On any country music award show the performances are the highlight and that was certainly true of tonight’s 54th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards; a handful of artists debuted new singles on live TV including Luke Bryan who sang “Knockin’ Boots,” Little Big Town who premiered their new song “The Daughters” and Blake Shelton who sang “God’s Country” for the first time on live TV.
Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line performed “Can’t Hide Red” to kick off the ACM Awards while shots of the crowd included Keith Urban and wife Nicole Kidman as well as Kelly Clarkson and her husband.
Other highlighted performances included:
Maren Morris and Brothers Osborne singing their collaboration from Morris’ new album called “All My Favorite People.”
New ACM Male Artist winner Luke Combs singing his six-week number one “Beautiful Crazy.” It’s not often we see Combs wearing a simple but slick black suit.
Big ACM winners of the night Dan + Shay singing “Keeping Score” with Kelly Clarkson.
New Country Music Hall of Fame inductees Brooks & Dunn performed “Brand New Man” with Luke Combs.
Keith Urban performed “Burden” a touching song that Little Big Town said in introducing him “stopped Urban in his tracks” when he first heard it. The song rang like an anthem for those who need a shoulder to lean on.
Eric Church and Ashley McBryde’s haunting and sultry performance of “The Snake” while smoke filled the stage. The two sing together like they have been doing so all their lives.
Carrie Underwood singing poolside at the MGM Grand her new song “Southbound.” She then took the party inside to the arena and through ACM crowd to the stage.
Reba McEntire performed “Freedom” after being announced in the audience by her old TV buddy from the Reba TV show Melissa Peterman.
A touching performance from This Is Us actress Chrissy Metz in her live singing debut introduced by Carrie Underwood and joined on stage by Maddie & Tae, Lauren Alaina, Mickey Guyton and Carrie. All women on stage were dressed in Navy blue.
Miranda Lambert and George Strait’s duet of an ACM Flashback hit, Strait’s “Run.” Miranda’s outfit was a spectacular reminecent of a 1960’s outfit Patsty Cline would wear.
Dierks Bentley and Brandi Carlile performed “Traveling Light.”