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Taylor Swift performs stripped-down version of Betty for America Country Music Awards return

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Taylor Swift went back to her roots for a stripped-down performance at the 55th Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards.

The superstar took to the stage alone in Nashville, Tennessee, for the live debut of her single Betty.

With only her guitar for company, Swift wore Khaki trousers and a sparkly top for a performance at the storied Grand Ole Opry.


It was the first time Swift, who began as a country music star before evolving into a pop titan, had performed at the ACM Awards in seven years. She is a two-time winner of the ACM’s entertainer of the year award.

Betty is one of the singles from Swift’s latest album, Folklore.

This year’s ACM Awards took place in Nashville, the home of country music, for the first time. The show was shifted from its original slot in Las Vegas in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.


There was no audience inside the Grand Ole Opry concert venue or at the Ryman Auditorium and Bluebird Cafe, the other two venues hosting performances.

The biggest prize of the night, entertainer of the year, went to two performers, with Thomas Rhett and Carrie Underwood both receiving the accolade.

Female artist of the year was awarded to The Bones singer Maren Morris, while best male was won by Luke Combs.

(Getty Images via Getty Images)

Some of the biggest names in country music performed, including Tim McGraw, Kane Brown, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Combs, Dan + Shay and Florida Georgia Line.

Gwen Stefani took to the stage with her partner Blake Shelton for a performance of their duet Happy Anywhere.

Host for the evening Keith Urban and pop star Pink performed the TV premiere of their new single One Too Many.

Also among the night’s winners were Dan + Shay, who took home the duo of the year prize while song of the year went to Old Dominion for their hit One Man Band.

Single of the year went to Shelton for God’s Country and album of the year was won by Combs for What You See Is What You Get.

Reporting by Press Association

Entertainment

Everything to know about ‘The Voice’ Season 19

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The coronavirus pandemic dealt a major blow to “The Voice” last spring when it had to film its Season 18 live shows from the homes of the coaches and contestants due to safety concerns. Country coach Blake Shelton ended up winning that memorable installment thanks to singing preacher Todd Tilghman. Fast-forward to today, and even though Covid-19 is still a major hurdle in the United States, NBC has slotted the reality TV singing sensation on its fall schedule for Mondays and Tuesdays.

Here’s everything to know so far about “The Voice” Season 19. Bookmark this page as we’ll be updating when new information is revealed.

Premiere date announced
Mark your calendars for Monday, October 19 as that’s when the Emmy-winning series will return to NBC’s fall lineup. Yes, it may be a bit later than usual (because of the coronavirus), but that’s to be expected due to production being delayed.

The trio has returned
There’s good news for fans of Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend, as the fun trio has returned to their big red chairs for this Fall 2020 cycle. This marks Blake’s 19th season as coach, Kelly’s sixth and John’s fourth. In terms of their individual coaching track records, Blake’s artists have prevailed a leading seven times, while Kelly took three championships and John claimed victory a single time. See “The Voice” winners list.

Welcome back, Gwen
The fourth chair once again goes to Gwen Stefani, marking her fifth time as a coach after Seasons 7, 9, 12 and 17. Gwen’s return means we have the exact same judging panel as Season 17 (see photo above). Blake’s girlfriend has a lot to prove this year as she has yet to mentor an artist all the way to the finish line. The closest she came was with Jeffery Austin (Season 9) and Rose Short (Season 17), who both came in fourth place.

Bon voyage, Nick
Nick Jonas initially joined up with the long-running program during the 18th cycle, but did not return for this 19th installment due to his busy schedule. However, just because someone is in one year and out the next doesn’t rule out the option of them returning in the future. For example, Jennifer Hudson coached Season 13, sat out Season 14, then returned for Season 15. Same with Miley Cyrus, who coached Season 11, skipped season 12, then came back for Season 13. Maybe we’ll see Nick return to “The Voice” in the future?

Blind auditions are a go
Everybody’s favorite round, the blind auditions, filmed August 3-7 at Universal Studios Hollywood. It’s believed that the coaches and artists all appeared in studio in accordance with health regulations. One thing we know for sure is that there was no live audience due to safety concerns. However, fans could sign up to be in the “digital audience” via ticketing website 1iota.com.

Pre-auditions online
Prior to the blind auditions, contestants first had to audition remotely by submitting their information online. A select number of these hopeful singers received callbacks from producers. It’s assumed that they traveled to Los Angeles weeks in advance of their auditions in order to quarantine for the CDC-recommended time period of 14 days.

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Polo G – “Epidemic”

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The young Chicago star Polo G is a master of depressive melodic rap music, and he’s been on a major career upswing lately. After making one of the best rap albums of 2020 with his platinum debut Die A Legend, Polo came out with the sophomore LP THE GOAT earlier this year. It’s already gold, and Polo might be the biggest star among this year’s XXL Freshman class. Today, he’s come out with a new standalone single called “Epidemic,” and it’s a good one.

“Epidemic” has nothing to do with COVID-19. Instead, Polo sing-raps sadly about romantic travails and street tensions over a pretty, piano-based beat from producers Karltin Bankz, LondnBlue, Dmac and Tahj Money. (I don’t know why a song this spare needed four producers, but that’s what happened.) Polo manages to sound both graceful and full of despair: “I’m so sick of farewells and RIPs.”

“Epidemic” has a video from regular Polo G collaborator Ryan Lynch, and it finds Polo and friends spending time on boats and ATVs. It doesn’t look like the video for a sad song, but Polo has the presence to pull it off. Check it out below.

Also, if you like Polo G, you should really hear him going nuts on fellow young Chicago rapper BigKayBeezy’s recent track “Backpack 2.0.” Here’s that video:

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Why Sandi Left ‘The Great British Baking Show’ — and Who’s Replacing Her

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Sandi has been co-hosting the show since 2017, and is bowing out as of 2020. But the 61-year-old says there’s no bad blood. Actually, a statement from the channel says she’s leaving to pursue other projects, as The Guardian reports.

One of her future projects is another Channel 4 series called The Write Offs “in which illiterate adults take part in a spelling bee.”

Sandi is a British-Danish writer, comedian, broadcaster, actor, and producer, and co-founder of the Women’s Equality party.

Of her experience on GBBO, Sandi couldn’t say nicer things — but admits that it was all-consuming and jokes that her waistline can testify to that. As for her co-host, Noel, and judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood, it’s all love from Sandi. 

“Unusually I am departing from the Great British Bake Off so I can spend more time with my other work,” she says in her official Channel 4 departure statement on Jan. 16, 2020. 

“Spending time with Prue, Paul, and Noel has been one of the great pleasures of my life … these are friendships which I know will continue beyond the confines of television.” 

Of GBBO, she calls it a “wonderful program which has already proved it can happily withstand a change of hosting personnel. The reason for that, of course, is that the true stars of the show are the bakers themselves. I wish everyone well.”

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