Country Stars Hit Las Vegas for ACM Awards

Free Concerts, Brooks & Dunn Tribute Bookend 45th Annual Awards Show

Good luck if you’re planning to see any major country stars out and about in Nashville this weekend. Virtually all of them will be in Las Vegas for Sunday night’s (April 18) Academy of Country Music Awards .

CBS will broadcast the 45th annual awards show live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Reba McEntire will be hosting the show for the 12th time, and she’ll also perform.

Other activities surround the main event, but the focus since Thursday (April 15) has been on rehearsals for Sunday’s awards show. Trace Adkins and Blake Shelton have already rehearsed their performance of “Hillbilly Bone,” and Jack Ingram and Dierks Bentley have put the finishing touches on their performance together. Jason Aldean, Billy Currington, Luke Bryan, Laura Bell Bundy and Joey & Rory also arrived early in Las Vegas for the rehearsals.

Among the show updates revealed Friday (April 16) is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member John Fogerty’s performance with Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley.

Other highlights will include Toby Keith’s musical tribute to his friend, Wayman Tisdale, a three-time All-American at the University of Oklahoma, former NBA player and acclaimed jazz bassist. Tisdale died last year from complications from cancer treatments. Jazz saxophonist Dave Koz will join Keith for the performance of “Cryin’ for Me (Wayman’s Song).” Audio and video downloads of Keith’s ACM performance will be available at iTunes. All proceeds from downloads will benefit Stand Up to Cancer, the ACM’s designated charity this year, in its mission is to accelerate groundbreaking cancer research.

Additionally, the show will also feature performances by Bryan, Brooks & Dunn, Darius Rucker, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Gloriana, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift and Tim McGraw.

The ACM also announced Friday that Faith Hill, Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn and actors Josh Duhamel and Eddie Cibrian have been added as presenters. Duhamel is a star of the Transformers film series. Cibrian met LeAnn Rimes during the filming of a made-for-TV movie, Northern Lights. He and the singer were the subject of national media attention after their romantic relationship was made public during Rimes’ marriage to dancer Dean Sheremet. Rimes and Sheremet later filed for divorce. She will also be one of the presenters at the ACM Awards along with Julianne Hough, LL Cool J, actress Kristen Bell and actor Matthew McConaughey.

McConaughey and actress-singer Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) will be the presenters during Monday’s (April 19) taping of ACM Presents: Brooks & Dunn: The Last Rodeo. Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Darius Rucker are the latest additions to the list of performers at the tribute concert. Scheduled to air May 23 on CBS, the special honors Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn, who will receive the ACM’s Milestone Award for their 20-year career as a duo.

Among those performing the musical tributes are Paisley, Underwood, Rucker, Aldean, Chesney, Urban, Lady Antebellum, Lambert, McEntire, Sugarland, Swift, George Strait, Rascal Flatts and Jennifer Hudson.

The ACM is also presenting two nights of free concerts at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. Appearing Friday are Lady Antebellum, David Nail, Danny Gokey, Emily West and The Band Perry. Saturday’s lineup includes Miranda Lambert, Joey & Rory, Gloriana, Luke Bryan and the Randy Rogers Band.

View photos from the ACM rehearsals.