ACM Awards 2021: Best Moments from Country's Big Night

We've rounded up the can't-miss moments from the 2021 ACM Awards

01 of 12

Miranda Lambert & Elle King's Fabulous Fringed Duet

Miranda Lambert and Elle King
Kevin Mazur/Getty

Lambert, up for five awards — and is the most nominated female artist in the show's history, with 68 nods total — and King, who is currently expecting her first child, kicked off the show with a matching moment, decked out in fringed leather jackets and black sequin jumpsuits for their rendition of "Drunk (And I Don't Wanna Go Home)."

02 of 12

Keith Urban & Mickey Guyton's Opening Monologue

co-hosts Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton speak onstage at the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards
Kevin Mazur/Getty

The co-hosts started the evening with a quick and quippy chat, expressing their gratitude for the opportunity and for the vaccinated frontline workers in the audience. Urban also hosted the 2020 ACM Awards in September. Guyton, who welcomed her first child in February, made history as the first Black female artist to host the annual awards show.

03 of 12

'Famous Friends' Kane Brown & Chris Young's Duet

Chris Young and Kane Brown
Chris Young and Kane Brown. Jason Kempin/Getty

The collaborators took to the stage to perform their hit single "Famous Friends." Brown made history this year as the first Black solo artist to win the video of the year award for his powerful "Worldwide Beautiful" music video, which features an emotional message about justice and equality.

04 of 12

Miranda Lambert & Chris Stapleton's Acoustic Set

Miranda Lambert and Chris Stapleton
Terry Wyatt/ACMA2021/Getty

The country legends played a stripped-down set at Nashville's iconic Bluebird Cafe, performing Stapleton's ode to his late dog, "Maggie's Song." Stapleton's wife Morgane was supposed to sing with him, but had to bow out last minute due to a "prior doula commitment."

05 of 12

Maren Morris & Ryan Hurd's Onstage Kiss

Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd
Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd. Jason Kempin/Getty

The pair, who welcomed their first child, son Hayes Andrew, last March, performed an intimate rendition of their first song together, "Chasing After You," amid a field of pampas grass.

06 of 12

Lady A's City Session

Lady A ACMS
Terry Wyatt/ACMA2021/Getty

Set against Nashville's skyline, the country band — made up of Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood — energized the show with their waterfront performance of "Like A Lady."

07 of 12

Carrie Underwood's 'Amazing' Performance

Carrie Underwood and CeCe Winans
Kevin Mazur/Getty

The singer opened with an emotional rendition of "Amazing Grace" and a medley of other songs from her recently released album of gospel hymns, My Savior, before welcoming CeCe Winans onstage for a duet set against a projected backdrop of stained glass windows.

08 of 12

Carly Pearce's Exuberant Win

Lee Brice and Carly Pearce
Lee Brice and Carly Pearce. Kevin Mazur/Getty

Pearce and Lee Brice took home the award for single of the year for their song "I Hope You're Happy Now," which also won the trophy for music event of the year earlier this week. The singer appeared to be in delighted shock, jumping up and down before giving an exuberant acceptance speech.

09 of 12

Blake Shelton's Musical Medley

Blake Shelton
Blake Shelton. Kevin Mazur/Getty

The Voice judge performed a number of his hits from the past two decades, starting with his 2001 single, "Austin," to his new song, "Minimum Wage."

10 of 12

Mickey Guyton's Misty Solo

Mickey Guyton
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Dressed in a cobalt blue gown and cape, the co-host belted out her song "Hold On" with accompaniment from a gospel choir in the audience and a live orchestra on stage.

11 of 12

Keith Urban's Fiery Performance

keith urban
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

The co-host gave an energetic rendition of his song "Tumbleweed," with crackling projections of smoke and fire on the screens behind him as he and his band rocked out.

12 of 12

Little Big Town Taking It to the Streets

little big town
Terry Wyatt/ACMA2021/Getty Images

The band hit the streets of downtown Nashville along with a mini marching band, dancing down the road as they sang their hit "Wine, Beer, Whiskey." The group gave a sweet shout-out to fellow bandmate Phillip Sweet, who is currently recovering at home after testing positive for COVID-19. The singers even hilariously waved to a cardboard cutout of Sweet at the end of their performance.

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