LAS VEGAS — Everything went to script Sunday night at the Academy of Country Music Awards until the end — when Luke Bryan pulled off an amazing upset and won entertainer of the year.
Bryan beat out some of country music’s top stars, including two-time winner Taylor Swift and overall award leader Miranda Lambert, in an upset that few would have predicted. The 36-year-old Georgia native recently began headlining his first arena tour and was the co-host of this year’s show.
After an emotional speech, co-host and fellow nominee Blake Shelton held Bryan up and joked that he won in his “first and last year as co-host” of the awards.
Shelton shared one award with Lambert, his wife, for “Over You,” the deeply personal song they co-wrote. With three other wins — including her fourth straight as female vocalist of the year — Lambert was the night’s most-honored star.
“Over You,” written by the couple about Shelton’s late brother, won song of the year at the Country Music Association Awards last November as well.
Eric Church won two awards, including album of the year, and was tied with Jason Aldean, Little Big Town and Florida Georgia Line.
Bryan is the first male winner of the entertainer of the year award since 2007 when Kenny Chesney won the first fan-voted award. Swift and Carrie Underwood have won two apiece since then.