The Academy of Country Music presented the 11th Annual ACM Honors at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium on August 23, recognizing the special honorees and off-camera category winners from the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards. The event featured a star-studded lineup of live performances and award honorees including Kelsea Ballerini (Gene Weed Milestone Award), Toby Keith (Poet’s Award), Reba McEntire (Mae Boren Axton Service Award), Dolly Parton (Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award), George Strait (Cliffie Stone Icon Award), and more. The all-star lineup of presenters who took the stage included Jason Aldean, Chris Janson, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Maren Morris, Brad Paisley, Cassadee Pope, and Brett Young. Additionally, the event honored winners of the Industry and Studio Recording Awards, along with Songwriter of the Year Award winner, Lori McKenna.
Hillary Scott opened the evening with a performance of “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” and was then joined by Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild for a powerful duet performance of “Does He Love You” for which they received a standing ovation. The duo then welcomed Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman for a special performance of “Little Rock” in tribute to Reba McEntire. Fairchild, Schlapman, and Scott then presented McEntire with the Mae Boren Axton Service Award. Kelsea Ballerini also performed “Legends” before receiving her award, which was presented to her by Lady Antebellum. Following her acceptance speech, Ballerini performed a medley of #1 hits including “Dibs,” “Love Me Like You Mean It,” and “Peter Pan.”
Catch all the award recipients and performances during the two-hour special that is set to air on Friday, September 15 (9:00 – 11:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
By Kinya Claiborne, STYLE & SOCIETY
Photo Credit: Getty Images for ACM