ACM Presents: Superstar Duets – Review

 Posted by at 12:24 am on May 16, 2015
May 162015
 

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The Academy of Country Music aired their Superstar Duets TV special tonight on CBS, and special it was!  The performances were filmed in Arlington, TX a few weeks ago during the ACM Awards weekend, mostly featuring pairings of today’s stars with yesterday’s stars.  It was great to see stars of yesterday getting national TV exposure, and it was also great to hear some great music that we haven’t heard in awhile.  Hopefully it’ll help influence today’s country music to swing back a bit towards the traditional sound of yesteryear!

Here is our quick reviews of the performances during the broadcast with a score on a scale of 1-10:

  1. “Chattahoochee” by Alan Jackson & Cole Swindell – Alan Jackson owned this one, and Cole Swindell offered solid support.  Great upbeat song to kick the show off!  Score = 9
  2. “Blame It On Your Heart” by Patty Loveless & Miranda Lambert – A great song, a great pairing, and a great performance.  They worked really well together!  Score = 9.5
  3. “Fast As You” by Dwight Yoakam & Sam Hunt – This was an odd pairing that just didn’t work.  Yoakam sounded great singing his own song…Hunt sounded decent when singing it on his own, but their two voices together at the same time?  Not so good.  Score = 4
  4. “Strawberry Wine” by Deana Carter & The Band Perry – Exciting to see this pairing, but they were out of sync too many times, despite sounding good for most of it.  Score = 7
  5. “One Hell of an Amen” by Brantley Gilbert – Why did Brantley get a solo slot with his current single in the midst of all these great classics?  It was a good performance, but didn’t fit the format at this point, though it did shine a brief spotlight on the troops.  Score = 7
  6. “The Closer You Get” by Alabama & Eli Young Band – That. Was. Awesome.  Alabama will never get old, and will never sound bad.  Eli Young Band held their own quite well.  Score = 9.5
  7. “Jackson” by Sara Evans & Darius Rucker – Did the announcer really call this song “Hotter Than a Pepper Sprout” instead of “Jackson”?  Ouch.  Overall it was a solid performance though honoring Johnny Cash and June Carter CashScore = 8
  8. “Stranger In My House” by Ronnie Milsap & Luke Bryan – Calling Luke Bryan a legend in the lead-in?  Superstar, yes…legend…time will tell.  Luke playing piano across from Milsap was a good call, as he’s been known to sit behind the keys at his shows from time to time.  It’s also good to remind fans that he’s actually got some musical talent and isn’t just a booty-shaking party-song singer.  This was a solid performance, though I think it would’ve been great to see them do “Smokey Mountain Rain” instead.  Score = 8
  9. “Dear Diamond” by Miranda Lambert & Patty LovelessThis is the second modern-day song of the show, and the first that hasn’t been on the radio yet.  Miranda wrote this with Patty Loveless in mind as a duet partner.  They killed it, in a good way.  Once again these two stars from different generations made a great pairing and stole the show in the first hour with their two performances.  Score = 9.5
  10. “Islands in the Stream” by Lady Antebellum & Brandy Clark – One of my favorite songs from childhood…this was mostly Lady Antebellum, but a great performance honoring Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.  Especially loved the crowd singing for them towards the end.  Score = 8.5
  11. “Nothin’ But The Taillights” by Clint Black & Joe NicholsWe haven’t heard much from Clint Black in awhile, and this performance makes me ask, “Why the heck not?”  A great song, great performance, great pairing.  One of the best performances of the show so far.  Score = 9
  12. “Good Ol’ Boys/Lonesome On’ry And Mean/I Ain’t Living Long Like This” by Dierks Bentley, Kip Moore, & Ashley MonroeA nice medley to pay tribute to Waylon Jennings.  They all sounded good together, but it didn’t jump out at me as a “special” performance.  It did have it’s moments though.  Score = 8
  13. “(I’m A) One Woman Man by Kenny ChesneyThis turned out to be a great choice to honor George Jones with.  Chesney showed great range hitting the low notes.  It would’ve been nice to have seen him do a medley to honor Jones like the previous performance did for Waylon Jennings.  Score = 8.5
  14. “Swingin'” by John Anderson & Keith Urban – I wonder when the last time was that John Anderson got a prime time network TV spot like this?  It was great to see, though I would’ve liked to have seem them do “Seminole Wind” instead.  Urban tore it up on guitar as usual, and Anderson sounded great as always with his distinctive voice.  Score = 8.5
  15. “Big Iron/Devil Woman/A White Sport Coat/El Paso” by Hunter Hayes & Brett Eldredge – I was surprised to see that they did something to honor Marty Robbins and for as extensively as they did, and it was really surprising that they used these two young, less established rising stars for it!  Individually these are two great vocalists and sounded good…but as a duo singing together, it didn’t always match up well.  Still nice to see a Marty Robbins tribute!  Score = 7
  16. “What We Ain’t Got” by Jake Owen – Just the second solo performance of the night featuring a current hit, Jake Owen came out to perform his current single as a tribute to those fighting cancer and to honor his father who beat cancer two years ago.  The solo piano accompaniment made this the most powerful performance of the night so far.  Score = 9.5
  17. “Going Out Like That” by Reba McEntire – The most decorated female in ACM Awards history, Reba kicked off the finale with a solo performance of her new single and owned the stadium in classic Reba fashion!  Score = 9
  18. “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” by Brooks & Dunn and Reba McEntire – The boys are back together! For now.  The greatest duo of all time reunited with Reba on their last collaboration from a few years ago.  As always, they all sounded great together!  Score = 9
  19. “Family Tradition” by Darius Rucker – Interesting that they didn’t seem to try to drown out the crowd’s response of “To get laid” during the chorus of the Hank Williams Jr. classic!  It was a good performance, but for a show like this, you would expect to see all the stars come out and sing the finale together.  Kind of an anti-climatic finish to an otherwise amazing show!  Score = 7.5

Overall this was a great show to watch.  It was great to see all the legends honored and face-time given to stars of the past.  The performances were mostly great, with just a couple of duds in the lot.  It was surprising that some of the bigger legends such as George Strait, Garth Brooks, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, and Conway Twitty not being honored, but I guess there’s only so much they could do in a 2-hour program.  Hopefully they will re-air this somewhere down the road, because it is definitely a must-watch!

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