ACMs, Country Stars Give to St. Jude's, Shakira Goes Country!

miranda-lambert-600They're not only happy to be nominated – they're happy to take the stage and rock out.

Academy of Country Music Award nominees Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Keith Urban and The Band Perry will be among the performers on the April 6 telecast, PEOPLE can reveal.

Lambert is tied with Tim McGraw for the most ACM nominations this year seven. Urban has six, while Shelton is among four acts that have five nominations each.

Bryan and Shelton will also be the evening's cohosts at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, having teamed up in the same roles for last year's entertaining show.

In addition to his MGM Grand performance and hosting responsibilities, Bryan will rush over to the Mandalay Bay Events Center during the show for a special performance with Florida Georgia Line at the 4th Annual ACM Fan Jam.

The 49th annual Academy of Country Music Awards will air April 6 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. More acts and presenters will be revealed in the coming weeks.
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Recap1
Dierks Bentley, Tyler Farr, Florida Georgia Line and Justin Moore are a few of the celebrities that stepped up for the second and final day of the Taste of Country fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. However, each will be quick to point to the kids as the real stars. And indeed, on this day, they were.
Lela Moody’s touching story and adorable smile won hearts over. The little girl was just six weeks old when her mother and father were faced with an impossible decision: remove her left eye, or choose chemotherapy.

A 2-year-old Tyler Bates was displaying flu-like symptoms, but his mother Jennifer knew something else was wrong. What doctors found shocked her, but three years later, the tiny Texan is doing well, thriving in karate and baseball.
Bentley, Moore and Eli Young Band were three of the artists who said St. Jude meant even more to them after having kids.

Sara Evans agrees! Tyler Farr and the boys of Florida Georgia Line don’t have kids, and neither does Chase Rice, but that didn’t stop any of them from speaking passionately about what St. Jude means to them. Newcomers Leah Turner, the Swon Brothers also stood up to urge their fans to donate to St. Jude, as did ‘We Are Tonight’ singer Billy Currington.

Thanks to all artists — and readers — who helped make our first-ever St. Jude webathon a success. Over a dozen acts called or recorded video for Taste of Country, then retweeted or shared on Facebook. Thanks also to the families who opened their hearts to spill stories for ToC readers. It’s for kids like Tyler and Lela that we’re fighting!
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shakira-blake-shelton-the-voice-650
When Shakira wanted to get a little bit country on her upcoming album, she approached fellow "The Voice" coach Blake Shelton. The result is "Medicine," a country song that's light enough on fiddle and steel to work on pop radio.

"I told him I wanted to work with Nashville people," Shakira told Billboard's Leila Cobo for the magazine's current cover story. "I was a little tired of L.A. I wanted people with another point of view, real people with roots with whom I feel comfortable working in the same room. And I told Blake I wanted to do a song that had the narrative of a country song, that was picturesque, that was a real song. But it also needed to suit me, because after all, I'm Colombian."

"I think I have real folk roots in my previous albums," she added. "The acoustic guitars, that type of narrative, songs that have a traditional structure. And I said to [Shelton], 'I want to do that type of song.' When I wrote the song I didn't know what direction to go in and I did like eight versions. Dance, pop…but I said no, this is a country song."

The bilingual star worked on the song with writer Hillary Lindsey and producer Mark Bright - who both have collaborated with Carrie Underwood, among others.

"I think she did a hell of a job," Shelton said. "One thing is for someone like her to say she's going to do something and another is to do it. And I'll be damned, a month and a half ago she wrote me and said, 'I wrote the song, and I want you to tell me what you think.' And I said: 'Gosh dang, you did exactly what you said you'd do. It sounds like a hit song.'

"I was so nervous. You have no idea. I was so scared he was going to say, 'No, Shakira. I love you, but no,'" recalled Shakira. "But then he said, 'Sister, I love you this is great.'

"And then she said, 'Well, do you want to sing on it?'" Shelton added. "I was honored to do it."

Shakira and Shelton sang each other's hits during the opener of this season's Feb. 24 premiere of "The Voice," when Shakira performed a rocking version of "Boys Round Here," and Shelton took a shot at Shakira's "Whenever, Wherever," on which she joined him for the chorus.

"She was one of those huge international stars I had only seen from a distance," he said. "…And she feels like someone I had known my whole life. She's motherly to everyone she meets. I love being around her and seeing how she treats the group of people who travel with her. She's just a real person."
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excuse for a country music post, y/y? who are you excited to see perform at the ACMs?