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January 21, 2018

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Preview: American Country Awards on Fox; LeAnn Rimes bares her soul


AEG Live Concerts West

Karen Fairchild (Little Big Town), Charles Kelley (Lady Antebellum), Jimi Westbrook (LBT), Shania Twain, Phillip Sweet (LBT), Kimberly Schlapman (LBT) and Dave Haywood (L.A.) at Twain’s show at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012.

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Jason Aldean accepts an award at the 2011 American Country Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Dec. 5, 2011.

Jason Aldean

2011 American Country Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena

Pistol Annies at the 2011 American Country Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Dec. 5, 2011. Launch slideshow »

LeAnn Rimes

It’s a “Night Train” ride for Jason Aldean fans today when Fox’s two-hour American Country Awards pulls up to Mandalay Bay with a passenger list loaded with Nashville’s biggest names. Having won six awards last year at the ACAs, including Artist of the Year, Jason is up for five awards this time around.

It’s the third-annual show that permits fans to vote for their favorite artists. A Song of the Year category has been added to pay tribute to country’s top songwriters, and for the first time, the awards will have a category for touring.

Trace Adkins and Kristin Chenoweth return as hosts, with performances by Jason, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan and Little Big Town. Luke is the most-nominated star this year, with seven nods resulting from his three back-to-back, double-platinum singles. Dierks hits the road Jan. 17 touring with Miranda Lambert on their “Locked and Reloaded” trip.

Incidentally, members of Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town attended Shania Twain’s “Still the One” show at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace over the weekend. Also making appearances on the ACAs: “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery, Jana Kramer, Casey James, Lee Brice, Chris Young and LeAnn Rimes, who has a two-night engagement this weekend at LVH previewing her album “Spitfire.”

LeAnn told me: “I will be in Las Vegas a lot this coming week, and I love Las Vegas, so we will have a good time for sure. I will be very busy. I come to Las Vegas pretty often, especially this time of the year with the rodeo.

“The LVH show will be a very intimate show. We’ll have four musicians onstage, but it is mostly acoustic. It is like you are sitting in my living room. I love talking to the audience, and I have a great interaction with them, and it kind of becomes less of an audience and more like you are hanging out with me. We’ll play a lot of holiday songs and some tracks from my new album ‘Spitfire,’ plus, some of the hits, too. It is definitely a mixture of a little bit of everything.”

I had to ask LeAnn if she bares her soul yet again on the new album “Spitfire.” “I guess that is just kind of how I approach music these days,” she told me. “There is no better way for me to bare it then through my music. I don’t hide anything. It was for me, and I think people who listen to it, an emotional rollercoaster ride. My truth is told for sure -- as I get older and become an adult, it is not a little kid singing anymore.

“It comes out from life experience. I am not ashamed of it. I think that is the great thing about country music, and I guess being a singer-songwriter is to be able to access those feelings and to put them into music.

“It is a true gift that I don’t take for granted. It is a pretty amazing thing to be able to do.” Our candid and full chat with LeAnn will be posted later this week.

Fans should get an opportunity to see the stars on a red carpet starting at 4 p.m. PT before the 5 p.m. telecast back to the East Coast. West Coast viewers will see the ACAs on tape delay three hours later.

We’ll have a photo gallery and reports from the ACAs on Tuesday here at Vegas DeLuxe, plus, tweets from the red carpet @robin_leach.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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