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Lady Antebellum had plenty to celebrate after winning five awards at Sunday night’s Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas and celebrate they did. Their label, Capitol Records Nashville, held an invitation-only party at Talent Pool on the grounds of the MGM Grand hotel and the pool very much came into play.
Upon arriving at the Mr. Coffee-sponsored event, Lady A’s Charles Kelley jumped into the water to celebrate the group’s wins. “This is the most amazing night. I was just overcome and saw the pool and it was the first thing I thought about, to jump in,” Charles told Country Weekly in an exclusive interview just moments after it happened. “I was in soggy shoes for about 20 minutes and I thought, this might have been a really bad idea. I had to put on a robe.”
But the fun didn’t stop there. Labelmate Luke Bryan, who took home the Top New Artist award, and who co-wrote his hit “Do I” with Lady A’s Dave Haywood and Charles, also got soaked when Charles pushed him into the pool. A little while later, Charles and Luke grabbed label chief Mike Dungan and threw him into the pool as well.
As happy as he was about Lady Antebellum’s success, Charles said he was thrilled for Luke and pal Miranda Lambert, who won Video of the Year, Top Female Vocalist and Album of the Year, a category in which she was competing with Lady Antebellum. “I told Miranda going in, I really genuinely want you to win this award because you deserve it,” Charles said. “I’m buddies with Luke, I’m buddies with Miranda and I was genuinely rooting for these people and they won and then we won, too. It made for one of those nights where everything came together exactly like you could have wished for it to come together. It was great.“
Luke was equally excited. “It was just an unbelievable night in terms of a newer field of artists,” he told CW. “It was really special to be a part of. It was obviously special for me, but it felt like a great night across the board.“
Unfortunately, Lady A’s Hillary Scott didn’t get to celebrate with her mom, country singer Linda Davis. “They were home and had a bunch of people over, cooked out, made a big party out of it, but I hate that she wasn’t here,” Hillary says, adding that she’s flying her mom in for tonight’s Brooks & Dunn tribute show. “We’ll celebrate tomorrow. My mom and I are so close. She’s an unbelievable woman inside and out and if I’m half the woman she is, I’ll be in good shape.”
Dave Haywood says the trio was “blown away” to win Song of the Year for “Need You Now.” “Honestly, if there’s an award that we wanted to win, it was the Song of the Year because it honors the songwriters. After winning that we were the happiest people in the world.” The group also won Top Vocal Group and Single of the Year. “We have so many people to thank from our label to country radio and we’ve got the best fans in the world. It was a helluva night for us. We had a blast.”
Darius Rucker, who also records for Capitol, has seen his share of awards shows, but this one was special. He closed the show with “Forever Road” and nabbed his first ACM nomination for Top Male Vocalist. “To be part of the show was special, and to be nominated in that category and to be the guy who is closing the show and [show host] Reba’s saying good bye and she’s hugging me. That was a great moment.”
The former Hootie & the Blowfish lead singer feels like he’s been accepted by his peers. “I’m in country music and I’m part of the family and I’m really proud of that,” he said.