first time. Her seamless hosting skills and great entertainment prowess have made her loved all the most by the audience and her fellow music artists. She’s been famous for her remarkable jokes while hosting, best looks, and as always, she never failed to impress the audience with her superb performances, be it alone, with someone or in a group.
In two days’ time, the 64-year-old singer from Oklahoma will be releasing her latest album Stronger than the Truth. Ahead of the album’s release, new singles from it have already been dropped. The new records include “Freedom,” “Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain,” “No U in Oklahoma,” “In His Mind,” and the album’s title track.
Shania Twain (1999)
The year 1999 was for Shania Twain as her career soared high during this period. This was also the time when she won her first and only Entertainer of the Year award from the ACMs. She competed with other multi-awarded artists for this title, including Tim McGraw, Brooks & Dunn, George Strait, the Dixie Chicks, and Garth Brooks.
The show host McEntire was emotional when she presented the honor to Twain. It’s because she thought of the Canadian native as the one who had finally ended the 13-year lack of female Entertainer winners. Prior to Twain, McEntire was the last woman to bag the top title at the 1986 CMA Awards. During her speech, Twain honored Dolly Parton for being her biggest inspiration of all time. That evening, Parton was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Two years prior to her Entertainer of the Year win, Twain released what would become her blockbuster album Come on Over. The record has sold an astounding 40 million copies worldwide. The album featured her best-known hits “Man! I Feel Like a Woman,” “You’re Still the One” and “That Don’t Impress Me Much.” She accompanied the album’s release with a tour which further cemented her reputation as one of the country music’s most notable female superstars.
Twain followed her Come on Over with Up in 2002 and a compilation of greatest hits came after two years. After this, the singer’s public presence has slowed down. She made a strong comeback in 2012. Her high profile return to the stage was made prominent by her Las Vegas show entitled Shania: Still the One.
Dixie Chicks (2000)
Together with Lee Ann Womack, the Dixie Chicks topped the ACM Awards on May 9, 2001. The country music group brought home three trophies from the ceremony, including an Entertainer of the Year accolade. The other two titles they’ve won were Top Vocal Group and Video of the Year for the song “Goodbye Earl.” The Dixie Chicks bested their fellow nominees, namely Faith Hill, Brooks & Dunn, Toby Keith, and George Strait for the title. Moreover, they were the only female county group to be crowned as Entertainer winners.
“Well, I’m not going solo. I feel kinda naked up here without my best friends,” said Martie Seidel, a founding member of the group as she accepts the award for Top Vocal Group.
She was the only member of the trio who was able to attend the show in Los Angeles. Their win in the Vocal Group field was already the trio’s third. Seidel also shared some words explaining the reasons for the absence of her bandmates. She held a photo of Natalie Maine’s new baby, Jackson Slade, to show that the lead vocalist was apparently not around because she’s just given birth. On the other hand, she also said of her sister, Emily Robinson,
“Emily’s been trying to make a baby of her own.”
Seidel ended her speech with the following words:
“To my best friends at home, wish you were here.”
She later returned to the stage to accept the award for the Video of the Year for “Goodbye Earl.” The Dixie Chicks shared the honor with producer Keely Gould and director Evan Bernard.
“Just when I think it’s going to stop it doesn’t stop, and I’m really glad,” said Seidel of their win backstage. Her co-member Maines called Seidel at the end of the evening while at home in Austin, Texas, after their win for Entertainer of the Year.
Carrie Underwood (2008-2009)
Carrie Underwood was crowned Entertainer of the Year at the ACM for two consecutive years. She became the first repeat female singer to win the trophy. The American Idol winner took home the honor at the 2009 and 2010 ACM Awards shows. During the second time she bagged the award, Underwood beat out seven other nominees. That was the time the ACM had the most number of nominees for the EOTY accolade. Therefore, winning the title would make one very proud. She was also presented the prestigious ACM Triple Crown Award which is currently being held by only seven artists, with only two female.
The ACM has also presented her the Gene Weed Special Achievement Awards in 2014. Moreover, she became the first person to win the ACM Lifting Lives Gary Haber Award. The said recognition honors a country music artist or industry professional “who is committed to serving others, has a generosity and shows a dedication to helping those in need.”
Among her best-known hits were “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” “I Told You So,” “Before He Cheats,” “Love Wins,” and “Cry Pretty.”
Taylor Swift (2010-2011)
For two consecutive years, Taylor Swift became the holder of the Entertainer of the Year trophy. Her first win was during the 46th annual celebration of the ACM held on April 3, 2011. While Miranda Lambert has the most number of wins that night, Swift managed to bring home the biggest prize. It seems that all of her fans have joined forces to make sure their idol will end up the biggest winner. And, they succeeded! Swift beat out her co-nominees Jason Aldean, Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, and Keith Urban.
“This is the first time that I’ve ever won this, and I’m just losing my mind,” Swift said upon winning the honor.
Of course, the singer did not forget to thank her fans for voting for her. The following year, Swift won again the said title besting her all-male co-nominees Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, and Brad Paisley.
The 54th ACM Awards will kick off on Sunday (April 7) at 8 PM EST, at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas. It will be aired live on CBS. The nominees for the Entertainer of the Year Award are as follows:
- Jason Aldean
- Luke Bryan
- Kenny Chesney
- Chris Stapleton
- Keith Urban
Who do you think will emerge as the next big winner at the ACM Awards? Let’s all stay tuned this coming Sunday to find that out!