The ACM duets: Carrie Underwood and Steven Tyler, Rihanna and Jennifer Nettles provide glam and glitz

There may have been better music made during the Academy of Country Music Awards — hello, Miranda Lambert; hello Martina McBride — but a pair of duets, Carrie Underwood and Steven Tyler, and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland and Rihanna, gave the night some of its best glam and glitz.

Underwood and Tyler blasted though her “Undo It” and his “Walk This Way” with a fun swagger. The American Idol-ites couldn’t be more different in styles, although Underwood did attach a long scarf to her microphone as some kind of salute to Tyler. That the Aerosmith singer should howl affectingly was so surprise; Underwood’s surprising willingness to lose some of her patented control and catch Tyler’s phrases as he tossed them — and a few perilously close air-kisses — to her made for a spontaneous-seeming performance.

Jennifer Nettles applied her formidable pipes to Rihanna’s “California King Bed,” and together they turned the song into a soaring power-ballad with soulfulness. Rather than seeming out of place on the ACMs, Rihanna fit right in with the glamour-plus-glitz that characterizes the best of the entertainment emanating from the ACM home-site this year, Las Vegas.

What did you think of these CMA ACM duets?

Twitter: @kentucker

Comments (130 total) Add your comment
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  • andy

    loved both performances!

    • Amber

      Totally loved Carrie and Steven! They rocked the house!!! Best performance of the night!!

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        ~~~~~~~All the other performances seemed lacking compared to these duets! So ACMs, gonna include Carrie in your Entertainer of the Year next year? Based on that show I think she earned it

    • Virginia

      I would like to get a recording of both

  • casey

    that was awesome.

    i would sooo go lesbian for carrie underwood… but i am also attracted to steven tyler… is this normal

    • adorable

      Steven is amazing! Such a fun guy. I’m glad he is on American Idol.

      • HAH

        Don’t worry, Steven would do you either way and Carrie wouldn’t.

  • alley

    Carrie’s performance was HOT! She rocked! Loved her duet with Steven Tyler. One of the best performances I have ever seen at an awards show. Truly incredible. The show got kind of dull after that, though I did enjoy the Rihanna performance and Zac Brown Band was great.

  • T

    Actually really enjoyed all the duet this year. Loved hearing Jennifer Nettles’ fabulous voice on Rihanna’s “California King Bed” – thought both ladies did a great job! The whole show was really good, so kudos to all the performers!

  • Tyler Smith

    Ummm its the ACMs not the CMAs. They’re definately two completely different award shows…

    • BJ

      thanks for pointing that out ! ahaha two very different but equally entertaining shows ! carrie and steven gave the BEST performance of the night by far!

      • Sharon

        Now that you mention it. One thing I have come to truly dislike about Country Award shows, is that, except for fashion, I could turn on any of them during the last ten years and see the same performers. No wonder we mix up the ACM’s, CMA’s, CMT’s. At least, last nights show, with it’s guest performances provided some relief from that.

  • Chris Collier

    Carrie was so awesome!! She rocked it out! Her chemistry with Steven on stage was so fun to watch, it had me jamming in my room while I was watching it! Then Rihanna and Jennifer nailed it as well, they’re voices were so smooth together. Both of these pairings seem kind of weird when you hear them out loud, but when it came time to see it live – they killed it! All the other performances seemed lacking compared to these duets! So ACMs, gonna include Carrie in your Entertainer of the Year next year? Based on that show I think she earned it

  • Britney

    Casey, I do agree with that!

  • BW

    All the performances were great. This was probably the best ACM awards I have seen in awhile, it wasn’t boring. The correct winners were picked except Keith Urban should have won entertainer of the year. Also, would the ACM and CMA’s please let Little Big Town sing for a change since they have awesome vocals. It was sweet when Sara Evans got a standing ovation – good to see her back in the game.

  • Denise

    Carrie puts on one hell of a live show. The girl rocks it out! Can’t understand why she wasn’t nominated for Entertainer of the Year!

    • EdMarg

      What amazing performance by Carrie Underwood & Steven Taylor, they rock the house and stole the show. After Carrie & Steven performance last night, it can’t be denied that Carrie is still the best female vocalist in the country music or even other genres. She doesn’t need a trophy to prove it, she just needs a stage and she will show you how great and amazing vocalist she is. The fact is since 1995, the highest record for winning the FOTY were only 3 times (Faith Hill – 1998, 1999, 2000 ; Martina McBride : 2001, 2002, 2003 and Carrie Underwood : 2006, 2007, 2008), ACM won’t break their tradition, and won’t give Carrie for the 4th times, (compare to MVOTY Brad Paisley can pass 5 times in a row). As for EOTY, they passed Carrie for nominated because they were afraid she might win for the 3rd. times – I think ACM will not allowed women to win EOTY for 3 times in a row LOL, seems country music is too sexist and tend to the boys group, Kenny Chesney could pass 4 times for EOTY. But people saw themselves last night and saw the proof that Carrie is really great entertainer and she more deserve in the list of EOTY compare to some of EOTY’s nominations.

      • John M.

        Taylor Swift winning EOTY was the 3rd in a row for a woman in that category. Carrie probably would have won it again if she was nominated for it. But letting Swift be up for it threw a wrench into the “boys club” hopes.

  • Brenda

    I loved it all! I loved Carrie in the black and Steven Tyler, who needs no introduction walking out in all white. Brilliant! I enjoyed Rhianna and Jennifer Nettles duet, but the tears flowed when the Zac Brown Band sang my favorite song Colder Weather and lead it into my other favorite song Sweet Baby James. It was a fantastic show. Congrats to all.

    • New

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  • JessIca

    I enjoyed the whole show which is rare when it comes to country award shows. The highlight for me was hands down Zac Brown Band and the legend that is James Taylor. I was grinning as much as Zac during that one. Enjoyed my favorite singing smartass as host, too. Completely agree on the need for some Little Big Town harmonies, though.

  • MollyS

    Where’s the love for Zac Brown Band and James Taylor? It may not have been glitzy but it was by far my favorite duet all night – full of heart and two of the best performers ever!

    • IDKJADE

      *Claps* I have major love!!!

    • LFC

      I don’t think Ken Tucker appreciates James Taylor’s music. He kind of dissed him in some other review of a documentary. However, no biggie because real musicians like Zac Brown and real music fans know how talented JT is

  • IDKJADE

    Carrie and Steven = Rocked
    Rihanna and Jennifer = WTF
    Jennifer should have sung California King Bed by herself because Rihanna was nothing but a pretty face. COULD NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT SHE WAS SAYING AT ALL! smh…people expect so little these days and dont know what value is…

    • MollyS

      Hahaha WTF indeed! I could barely hear Rihanna – would have much rather just seen Jennifer carry it on her own!

    • GS

      Totally agree with this! What was the point with Rihanna??

    • mems

      I was beginning to think it was just me but I did not like the Rihanna/Jennifer performance at all!

      • Templar

        Love Jennifer Nettles. While I have nothing against Rihanna, her voice seems weak or maybe her mic wasn’t adjusted properly.

      • Jennifer

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      • KMichele

        Like everyone just wrote Jennifer Nettles performance was GREAT as always. It was the fact no one could even hear or understand what Rihanna was singing.

  • IDKJADE

    people expect little and receive what they expect…
    country just went down a notch because of a *”mistake”.
    * = Rihanna

  • karen

    Carrie and Steven Tyler were awesome. Carrie can sing all genres of music, as she is a talented vocalist. She had my vote for entertainer of the year even though she was incorrectly omitted.

    • MollyS

      Agreed! I love Carrie so much, I’ve seen her once live and will definitely do it again next time she comes around! Her voice goes right to my core, it’s so powerful and gorgeous. She really held her own on Walk This Way!

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