The Academy of Country Music Awards aired last night after months of pushing back the show due to the pandemic. With performances and acceptances scattered across different Nashville venues, 2020’s ACM Awards were filled with surprising moments that made up for the long wait. Here are a few highlights from the show.
Making her return to the ACM stage after seven years, Swift performed “betty” from her new album folklore live for the first time. Swift played the song from the Grand Old Opry with a stripped-down set and low-key stage presence. She previously won the ACM Award for Entertainer of the Year twice.
Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett
This year’s Entertainer of the Year award went to not one, but two country musicians. For the first time in ACM history, the award was a tie between Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett to the dismay of many fans. Underwood has won the award twice before, and the two songwriters seemed happy to share a win.
Singer/songwriter Mickey Guyton delivered an incredible performance of her song “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” Guyton was backed by the show’s host Keith Urban on the piano while she addressed themes of injustice in the world. She was the first Black woman to perform on the ACM stage.
Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani
Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani also made an appearance during the show. The crossover couple played “Happy Anywhere” in a green-screened version of Bluebird Cafe. Shelton and Stefani were actually in Los Angeles, but thanks some creativity, they were still able to record a live performance. Shelton won the Single of the Year award for his song “God’s Country.”
Performing at the real Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Miranda Lambert delivered a live rendition of her song “Bluebird.” The song was Lambert’s first number one hit on Billboard’s country chart in eight years. She won her 35th ACM Award last night for Vocal Event of the Year.
Last but not least, Maren Morris won the award for Female Artist of the Year and performed her song “To Hell & Back” last night. Morris, singing from the Ryman Auditorium, made one of her first live performances since having her first child. She also encouraged viewers to vote during her acceptance speech, the only ACM performer of the night to do so.