Justin Moore Explains ACM Awards Lack of Viewers: ‘Forgot the Flyover States’

by Allison Hambrick
(Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Justin Moore has a few choice words to explain why the ACM Awards lack consistent viewership. In short, he felt like the lack of authentic country musicians makes fans less likely to tune in.

“If they put country artists on there, they’d probably get back some viewers,” said Moore on his podcast. “And that’s not a knock to everybody else, but it just makes no sense why you call it a country music awards show and you don’t put all country music artists.”

In past years, the awards show welcomed a number of performers from different genres to the stage. For example, the 2022 ACM Awards saw Kelly Clarkson sing a tribute to country legend Dolly Parton. While Clarkson sounded beautiful, Moore argued that perhaps a country singer would be a better fit for the performance.

“Probably about, I dunno, 10 years ago, they started going away from the country acts – and I don’t mean traditional country, I mean actual country artists, whether you’re pop country, rap country, rock country, whatever,” he continued. “And they started bringing in celebrities and people outside the genre that were artists…and letting them play. Not only present, but play, and it knocked off the guys like me, Tracy Lawrence, name anybody, any artists that’s not a superstar.”

Justin Moore Suggests Why the 2022 ACM Awards Ratings Suffered

Additionally, Moore discussed how the Academy of Country Music shot themselves in the foot when it came to drawing in a bigger audience. For several years, the ACM Awards failed to draw in a substantial crowd. Moving the awards show to Amazon Prime did little to solve the ratings issue.

Additionally, to watch the ACMs, fans either needed an Amazon Prime subscription or had to pay extra. Many experienced outages which hindered their ability to watch the show. Others were frustrated with the inability to rewind or record the program. Either way, the experiment of moving an awards show to a streaming service yielded some polarizing results.

“All they did was sour peoples’ tastes. They kept going away from having country artists, having more pop artists, actors, celebrities, etc. And as they kept the balance getting out of whack more and more the ratings kept just plummeting, dropping, dropping, dropping, dropping, to the point where [CBS] is losing so much money that they just completely drop it. They tried to get cute with it thinking ‘We know what we’re doing. People want to see this.’”

Between the technical difficulties and the lack of country stars, it stands to reason that many fans share Moore’s criticisms. As for how the ACM will handle the awards show moving forward, it’ll be interesting to see.

“No, country music fans want to see freaking country music artists,” Moore then concluded. “That’s what they want to see. So they shot themselves in the foot.”