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Maren Morris, Chris Stapleton, Carly Pearce win big at 2021 ACM Awards

20 April 2021 | 11:58 am | Mallory Arbour

The 2021 ACM Awards were a star-studded event that celebrated achievements in the country music industry and featured live performances.

Despite hitting an all-time ratings low this year, the 2021 Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM) were a star-studded event that celebrated achievements in the country music industry and featured live performances streaming from three iconic Nashville venues: Grand Ole Opry House, Ryman Auditorium, and The Bluebird Cafe.

Keith Urban co-hosted the three-hour show with Black Like Me singer, Mickey Guyton, marking the first time a black female artist has ever hosted the event.

Miranda Lambert kicked off the event with Elle King in an energetic performance of their catchy, collaborative single, Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home). Lambert later took the stage with Jack Ingram and Jon Randall for a performance of In His Arms off their forthcoming album, The Marfa Tapes, and also joined Chris Stapleton to perform Maggie’s Song. Filling in the part of his wife Morgane Stapleton, who had to step away due to a prior doula commitment, Lambert certainly kept herself busy this year.

Other performers on the night included Gabby Barrett, Brothers Osborne, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Little Big Town, Ashley McBryde and Blake Shelton. Lady A stepped in very last minute to perform their newest single, Like A Lady, replacing Luke Bryan who had to cancel his performance after testing positive for COVID-19.

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Alan Jackson made his return to the ACM Awards stage with his rendition of his 2002 hit Drive (For Daddy Gene) and his new track You’ll Always Be My Baby. His upcoming studio album – his first in six years – Where Have You Gone is set for release on May 14th.

Meanwhile, co-hosts Urban and Guyton also had their own special performance moments. Guyton delivered an uplifting, choir-backed performance of Hold On, while Urban tore through a high energy, guitar-driven rendition of his single, Tumbleweed off his most recent album, 2020's The Speed of Now, Part 1.

The highlights didn't stop there as many stars joined forces for stellar collaborative performances. Maren Morris joined her husband and fellow artist Ryan Hurd for a sizzling rendition of their new duet Chasing After You. Vocal powerhouse Carrie Underwood took viewers to church with an electrifying medley of gospel hymns, with an extra jolt of vocal firepower from gospel legend CeCe Winans.

Chris Young and Kane Brown sang their single, Famous Friends, while Jimmie Allen took to the stage with Brad Paisley for Freedom Was A Highway. The War and Treaty joined Dierks Bentley for Pride (In The Name of Love), and Carly Pearce and Lee Brice performed their smash I Hope You’re Happy Now. Kelsea Ballerini sang her fourth single from her 2020 album Kelsea, Half of my Hometown with Kenny Chesney. Chesney also gave a solo performance of Knowing You.

Dan + Shay, who took home the award for ‘Duo of the Year’ for the third consecutive year, were accused of lip syncing during their performance of their latest single Glad You Exist, which turned out to be caused by a delay in the broadcast due to it being shot in multiple locations.

The duo wrote on Twitter after the ceremony: “apparently there was an audio/video sync issue on the television broadcast. we’re bummed about it, but it happens, especially when performances are happening in multiple locations. kudos to the @ACMawards for pulling off a great show. (sic)”

Some honours, including the radio categories, were announced prior to Sunday’s ceremony. Gabby Barrett was awarded ‘New Female Artist of the Year’ and Jimmie Allen became the first black artist to ever win a new artist award, taking home ‘New Male Artist of the Year’. The night’s first award, ‘Group of the Year’, went to Old Dominion, and was presented by singer Blanco Brown.

It was a fantastic night for Maren Morris, who led the night with three wins, including ‘Female Artist of the Year’ and ‘Song of the Year’ (for her track The Bones), which awarded her both artist and songwriter credits. Chris Stapleton, who tied with Morris for the most nominations this year with six nods, took home two awards, including ‘Album of the Year’. Pearce also took home two awards for ‘Single of the Year’ and ‘Music Event of the Year’ with Lee Brice, for the single I Hope You’re Happy Now.

Meanwhile, the much-coveted ‘Entertainment of the Year’ award went to Luke Bryan, who accepted his prize from Los Angeles via Zoom. Thomas Rhett took home the award for ‘Male Artist of the Year’, which he previously won in 2019.

Blanco Brown also became the first black solo artist to win ‘Video of the Year’ for Worldwide Beautiful. He is also up for ‘Album of the Year’ for Mixtape Vol. 1. ‘Songwriter of the Year’ and ‘Studio Recording Award winners will be announced at the ACM Honors later this year.

Check out the full list of 2021 ACM Award winners so far below.

Entertainer of the Year:
Luke Bryan -- WINNER
Eric Church
Luke Combs
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton

Female Artist of the Year:
Kelsea Ballerini
Miranda Lambert
Ashley McBryde
Maren Morris -- WINNER
Carly Pearce

Male Artist of the Year
Dierks Bentley
Luke Combs
Eric Church
Thomas Rhett -- WINNER
Chris Stapleton

Duo of the Year:
Brooks & Dunn
Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay -- WINNER
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae

Group of the Year:
Lady A
Little Big Town
Old Dominion -- WINNER
The Cadillac Three
The Highwomen

New Female Artist of the Year:
Ingrid Andress
Tenille Arts
Gabby Barrett -- WINNER
Mickey Guyton
Caylee Hammack

New Male Artist of the Year:
Jimmie Allen -- WINNER
Travis Denning
Cody Johnson
Parker McCollum

Album of the Year:
Born Here Live Here Die Here – Luke Bryan
Mixtape Vol. 1 – Kane Brown
Never Will – Ashley McBryde
Skeletons – Brothers Osborne
Starting Over – Chris Stapleton -- WINNER

Single of the Year"
"Bluebird" – Miranda Lambert
"I Hope" – Gabby Barrett
"I Hope You’re Happy Now" – Carly Pearce & Lee Brice -- WINNER
"More Hearts Than Mine"– Ingrid Andress
"The Bones" – Maren Morris

Song of the Year:
"Bluebird" – Miranda Lambert
"One Night Standards" – Ashley McBryde
"Some People Do" – Old Dominion
"Starting Over" – Chris Stapleton
"The Bones" – Maren Morris -- WINNER

Video of the Year
"Better Than We Found It" – Maren Morris
"Bluebird"– Miranda Lambert
"Gone" – Dierks Bentley
"Hallelujah" – Carrie Underwood and John Legend
"Worldwide Beautiful" – Kane Brown -- WINNER

Songwriter of the Year:
Ashley Gorley
Michael Hardy
Hillary Lindsey
Shane McAnally
Josh Osborne

Music Event of the Year:
"Be A Light" – Thomas Rhett featuring Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, Chris Tomlin, Keith Urban
"Does To Me" – Luke Combs feat. Eric Church
"I Hope You’re Happy Now" – Carly Pearce & Lee Brice -- WINNER
"Nobody But You" – Blake Shelton ft. Gwen Stefani
"One Beer" – HARDY ft. Lauren Alaina & Devin Dawson
"One Too Many" – Keith Urban, P!nk


On-Air Personality of the Year

American Country Countdown – Kix Brooks

Major Market
Double L – Lois Lewis – KNIX-FM – Phoenix, AZ

Large Market
Lexi & Banks – Lexi Papadopoulos, Jared Banks – KUBL-FM – Salt Lake City, UT

Medium Market
Buzz Jackson – KIIM-FM – Tucson, AZ

Small Market
Steve, Ben & Nikki – Steve Stroud, Ben Walker, Nikki Thomas – WXBQ-FM – Bristol, VA

Radio Station of the Year

Major Market
KNIX-FM – Phoenix, AZ

Large Market
WQDR-FM – Raleigh, NC

Medium Market
KUZZ-AM/FM – Bakersfield, CA

Small Market
KKNU-FM – Eugene, OR

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