Luke Bryan, Maren Morris, Thomas Rhett, Chris Stapleton Win Top ACM Award Categories
April 18, 2021
Morris (Photo: Brent Harrington / CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.)
Despite having to withdraw from his planned performance on the “56th ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS” as a result of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, LUKE BRYAN was named Entertainer of the Year last night (4/18), and accepted the award via video from LOS ANGELES while the show was being broadcast from NASHVILLE. It was BRYAN's third time winning the category, and his 10th ACM Award overall.
MAREN MORRIS won her second consecutive Female Vocalist award. Additionally, MORRIS’ “The Bones” was named Song of the Year, an honor she shared with fellow songwriters JIMMY ROBBINS and LAURA VELTZ. It was MORRIS' first win in the Song of the Year category. THOMAS RHETT was named Male Vocalist of the Year, his third time topping that category. CHRIS STAPLETON won Album of the Year for “Starting Over.”
CARLY PEARCE and LEE BRICE’s hit duet, “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” won the Single of the Year prize during the show, adding to their previous win in the Music Event category, announced late last week. it was PEARCE's first time winning both categories. BRICE had two previous wins in the Single of the Year category.
During the performance-packed show, hosted by KEITH URBAN and MICKEY GUYTON, eight trophies were handed out, joining the four presented in the days prior to the telecast. OLD DOMINION won their fourth consecutive Group of the Year trophy while DAN + SHAY notched their third consecutive win in the Duo of the Year category.
DAN + SHAY’s performance of current hit “Glad You Exist” was, unfortunately, marred by an audio/video sync issue, but the duo seemed to take the technical glitch in stride, releasing a statement soon after saying, “We’re bummed about it, but it happens, especially when performances are happening in multiple locations. Kudos to the @ACMawards for pulling off a great show.” SHAY MOONEY also addressed it during the virtual backstage press conference, noting that they had pre-taped their performance the day before the show.
The show's three surprises included BRAD PAISLEY joining previously announced performer JIMMIE ALLEN at NASHVILLE's BLUEBIRD CAFE for a performance of their duet, "Freedom Was A Highway," which ALLEN had expected to handle solo after being told PAISLEY was out of town. In addition to her two announced performances, MIRANDA LAMBERT made a surprise third appearance on the show, joining CHRIS STAPLETON on his "Maggie's Song," written about his late dog. And BROTHERS OSBORNE got a second performance slot, closing the show with "Dead Man's Curve," after performing current single "I'm Not For Everyone" earlier in the show.
Following is a complete list of winners.
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR • LUKE BRYAN
FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR • MAREN MORRIS
MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR • THOMAS RHETT
DUO OF THE YEAR • DAN + SHAY
GROUP OF THE YEAR • OLD DOMINION
ALBUM OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]
“Starting Over” – CHRIS STAPLETON
Producers: CHRIS STAPLETON, DAVE COBB
Record Label: MERCURY NASHVILLE
SINGLE OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]
“I Hope You’re Happy Now” – CARLY PEARCE & LEE BRICE
Record Label: BIG MACHINE RECORDS / CURB RECORDS
SONG OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Songwriter(s)/Publisher(s)/Artist(s)]
“The Bones” – MAREN MORRIS
Songwriter(s): JIMMY ROBBINS, MAREN MORRIS, LAURA VELTZ
Publishers: BIG MACHINE MUSIC, LLC; EXTRAORDINARY ALIEN PUBLISHING; INTERNATIONAL DOG MUSIC; OH DENISE PUBLISHING; ROUND HILL SONGS; WARNER-TAMERLANE PUBLISHING CORP.
Winners Announced Pre-Telecast
NEW FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR • GABBY BARRETT
NEW MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR • JIMMIE ALLEN
VIDEO OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Producer(s)/Director(s)/Artist(s)] • “Worldwide Beautiful” – KANE BROWN Director: ALEX ALVGA. Producer: CHRISTEN PINKSTON
MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)] • “I Hope You’re Happy Now” – CARLY PEARCE & LEE BRICE, Producer: BUSBEE, Record Label: BIG MACHINE RECORDS / CURB RECORDS