By: Judy Shields and Mary Scalzitti
What is a seatfiller, you might ask. Well let me tell you. A seatfiller fills all empty seats for major award shows or any televised special, so when the cameras do shots of the audience, they don’t see any empty seats. There are times when people just don’t show up for the show or the production team are pulling talent backstage to perform or present an award, thus leaving their seats empty. So as a seatfiller, I fill these seats while the celebrity talent is back stage and when they return, I have to hop up and move to another seat. Sometimes I get lucky and never have to move, filling that seat all night, and sometimes I move several times.
It is considered a game of musical chairs, but a game I love to play because normally I have the best seats in the house. The picture here shows a glimpse of my face, which is always fun to spot later that night when I watch it on TV.
The great thing about being a seatfiller is the opportunity to get into great venues for free and see amazing shows with talented entertainers and musicians. I have been a seatfiller for 30 years and have sat next to some famous people.
I met several women a few years back as seatfillers from the Rockford area in Illinois who come every year and we sure have fun catching up in the so called holding area for a couple of hours before we head into the arena. One of these woman, Mary, gets on TV every single year, the rest of us are like, what the heck, Mary is always on TV in full body shots and maybe if the rest of us are lucky we get to see our hair, a dark silhouette of our face. So I asked Mary to tell her experience and see has two pictures of her caught on camera. (Mary is wearing the great necklace behind the blonde woman.
Mary Scalzitti: I have been a seatfiller at the ACM Awards show since 2009. The excitement of sitting next to the entertainment and sometimes actually having a conversation with them is so rewarding. Just to thank them for entertaining us! This year at the 53rd ACM Award Show I had the privilege of sitting with Jerrod Niemann and next to Clay Walker and with Lauren Alaina’s boyfriend. It’s always a rust to wonder who you’re going to sit by that night and how great the entertainment is going to be. I love being a seatfiller and hope to do it for many years to come.
I was lucky enough to shake hands with Paul McCarthy and Ringo Star at a Grammy Salute Show a couple of years ago. So the ACM’s are always a great Award show to cover. I get to move around to different empty seats and on Sunday I sat behind Sam Elliott, which made my night. I also sat next to the band Midland, what a great bunch of guys. Cowboys. After about half-way into the show, I found a seat at the end of the row about 8 rows back and didn’t have to move again. I really like that as well, because I can enjoy the show and not have to move around and go to the back of the floor to sit further away and wait to be called to fill a seat. The seats at this particular show are really close together and it can be really difficult to get out of the seat when those around you don’t want to stand up, that happens more often than you think.
Sunday nights ACM Award show was amazing and filled with memorable performances. I truly enjoy Carrie Underwood’s performance of her new song “Cry Pretty.” My all-time favorite country performer, Alan Jackson, performed one of his famous songs “Chattahoochee” and the crowd went wild, up on their feet and sang along. Jon Pardi accompanying him onstage.
Jason Aldean Names ACM® Entertainer of The Year for Third Consecutive Year
Miranda Lambert Wins Female Vocalist of the Year and Officially Becomes
the Most-Awarded Artist in ACM Awards® History
Chris Stapleton Wins His Second ACM Male Vocalist of the Year Award on his birthday and his wife Morgane gives birth to twin Sons, Reba announced during the live taping.
Winners were announced for the 53rdACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS™, which aired LIVE this past Sunday evening on the CBS Television Network from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
Hosted by multimedia superstar, Reba McEntire, the ACM Awards named Jason Aldean as Entertainer of the Year, the evening’s biggest honor. This is the third consecutive win for Aldean in this category and his 13th overall ACM Award win.
Miranda Lambert won ACM Female Vocalist of the Year for the ninth consecutive year and is the current record holder for most consecutive wins in this category. Lambert also won ACM Song of the Year for “Tin Man” along with co-writers Jack Ingram and Jon Randall, receiving two awards, both as artist and songwriter. With these wins, she now has 32 ACM Awards, and is the most-awarded artist in ACM Awards history, a record previously held by Brooks & Dunn.
Chris Stapleton won ACM Male Vocalist of the Year, his second win in this category. Stapleton also won an additional two awards as both artist and producer in the ACM Album of the Year category for From A Room: Volume 1. He of course was not in attendance, since his wife Morgane gave birth to twin boys on Chris’ birthday to boot!
Brothers Osborne won ACM Vocal Duo of the Year for the second consecutive year. The duo also won ACM Video of the Year for “It Ain’t My Fault,” along with directors Wes Edwards and Ryan Silver and producer Tiffany Davies.
ACM CEO Pete Fisher surprised the duo with these awards, presenting them during CMT’s Facebook Live coverage of the ACM Awards red carpet.
Lauren Alaina, Midland and Brett Young were also previously announced winners for ACM New Female Vocalist of the Year, ACM New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year and ACM New Male Vocalist of the Year, respectively. The winners received a surprise phone call from host Reba McEntire last month notifying them of the news and were also surprised with the actual ACM Award in the days leading up to the show.
Jon Pardi presented Alaina with her ACM Award during rehearsals, Midland received their ACM Award at the ACM Stories, Songs & Stars: A Songwriter’s Event Benefitting ACM Lifting Lives® and Luke Bryan presented Young with his trophy at the Cumulus/Westwood One Radio Remotes.
Old Dominion won ACM Vocal Group of the Year Award, their first award in this category. They previously won ACM New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year at the 51stACM Awards in 2016.
Rhett Akins was announced as the winner of this year’s ACM Songwriter of the Year Award (off-camera category) on Friday at the ACM Stories, Songs & Stars: A Songwriter’s Event Benefitting ACM Lifting Lives, which was presented to him by reigning ACM Songwriter of the Year award winner Lori McKenna.
Country Music’s Party of the Year featured a superstar lineup of featured collaborations and powerful performances. The awards telecast honored three of country music’s hit songs from 1993 with the “ACM Flashbacks” segments, with Toby Keith and Blake Shelton performing Keith’s celebrated No.1 debut single “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” Alan Jackson and Jon Pardi performing Jackson’s ACM Award-winning hit “Chattahoochee” and Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson performing Reba’s GRAMMY® Award-winning hit “Does He Love You.”
Additional collaborations included Kane Brown and Lauren Alaina performing the multi-platinum, No. 1 hit “What Ifs,” Bebe Rexha with Florida Georgia Line performing the chart-topping hit “Meant to Be” and ACM Vocal Event of the Year winner Keith Urban and Julia Michaels performing Urban’s new single “Coming Home.” These performances were all a once in a lifetime to see live in a great seat close to the stage.
The ACM Awards also featured performances by ACM New Female Vocalist of the Year Lauren Alaina, ACM Entertainer of the Year Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Dan + Shay, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Chris Janson, Lady Antebellum, ACM Female Vocalist of the Year Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, ACM New Duo or Group of the Year Midland, Maren Morris, Thomas Rhett, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, ACM Vocal Event of the Year winner Carrie Underwood, ACM New Male Vocalist of the Year Brett Young and Chris Young.
Following is the list of winners in the 14 categories voted on by the membership:
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR* (Off Camera Award)
VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR
NEW FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
NEW MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
NEW VOCAL DUO OR GROUP OF THE YEAR
ALBUM OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]
From A Room: Volume 1 – Chris Stapleton
Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton
Record Label: Mercury Records
SINGLE RECORD OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]
Body Like A Back Road – Sam Hunt
Producer: Zach Crowell
Record Label: MCA Nashville
SONG OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Songwriter(s)/Publisher(s)/Artist(s)]
Tin Man – Miranda Lambert
Songwriter(s): Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert Jon Randall
Publishers: Beat Up Ford Publishing (BMI), BMG Platinum Songs (BMI), Lonesome Vinyl Music (BMI), Pink Dog Publishing (BMI), Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI), SWMBMGBMI (BMI)
VIDEO OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Producer(s)/Director(s)/Artist(s)]* (Off Camera Award)
It Ain’t My Fault – Brothers Osborne
Director: Wes Edwards, Ryan Silver
Producer: Tiffany Davies
VOCAL EVENT OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]
The Fighter – Keith Urban featuring Carrie Underwood
Producers: busbee, Keith Urban
Record Label: Capitol Nashville
SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR* (Off Camera Award)
For a complete list of past and present wins and nominations, please visit ACMcountry.com and search the ACM Awards Database located on the Homepage.
Getty Images is the official photographer for the ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS
About the Academy of Country Music Awards
The 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards™ is dedicated to honoring and showcasing the biggest names and emerging talent in the country music industry. The show is produced for television by dick clark productions and broadcasted LIVE from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 8:00 PM live ET/PT on the CBS Television Network. Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, R.A. Clark, Barry Adelman and Mark Bracco are executive producers. Pete Fisher is executive producer for the Academy of Country Music.