The Stars! The Strip! The Stadium! What You Didn't See on TV at the 2022 ACM Awards

How did the Academy of Country Music fill a football stadium? With not one, not two, but three different stages

The big winners at the 2022 ACM Awards were announced for all the streaming world to see on Monday night, but there was just as much happening inside Las Vegas' Allegiant Stadium that viewers didn't catch. Here are a few things you didn't see on TV:

How did the Academy of Country Music fill a football stadium? With not one, not two, but three different stages.

Kelly Clarkson. Getty

Because the show was streamed on Prime Video, there were no commercials. To accomplish a constantly-running program, the show had multiple stage locations. Kelly Clarkson, for instance, sang "I Will Always Love You," her incredibly moving tribute to co-host Dolly Parton, on the main stage; Maren Morris performed on a stage on the third level of the 65,000-seat stadium; Kane Brown and Parmalee (with Blanco Brown and Brooke Eden) performed in the center of the stadium on the same stage that artists were accepting awards on.

Maren Morris. Getty

Naturally, two stages were always being taken down and set up for the next acts while the other stage was in use and entertaining streaming viewers. It was truly 100 yards of country music.

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Parmalee, Blanco Brown and Brooke Eden. Getty

The ACM Awards were a COVID-19 safe zone. All ticketed guests were required to provide proof of vaccination ahead of their arrival at the show. Security officers stood just outside the gates to make sure every attendee had the jab.

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With so much ground to cover, the awards used Allegiant Stadium's digital banners to add ambiance to the performances. During Chris Young and Mitchell Tenpenny's At the End of a Bar, the digital ring around the arena was lit up with multicolored beer and liquor bottles. Likewise, when Walker Hayes played his earworm Fancy Like, lyrics from the song ran across the banners. Now that's fancy!

Chris Young and Mitchell Tenpenny. Getty

After the cameras were off, Ashley McBryde and Carly Pearce twice hugged tightly and bowed down to each other after singing their music event of the year-winning hit "Never Wanted to Be That Girl." McBryde didn't realize at the time she was bowing down to the woman who would eventually be crowned ACM female artist of the year.

Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde. Getty

At most award shows, the celebrities sit in the front and rarely mingle with the crowd. At the ACMs, the celebrities sat in the middle, allowing fans to get a glimpse of them throughout the show (depending on your seat). Some fans were even lucky enough to get up close and personal at times.

After Brothers Osborne took home the award for duo of the year, they walked through the crowd on the floor, hugging and high-fiving complete strangers who had high-priced tickets. Yellowstone actress Kelsey Asbille even took a few quick photos with fans as she walked through the crowd after she presented an award with costar Luke Grimes.

Carrie Underwood, Morgan Wallen, Brittany Aldean and Midland congratulate Brothers Osborne. Getty

Spoiler alert: Not all the performances were actually live. Although Gabby Barrett and Jimmie Allen were on hand as they co-hosted with Parton, their individual performances were pre-taped, meaning the crowd watched them on the arena's screens, just as viewers did. Luke Bryan's performance of "Up" was also pre-taped. Onsite fans were sometimes confused while wondering where these performances were actually taking place (answer: rehearsals).

Luke Bryan. Getty

Fun fact: as Barrett's flawless tribute to Lee Ann Womack was being shown, Carrie Underwood was seen singing along while waiting to perform ACM single of the year "If I Didn't Love You" on the main stage with Jason Aldean.

The ACMs didn't skimp on the pyrotechnics. Although viewers were able to see pyro during several sets, they didn't spot just how sparkly the show really was. During Aldean and Underwood's song, perfectly-timed pyro was going off in the stands just out of the camera view (and just far enough away from the spectators).

Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood. Getty

Also, if it looked like fireworks were going off behind Thomas Rhett as he performed "Slow Down Summer," you would be correct… However, those fireworks were being launched outside of the stadium, whereas Thomas Rhett was inside. Like Morris, Thomas Rhett played on the third level of the Raiders' home stadium, which is completely indoors.

Thomas Rhett. Getty

The north end of Allegiant Stadium uniquely features windows (which allows drivers on the adjacent freeway to peer into the stadium as they drive by, as well as spectators inside the venue to look out onto the famed Las Vegas Strip — those windows are also retractable). The ACMs took advantage of the see-through architecture, launching a massive fireworks display outside the stadium during the indoor performance.

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