The show must go on, and on Sunday night, it did, though the CBS special that aired was much different than the one the Academy of Country Music originally planned. Once the COVID-19 pandemic made the annual ACM Awards in Las Vegas impossible, a who’s-who of country stars came together to record socially-distant performances for ACM Presents: Our Country.
Hosted by Gayle King, the two-hour special kicked off with reigning Entertainer of the Year Keith Urban, who’s still set to host this year’s awards, which have been moved to the fall.
Stars turned in stripped-down performances from all across the U.S., with Luke Bryan and half of Little Big Town checking in from Florida. Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani were in Oklahoma, while Darius Rucker and Dierks Bentley were both in their home states, South Carolina and Colorado, respectively. Shania Twain did a memorable performance from Las Vegas, alongside both her horse and her dog.
As you might expect, the show was heavy on positive, uplifting tunes like Tim McGraw‘s “Humble and Kind,” Luke Bryan’s “Most People Are Good,” Thomas Rhett’s new song “Be a Light,” and Florida Georgia Line‘s “Blessings.”
Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley were surrounded by their families in BK’s Nashville living room, while Lady Antebellum‘s performance of “What I’m Leaving For” included cameos from Charles Kelley‘s son Ward and Dave Haywood‘s little boy, Cash. Kimberly Williams-Paisley ran camera for her husband.
Brad Paisley teamed up with his pal Darius Rucker for virtual duets on “Mud on the Tires” and “Wagon Wheel,” returning to close the show with a tribute to Kenny Rogers, who passed away March 20. Brad and Darius did “Lucille” and “The Gambler,” with Luke Bryan contributing “Coward of the County.”
Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini, Old Dominion, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Kane Brown, John Legend, and Sheryl Crow all contributed performances as well.
The 55th ACM Awards are set to air Wednesday, September 16 on CBS, though the Academy hasn’t announced where they’ll be held.
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