Country fans still haven't forgiven the DIXIE CHICKS - the trio were booed while they performed at last night's (21MAY03) AMERICAN COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS.

The group were vilified after making anti-PRESIDENT BUSH comments during a tour overseas, and despite publicly apologising for their remarks, country devotees refuse to forgive them.

Every time their name was mentioned the audience booed, and they continued to jeer during a performance which was beamed to the event's new Las Vegas, Nevada, home from Austin, Texas, prompting presenter Vince Gill to urge the audience to "Stop it, stop it".

He added, "You know who gets blessed when you forgive - you."

It was a better night for ACM stalwarts Alan Jackson and BROOKS + DUNN - Jackson won Album of The Year for DRIVE, as well as a video honour and Brooks + Dunn were the Top Vocal Duo.

Brooks + Dunn extended their collection of ACMs to a record 17. Jackson's tally rose to 11.

Toby Keith, who led this year's (03) nominations with eight, took home only one prize - as Entertainer of The Year. The disappointed star had already left the venue when his name was called.

The highlight of the night came when freed American prisoners of the Iraq war CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER RONALD YOUNG, PATRICK MILLER and SHOSHANA JOHNSON were invited on stage.

Other winners included Kenny Chesney, who claimed the Male Vocalist of The Year and Record of The Year (THE GOOD STUFF) honours; Martina McBride, who was named Female Vocalist for the second successive year, and Rascal Flatts,

who also took home a brace of awards as Group of The Year and Song of The Year I'M MOVIN' ON.

22/05/2003 21:15