How Can a Tie at the ACM Awards Even Happen?
The ACM Awards ended in a tie, and unlike in sports and politics, there's no way to break it. Maybe Thomas Rhett and Carrie Underwood could have a karaoke contest — or they could arm wrestle? Of course, that would break CDC social distancing guidelines.
If you missed it, ACM Awards host Keith Urban read two names on Wednesday night (Sept. 16). First, the chuckling show leader named Rhett, who took the stage for a few remarks about winning and the peculiar circumstances. As if holding an awards show in an empty venue wasn't strange enough, right?
Underwood was called to the stage second, after Urban held the room for a few extra beats. Eric Church, Luke Combs and Luke Bryan were no doubt leaning in during that breathless moment, as were their fans — but it was not to be on this night. Fortunately for Combs and Church, there's another chance in two months at the CMA Awards.
So, how does a tie happen?
See the Best Pictures from the 2020 ACM Awards
The first thing to know is that the ACM Awards allow for it. Check out the ACM Awards Criteria and Policy for yourself and skip ahead to page 14 to read: "In the case of a tie, all winners will receive an award." The second thing to know is that nothing was moved around over the last six months to make sure as many people as possible went home with warm and fuzzies. There were no participation trophies, because the group in charge of protecting the results has a lot to lose by allowing a scandal.
In April, when the 2020 ACM Awards were postponed, ACM CEO Damon Whiteside told Billboard that the votes would remain locked up by someone at Deloitte. They've been doing this kind of thing for years and never has there been a whisper of maleficence. "They won't be shared with anybody, nobody gets prior information," Whiteside said.
Really, what's the upside for tweaking the results? This is much more fun to talk about and brings a lot more attention to a show that lacked a little vigor — well, that would be the reason, but it seems like a high risk, low reward proposition, doesn't it? If you're going to risk something, why not just put butts in seats?
Just a few thousand people vote for the ACM Awards, and while that seems like too many for a tie, remember that ties (or near ties) happen in elections all the time when there are many times as many voters. With five "candidates," the margin of victory is likely even slimmer. But still, we wondered ...
Has there ever been a tie in ACM or CMA history? The short answer is we don't think so, but let us know on Twitter if you can remember a tie.