Nobody’s “Amazed” as ACMs “Fly” high

Shania Twain was named entertainer of the year and the Dixie Chicks won group and album prizes for “Fly” at the 35th Academy of Country Music Awards on Wednesday night.

Lonestar’s riveting “Amazed” was picked best song and single.

It was a big night for country sweethearts, even though nominees Tim McGraw and wife Faith Hill lost as entertainers of the year.

Each won a second consecutive male or female vocalist of the year award and Hill won top video for “Breathe.”

The 3,000-member academy also voted the duet “When I Said I Do” by Clint Black and actress-wife Lisa Hartman Black as the vocal event of the year. Black hadn’t won an ACM trophy since 1990.

It was the second consecutive album award for the Dixie Chicks Martie Seidel, Natalie Maines and Emily Robison. The trio’s “Wide Open Spaces” won last year.

The new male vocalist winner was Brad Paisley; top new female was Jessica Andrews. The new duo or group trophy went to Montgomery Gentry.

Taking a controversy head on, George Strait and Alan Jackson led off the night’s performances with “Murder on Music Row,” the “someone killed country music” ditty that asserts the traditional country sound has been drowned out by money-grubbing pop leanings.

The Pioneer Award was presented to Tammy Wynette, the first time the academy has given the award posthumously. Trisha Yearwood introduced the tribute to Wynette, whom she called “the original country music diva.”

Dolly Parton, the show’s host, Patty Loveless, Martina McBride and Naomi Judd and daughter Wynonna sang Wynette’s signature song “Stand By Your Man.”

For the first time in recent memory, the show was Garth-less. Garth Brooks, the country music artist of the decade last year, wasn’t nominated this year and didn’t attend.

Other awards include:

* Radio Station: KUZZ-FM in Bakersfield

* Disc Jockey: Dusty Chandler of KMLE-FM in Phoenix

* Nightclub: Gibson’s Caffe Milano in Nashville

* Casino: Boulder Station in Las Vegas

* Buyer/promoter: Randy Wright of Nashville’s Integrity Events

* Instrumentalists: Glenn Worf, bass; Eddie Bayers, drums; Stuart Duncan, fiddle; Brent Mason, guitar; John Hobbs and Hargus Robbins (tie), keyboard; Jerry Douglas, specialty instrument (dobro); and Jay Dee Maness, steel guitar.

MAYBE A NICE CHEESE BASKET MIGHT HAVE WORKED: Cracker Barrel’s literacy sweepstakes was supposed to be a good thing: 10 winners got to go to Wednesday’s Country Music Awards and pick 10,000 children’s books to be donated in their name to the library of their choice. So far, Arizona Republic reports, one Arizona library received 11,796 copies of one preschool book “What Would Happen If,” 1,000 copies of “Quick and Easy Pasta” paperbacks, outdated textbooks and 200 copies of “How to Use Microsoft Windows 95.” An Alabama library plans to haul hundreds of copies of an outdated microbiology text to the dump.

Says Cracker Barrel spokeswoman Jennifer Presley, “This was intended to be a useful gift. We are extremely disappointed that this has created difficulties . . . and are trying to determine what we can do to alleviate the situation.”

WHY UP CLOSE, THEY’RE KIND OF REPULSIVE: Next time you give in to your impulse to smash a creepy-crawly cockroach into oblivion, you may lose out on one million dollars. That’s right, instead of marrying an insect, contest promoters now want you to find that skittering critter in the “Million Dollar Roach” contest ( Fourteen sponsors are releasing 350 bar-coded roaches, one of which bears the $1 million marker. In each service area lucky Petaluma is the only participating California exterminator will be a roach with the 2000 Volkswagen Bug prize, while any roach with a bar-code is $100. Not to worry, the largest cockroach found in each area nets $1,000 to the lucky catcher, who then gets entered into the national contest for a shot at $5,000 and permanent infamy in the Guinness Book of Records.

All bugs must be turned in by 5 p.m. on June 30. They can be either alive or dead, but in good condition.

Today’s People Column was compiled by Vera H-C Chan and Kristen Crowe from staff and wire reports. Comments? Write to us c/o the Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596-8099. Or call 925-943-8262, fax 925-943-8362, or e-mail


Wedding scheduled: For Newt Gingrich and Callista Bisek. The two will marry Aug. 18 in Alexandria, Va., said Randy Evans, the former House speaker’s personal lawyer. Attorneys for Gingrich have acknowledged he had a relationship with Bisek, 33, while he was married to his second wife, Marianne. They were divorced in December.

Birthdays: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (72), jazz musician Maynard Ferguson (72), opera singer Roberta Peters (70), jazz musician Ron Carter (63), rock musician Dick Dale (63), singer Tyrone Davis (62), singer-songwriter Nick Ashford (58), actor Paul Gleason (56), pop singer Peggy Santiglia of The Angels (56), country singer Stella Parton (51), singer Jackie Jackson of The Jacksons (49), country singer Randy Travis (41), actress Mary McDonough (39), rock musician Mike Dirnt of Green Day (28), rock musician Jose Castellanos of Save Ferris (23), singer Lance Bass of N Sync (21).