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Should Stevie Wonder Have Closed The ACM Awards?

Stevie Wonder On The ACMs
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I have respect and appreciation for all genres of music, and I think Stevie Wonder’s contributions to American Music are worthy of his 1989 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

However, I don’t think that the producers of the Academy of Country Music Awards should have selected Stevie Wonder to close the show, in place of a Country Music singer. I actually think it’s entertaining when artists of other genres or generations collaborate for special guest appearances on award shows. Stevie Wonder first appeared on the show as a guest vocalist with Hunter Hayes, wasn’t that appearance good enough to represent his genre? I was happy to see that collaboration of talent come together, but puzzled as to why the R & B legend was selected to come back and close the show.

My biggest concern is that the closing spot on a nationally televised Country Music awards show is like the halftime show of a super bowl- a prime coveted spot! By selecting Stevie Wonder, the producers deprived our own Country Music legends and superstars a chance to appear in one of the most prominent spots on national television, on our own musically themed show.

In my opinion, if they were looking for a music icon to close the show, there were plenty in the house that night- Shania Twain, Reba McEntire, Faith Hill and Trisha Yearwood were all present, and each have a massive catalog of hits that’s known by fans of all genres. Although they had already performed, Garth and George would have also been a great choice to close out one of Country Music’s biggest nights.

I’m not sure what the producers of the ACMs were trying to do, but in my opinion here are some other options that would have best represented Country Music on a Country Music Awards show.

Stevie Wonder had the majority of his hits from 1963-1985, so if they were looking for someone of similar legendary status, they could have selected George Jones (who is also on his final tour this year), Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, or Charley Pride. Actually, the first country legend that came to my mind when I saw Stevie Wonder was Ronnie Milsap (pictured below)! Milsap, who could easily be compared to Stevie Wonder, had 40 No. 1 hits with many of them crossing over to the pop and adult contemporary charts. Moreover, most all of these Country artists were great friends of Dick Clark, former producer of the ACMs.

Other suggestions of A-List country music legends that could have been offered the grand finale include Alabama (currently on a reunion tour), Kenny Rogers (a former friend of Dick Clark), Charlie Daniels Band, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, Jr., and The Judds! As a matter of fact, The Judds were the ACM Pioneer Award winners that night (off-camera). Considering Wynonna’s recent run on Dancing With The Stars, I’m sure they would have attracted viewers as well. If the producers were trying to find someone that had crossover appeal, most every name I’ve suggested has had major crossover success.

As mentioned above, I love all styles of music, but let’s keep our Country Music artists at the top of the lists when producing Country Music shows! They need and deserve the exposure and publicity that they certainly don’t get on the Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, or People’s Choice Awards.

Your thoughts? I’m sure this will spark a lively discussion and some of you may not agree with my review, so I look forward to reading your opinions on this topic. Please post your opinion in the comment section below.

Ronnie Milsap
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Jeremy's Opinion From Taste Of Country Nights

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