Glenn Pinkerton/Las Vegas News Bureau
Monday, April 2, 2012 | 2 a.m.
KISS made a none-too-understated arrival at the Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena tonight pouring out of a stretch limo/monster mini-truck and wearing full stage attire.
That would be heavily studded codpieces, one-piece costumes made of Spandex and full stage makeup.
“We love a lot of country artists,” Gene Simmons said, rattling off Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley.
The band was on hand to introduce one of the night’s awards (read further for how they handled that task), but first they conducted a nifty bit of self-promotion. In an appearance on the red carpet before the show, Paul Stanley talked of the upcoming KISS/Motley Crue summer tour.
“It’s called ‘The Tour,’ and it’s called that for a reason,” Stanley said as an "Inside Edition" mic was pushed into his face. “It’s because you have two of arguably the greatest live bands ever. I know that breaks the hearts of critics, but you have two great bands going out there, doing their full shows -- brand-new shows -- putting together great shows and blowing everybody away.”
The public has responded, says the man for decades dubbed “The Starchild.”
“So far, ticket sales say, ‘We need you,’ ” Stanley said.
The tour stops at Mandalay Bay Events Center on Aug. 11.
More notes from the show:
• In one of the great mismatches of sensibility in entertainment history, KISS announced Vocal Group of the Year Lady Antebellum. Just before making the announcement, Simmons shouted, “This is country music! Lemme hear ya!” When pausing for a couple of beats too long for some fans, Simmons said, “Keep your britches on!” before calling out Lady Antebellum, which was bemused at the site of the fully attired band members. “Wow! It’s KISS!” said Charles Kelley after grabbing his (Kelley’s) trophy.
• Entertainer of the Year Award winner Taylor Swift attended without her date, New Jersey teen Kevin McGuire, who is suffering from leukemia and whose sister had embarked on a campaign to persuade Swift to attend McGuire’s prom as his date. She could not make the prom but did offer to attend the ACMs with McGuire, who instead was admitted Saturday to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia with a 103-degree fever. “His count is down, but we will make our date some other time,” Swift said after the show.
• Upon winning Male Vocalist of the Year, Blake Shelton (also the night’s co-host, with Reba, who has left her surname in the dust) called out, “Now that was a real shock face!” That was a follow-up to a joke Shelton made earlier in the night, referring to a new Swift fragrance called “Oh My God, I Can’t Believe How Good I Smell!” Shelton is a really funny guy -- and a great co-host.
• Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw performed together for the first time on national TV, for “Like a Rock Star.” The duo are touring under the title “Brothers of the Sun” and perform Monday night at “ACM Presents Lionel Richie & Friends -- A Lifetime of Hits” at Grand Garden Arena.
• Richie and Shelton closed the show in a duet of Richie’s “You Are.”
• Best New Artist and "American Idol" winner Scotty McCreery said his appearance on Fremont Street on Saturday night was one of his favorite performances. “I waved at Vegas Vic,” he said. He also noted that his fans are called “McCreerians.” He’s not sure if he’s performing on the season finale of “American Idol,” but he is sure of which college he’s attending -- North Carolina State.
• One of my favorite photos ever was tweeted before the show by my "Kats With the Dish" co-host Tricia McCrone, of Wayne Newton and Steve Martin, who performed with Rascal Flatts during the broadcast. So much fun.
• Mitt Romey’s favorite country artist is Keith Urban, so, for once, we can say, “Poor Keith Urban.”
• Female Vocalist of the Year Miranda Lambert, on being introduced by her husband, Blake, as Miranda Lambert-Shelton, “That was cute!” (Click over to the ACM's website for a complete list of winners.)
• Shelton said he was more willing to do edgier comedy this year than last, when he also hosted. “I’m trying to get fired,” he said. “I liked the days when I was the guy in the audience drinking my face off.”