May 20, 2008
Kenny Chesney Honored but Upset
Compiled by Lawrence Van Gelder
No sooner had the Academy of Country Music handed out its awards on Sunday than Kenny Chesney, above, objected to the method that gave him his fourth straight win as entertainer of the year. For the first time in the show’s 43 years, its foremost accolade, traditionally decided by academy members, was determined in an online vote by the public. Backstage on Sunday night, Mr. Chesney said that although he favored the inclusion of fans, he did not think they should determine the academy’s most important award, The Associated Press reported. He emphasized that his criticism was directed at the industry, not the fans, and said that this year’s voting method amounted to “complete disrespect” of the artists, turning the award “into a sweepstakes to see who can push people’s buttons the hardest on the Internet.” The academy did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. At the ceremony in Las Vegas, Brad Paisley was named top male vocalist and Carrie Underwood top female vocalist, both for the second consecutive time. Honors for vocal group went to Rascal Flatts (six in a row) and for vocal duo to Brooks & Dunn (13 in a row).