ACM Awards: Backstage and Upfront with Jason Aldean

“I Wear This As a Badge of Honor”

After Jason Aldean won the ultimate ACM Award of the night on Sunday (April 15) — entertainer of the year — he came backstage to share his feelings about how much the win meant to him.

“I could get used to this,” Aldean said as he casually held his third EOTY trophy by his side.

But he did say that he was going to celebrate a little more cautiously this year. Aldean took home the same ACM Award for entertainer of the year in 2016 and 2017, and admitted that he’s overdone it before.

“The first year I won, I celebrated a little too hard, and I missed my flight the next day,” he laughed. “So I’ve got to be careful I don’t do that. I think more than anything I like to hang out with my guys. The guys in my band, my producer, my management, and my record company. I have a great team around me, and a lot of people who worked really hard behind the scenes to make my career what it has become. I get all the credit, but my thing is, on nights like tonight, I really just wanna go celebrate with them.”

Jeff Kravitz/ACMA2018/FilmMagic for ACM

While the ACM defines the entertainer of the year category in its own way, Aldean says that he sees it his own way. “To me personally, this is a touring award. Everybody can make their case that it’s about something else, but to me that’s what it is, what it’s always been and that’s what it will always be,” he said. “I wear this as a badge of honor.”

And of course, he touched on the tragic shooting in October, when he was onstage at the Route 91 Harvest festival. “From now on, we will sort of be forever be linked to Vegas. For the one horrible night we had here, we’ve had a million great ones. And tonight was a million and one. I love this town. I love the city. It’s just a different vibe for us coming back here,” he said.

Aldean’s competition in the category this year was all male, but he predicted that that won’t always be the case. “I definitely think there’s some (women) that are worthy of being in there for sure. I mean, Miranda, Carrie, and I told Lauren Alaina she sang her behind off tonight. And Kelsea and Maren.

“Honestly, down the road, if they happen to win one, I’ll be the first one to congratulate them,” he said. “Because it’s probably a little overdue.”

Leading up to the show, Aldean and Thomas Rhett hosted survivors from the shooting at their rehearsals at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The ACM released footage from their visit on Saturday (April 14).

An all-new CMT Hot 20 Countdown, airing Saturday and Sunday (April 21-22) at 9 a.m. ET, will have more on all the action from the ACMs in Las Vegas.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.