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ACMs a ratings high, and you can still watch the night's best performance

April 6, 2009 |  1:35 pm

MIRANDA_LAMBERT_AP__2 Times don't appear to be tough for music award shows. Two months after the Grammy Awards experienced a much-needed ratings boost, CBS reports that Sunday night's Academy of Country Music Awards had its best ratings in the key 18-49 demographic since 2005.

In early Nielsen data published on TV by the Numbers, the ACMs consistently brought in more than 14 million viewers for its entire three-hour telecast. By comparison, that's a little bit down from the numbers ABC scored with the rival County Music Assn. Awards late last year, but CBS can still boast a 31% increase over last year in the 18-49 demographic.

That should be good news for country artists on next week's Nielsen SoundScan sales chart. Expect boosts for album of the year winner Taylor Swift and entertainer of the year Carrie Underwood. Strong performances from Lee Ann Womack, Kenny Chesney and Blake Shelton should also pay off.

But all were bested by one Miranda Lambert, who used the telecast to unleash a new song, "Dead Flowers," which will hopefully be on her as-yet-untitled album, tentatively due in September.

For now, the clip is on YouTube, and you can watch it below. It's 3½ minutes of spiteful tension. There's a sense that the song is always on the verge of exploding -- and Lambert is one of the fiercest singers in any genre -- but it never does.

It's a kiss-off, but one in which the singer is nearing the point of exhaustion. When the guitars do briefly flare up in the song's final moments, it's only to match Lambert's snarl. The song gets bonus points for its devastatingly depressing imagery of Christmas lights in January, the strongest metaphor for a broken heart heard on the show.

Song after the jump.

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Associated Press