2021 ACM Awards: Date, How to Watch, Nomination List, Who’s Performing and Latest News
|Photo: Country Now|
After successfully staging a safe and entertaining awards show last year, the Academy of Country Music sticks to what works and returns to Nashville for the 56th ACM Awards. Like in 2020, the ceremony scatters its musical performances over three iconic locations in Music City — the Ryman Auditorium, Bluebird Cafe, and Grand Ole Opry House — handing out trophies along the way.
“We’re excited to be back in Nashville. This is a great city that’s had a really rough year, even more of a rough year than other cities have had. Our country music industry has basically been out of work and suffering,” says Damon Whiteside, CEO of the ACM and an executive producer of the awards show. “It started with the tornado [in March 2020] and then the bombing [on Christmas Day]. It’s like, oh my gosh.”
ACM Awards 2021: Date and Time
|Photo: Getty Images|
The ACM Awards are headed back to Nashville. The 56th annual ACM Awards will take place on Sunday, April 18 after the nominations for the country music awards show were revealed in February by Kelsea Ballerini and Brothers Osborne as well as by ET's Rachel Smith.
Who is hosting ACM Awards 2021
|Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton co-host the 2021 ACM Awards from Nashville. Russ Harrington/CBS; Cliff Lipson/CBS|
15-time ACM Award winner Keith Urban and New Female Artist Of The Year nominee Mickey Guyton are confirmed to host the star-studded event.
"I'm sitting with the executive-producer team at Dick Clark Productions and we were watching that live performance, and we literally had goosebumps just watching her blossom onstage like that," recalls ACM CEO Damon Whiteside. "It was so powerful watching Keith play piano for her. We were so moved by it. Literally, right after that, we were like, 'We've got to ask her to host with Keith next year.' We let the show cool and gave it a little time to breathe, but we were thinking about it from then."
When she steps on the ACMs stage, Guyton will make history once again: this time, as the first Black woman ever to host the show, and the first Black artist overall to do so since Charley Pride did it in 1984.
Who’s Nominated at the ACM Awards?
Maren Morris and Chris Stapleton are the top nominees at the 2021 ACM Awards, with six nominations apiece. Other top nominees include Miranda Lambert with five, and Ashley McBryde and Thomas Rhett with four each. First-time nominees include Tenille Arts, Travis Denning, John Legend, Pink, Gwen Stefani, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench, who appears on Chris Stapleton’s album Starting Over.
All nominees will be announced at the Opry House, even if some artists receive their awards remotely at other venues. “To keep it really safe, we’re rotating in the audience,” Whiteside adds. “So basically you’ll have each category come up, and the five nominees will be escorted into the Opry House. They’ll be masked and they’ll be socially distanced, and each artist will get one personal guest with them. Then as the winner’s revealed, that winner would go up onstage and the rest will be escorted safely out of the venue, back on their bus in the parking lot.”
How to watch the 2021 ACM Awards
Watch the ACM Awards on CBS on TV (check your local listings), or on Paramount+ -- which launches on March 4. Plans for that service start at $5 per month, though special offers are available now for new users.
The ACMs air live on CBS beginning at 8 p.m. ET on April 18th. The show airs on tape delay on the West Coast.
2021 ACM Awards: The Performers
|Kane Brown, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood; Photos By Andrew Wendowski|
Jimmie Allen, "Freedom Was a Highway"
Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney, "Half of My Hometown"
Gabby Barrett, "The Good Ones"
Dierks Bentley with the War and Treaty and Larkin Poe, "Pride (in the Name of Love)" at the Station Inn
Brothers Osborne, "I'm Not for Everyone" and "Deadman's Curve"
Kenny Chesney, "Knowing You"
Eric Church, "Bunch of Nothing"
Luke Combs, "Forever After All"
Dan + Shay, "Glad You Exist"
Mickey Guyton, "Hold On"
Ryan Hurd and Maren Morris, "Chasing After You"
Alan Jackson, "You'll Always Be My Baby" and "Drive (For Daddy Gene)"
Lady A, "Like a Lady"
Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and Jon Randall, "In His Arms"
Miranda Lambert and Elle King, "Drunk (and I Don't Wanna Go Home)"
Little Big Town, "Wine, Beer, Whiskey" on Lower Broadway
Ashley McBryde, "Martha Divine" at the Bridge Building
Carly Pearce and Lee Brice, "I Hope You're Happy Now"
Thomas Rhett, "What's Your Country Song" and "Country Again"
Blake Shelton, "Austin" and "Minimum Wage"
Chris Stapleton, "Maggie's Song"
Carrie Underwood, My Savior gospel songs medley featuring CeCe Winans
Keith Urban, "Tumbleweed"
Chris Young and Kane Brown, "Famous Friends"
Who Are the Entertainer of the Year nominees?
All dudes. Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Thomas Rhett, and Chris Stapleton compete for the night’s top prize. Thomas Rhett shared the Entertainer honor last year with Carrie Underwood in a first-time tie. “Selfishly, I liked it in the sense that we actually got to honor two people, but it was a total crazy surprise,” says Whiteside. “It’s never happened in our history and probably will never happen again.”
Who Are the Presenters at the ACM Awards?
Dolly Parton, Darius Rucker, Ingrid Andress, Blanco Brown, Amy Grant, Martina McBride, Clay Walker, and actor and Instagram star Leslie Jordan will all present awards at the ACMs.
ACM Awards vs. CMA Awards: What’s the Difference?
The ACM Awards are the centerpiece ceremony of the Academy of Country Music, a West Coast-based country music organization established in 1964. The ACMs are traditionally held every spring in Las Vegas, but were previously held in Los Angeles and, for their 50th anniversary, in Arlington, Texas. The pandemic caused the ACM Awards to move to Nashville for 2020 and for this year’s show. The CMA Awards are the flagship of the Country Music Association, a Nashville-based country org founded in 1958. The top prize for both the ACMs and the CMAs is Entertainer of the Year. The CMAs are traditionally held in Nashville in November.
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