Kenny Chesney Is Not All That Impressed By The Wisdom Of Crowds

noah | May 19, 2008 2:45 am

Sure, Kenny Chesney may have won his fourth straight Entertainer Of The Year Award at last night’s Academy of Country Music Awards, but he’s not all that happy with it! Why? Because he feels like the newly introduced element of fan voting has turned the award “into a sweepstakes to see who can push people’s buttons the hardest on the Internet,” instead of recognition from the winner’s peers. If he’d added in “and a gimmick to cheaply drive up traffic to whatever Web site is hosting the awards for future purposes of advertising pitches,” I would be in 100% agreement with him!

“I think it’s a complete disrespect of the artist — what they’ve lowered us to, to get entertainer of the year. … Because of that, it really diminishes the integrity of the music that we’re making and how much work goes into it. That’s what really matters. That’s what entertainer of the year really is. It’s not about flying somebody to some shows and giving free songs away — and giving this and that — and seeing how hard you can push people’s buttons on the Internet. As much as I love the ACMs and what they’ve done for my life, that’s how I really feel about it.. And I can say that because I won tonight.”

In being named entertainer of the year four times in a row, he ties Brooks’ ACM record of four consecutive wins by a solo artist. Alabama won the award five straight years.

“I’m honored to be up here for four years in a row to tie Garth’s record, believe me,” Chesney said. “I may not ever win it again, but I know I’ve achieved this. I just think we all need to be careful how we give this award away in the future. … If somebody stands up here in the future, they should do it because they sacrificed a tremendous amount.”

Might this be a slam at none other than the noxious Rascal Flatts, who gave free live MP3s to people who voted in the Entertainer Of The Year category for a day last week–and still lost thanks to the ACM higher-ups discounting said bribed ballots? God, I hope so.

To promote participation among its fan base, Rascal Flatts last week offered a free MP3 download — a previously unreleased live version of “Winner at a Losing Game” — to those voting for the band in the entertainer category. Although Rascal Flatts did not violate any of the ACM’s guidelines, the offer was removed from the group’s Web site after just one day. According to The Tennessean newspaper, the ACM identified those online votes and did not count them in the final tally.

Asked about his attitude about the MP3 campaign, Chesney said, “My first reaction to it wasn’t anything towards the act that put out the MP3 offer because I love them boys. And they deserve to be up here at some point. No doubt about it. It’s just an example of how they [the industry] have made us conduct ourselves to stand up here. I could talk about it all night, but it should be about the music, and it should be about the integrity of it and how much work goes into making it. That’s all I thought about. … It wasn’t anything directed towards anybody. It was just the whole thing. I don’t think I’m wrong.”

Ah, Kenny. “About the music”? In 2008! Gosh, you make it all sound so… quaint.

href=”//”>Kenny Chesney Criticizes ACM for Fan Voting in Entertainer Category [CMT; HT to all our awesome commenters]