ACMs the next 'What If' for Kane Brown, Lauren Alaina

ACMs the next 'What If' for Kane Brown, Lauren Alaina

April 15th, 2018 by Lisa Denton in Life Entertainment

Lauren Alaina

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Tune in

The 53rd ACM Awards will air live at 8 tonight on CBS.

Country singer Lauren Alaina should be gliding on the red carpet going into tonight's Academy of Country Music Awards.

She already has won the big award she was up for — New Female Vocalist of the Year — learning the news in a phone call that brought her to tears. Her idol, Reba McEntire, the show's host, was on the line.

Later, on Instagram, Alaina gushed: "This is the best thing that has happened to me in my 'McEntire' life. Now that that's out of the way oh my gosh. I won an AMC. AND @reba called to tell me."

Alaina, a Rossville native and Season 10 "American Idol" runner-up, also is performing tonight, and she has the chance to share another trophy with her good friend and former Lakeview Middle School classmate Kane Brown. His "What Ifs," for which Alaina sang backup, is nominated for Vocal Event of the Year.

Brown lost out to Brett Young for New Male Vocalist (new-artist winners were announced last month), but the recent news that he's a Guinness World Record Holder for topping all five U.S. country music charts simultaneously no doubt brings him comfort.

Set in October, his world record covers Top Country Album ("Kane Brown Deluxe Edition"), Country Digital Song Sales ("Heaven") and Country Airplay, Hot Country Songs and Country Streaming Songs ("What Ifs").

He'll also sing tonight, as will Midland, the trio that won New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year.

Other performers include Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Kelly Clarkson, Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Maren Morris, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Brett Young.

Presenters include David Boreanaz, Drew Brees, AJ Buckley, Cam, Sam Elliot, Eve, Ashton Kutcher, Dustin Lynch, Nancy O'Dell, Rebecca Romijn, Max Thieriot and Lindsey Vonn.

The show will air live at 8 p.m. ET from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281.


Entertainer Of The Year

Jason Aldean

Garth Brooks

Luke Bryan

Chris Stapleton

Keith Urban

Female Vocalist of the Year

Kelsea Ballerini

Miranda Lambert

Reba McEntire

Maren Morris

Carrie Underwood

Male Vocalist of the Year

Jason Aldean

Thomas Rhett

Chris Stapleton

Keith Urban

Chris Young

Vocal Duo of the Year

Brothers Osborne

Dan + Shay

Florida Georgia Line


Tim McGraw & Faith Hill

Vocal Group of the Year

Lady Antebellum


Little Big Town


Old Dominion

New Female Vocalist of the Year

Lauren Alaina (winner)

Danielle Bradbery

Carly Pearce


New Male Vocalist of the Year

Kane Brown

Luke Combs

Devin Dawson

Russell Dickerson

Brett Young

New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year

High Valley




Runaway June

Album of the Year

“Breaker,” Little Big Town

“California Sunrise,” Jon Pardi

“From A Room: Vol. 1,” Chris Stapleton

“Happy Endings,” Old Dominion

* Life Changes,” Thomas Rhett

Single Record of the Year

“Better Man,” Little Big Town

“Body Like a Back Road,” Sam Hunt

“Broken Halos,” Chris Stapleton

“Drinkin’ Problem,” Midland

“I’ll Name the Dogs,” Blake Shelton

Song of the Year

“Body Like a Back Road,” Sam Hunt

Songwriters: Zach Crowell, Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne

“Female,” Keith Urban

Songwriters: Ross Copperman, Nicolle Galyon and Shane McAnally

“Tin Man,” Miranda Lambert

Songwriters: Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall

“Whiskey And You,” Chris Stapleton

Songwriters: Lee Thomas Miller, Chris Stapleton

Video of the Year

“Black,” Dierks Bentley

“It Ain’t My Fault,” Brothers Osborne

“Legends,” Kelsea Ballerini

“Marry Me,” Thomas Rhett

“We Should Be Friends,” Miranda Lambert

Songwriter of the Year

Rhett Akins

Ashley Gorley

Hillary Lindsey

Shane McAnally

Josh Osborne

Vocal Event of the Year

“Craving You,” Thomas Rhett featuring Maren Morris

“Dear Hate,” Maren Morris featuring Vince Gill

“Funny (How Time Slips Away),” Glen Campbell and Willie Nelson

“The Fighter,” Keith Urban featuring Carrie Underwood

“What Ifs,” Kane Brown featuring Lauren Alaina

Heads up!

If she needed a confidence boost going into tonight’s Academy of Country Music Awards, Lauren Alaina found it a couple of weeks ago when her hair stylist paid a visit to Nashville.

“I’ve done her hair for almost six years now,” says Rodney Hullender, who works at Splash Salon on East Brainerd Road and has been in the business for 40 years.

Hullender is busy himself, seeing about 20 clients a day, but his schedule can’t compare with the young country music star’s, so he takes his talents to her.

“When I see her, I usually highlight her hair, and then we trim it,” he says. “Color, cut and style.”

That’s a change from the early experimentation with her look that stylists in Nashville were promoting.

“She had done different colors early on in her career, but as she became more known and more known, we basically decided we needed to get a look and stick with it,” he says.

Hullender says he’s recommended products that smooth her hair so she can take a break from the heat of flat irons and curling irons.

“She has really nice thick hair, naturally wavy hair, that most of the time we keep pretty smooth.”

Hullender says he always looks forward to his visits with Alaina.

“She is fun, high-energy and always entertaining,” he says. “Full of laughs. You really have a good time when you’re around her.”

— Lisa Denton