56th Annual ACM Awards: See Some of the Evening’s Top Performances

Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Maren Morris, Ryan Hurd, Miranda Lambert and Chris Stapleton turned in some of the top performances

Sunday evening’s 56th annual Academy of Country Music Awards performances offered a breadth of musical styles and an array of performers. Alan Jackson offered a traditionalist and nostalgic moment with his rendition of his 2002 hit “Drive (For Daddy Gene)” and his new track “You’ll Always Be My Baby.” Little Big Town’s outdoor performance (sans LBT member Phillip Sweet, who was sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19) of “Wine, Beer, Whiskey” was polished pop-country accented with horns and drums. Dierks Bentley enlisted Americana duo The War and Treaty, as well a guitar duo Larkin Poe, for a bluegrassy rendition of U2’s “Pride (In the Name of Love),” which Bentley previously included on his 2010 album Up on the Ridge.

Miranda Lambert and Elle King opened the show with a rendition of “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” that dripped in funky ’80s nostalgia (not to mention jackets with blazing pink and blue fringe). Lambert later gave Chris Stapleton a last-minute assist on his intimate tribute to the loyalty of a good dog during his performance of “Maggie’s Song” at the Bluebird Cafe, and then joined Jack Ingram and Jon Randall for an acoustic rendition of “In His Arms,” from her own upcoming album The Marfa Tapes.

Vocal powerhouse Carrie Underwood took viewers to church with an electrifying medley of gospel hymns, with an extra jolt of vocal firepower from gospel legend CeCe Winans.

Maren Morris, who took home Female Artist of the Year and Song of the Year (for “The Bones”), joined her husband and fellow artist Ryan Hurd for a sizzling rendition of their new duet “Chasing After You.” Meanwhile, ACM Awards co-hosts Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton had their own special performance moments, including Urban’s guitar-driven “Tumbleweed” and Guyton’s uplifting, choir-backed “Hold On.”

Below, watch some of the ACM Awards’ top performances of the evening:

Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney, “Half of my Hometown”

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