On Sunday night, country music stars gathered in Las Vegas for the 53rd annual Academy of Country Music Awards. From host Reba McEntire’s moving rendition of her 1993 hit “Does He Love You” with Kelly Clarkson to Miranda Lambert’s historic wins, here are the top moments you missed:
“On this night, our country community, the people here in Las Vegas and all of you at home are united through the healing power of music,” Lambert said at the beginning of the show. Lambert joined her fellow country music stars – Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Maren Morris and Thomas Rhett – on stage to pay tribute to those affected by the October shooting that left 58 dead in Las Vegas after a lone gunman opened fire at a country music festival.
“Music does so much more than provide escape from the pain,” Morris said. “It inspires us, it soothes us, and it makes us stronger.”
In her opening monologue, McEntire, who first hosted the ACM awards in 1986, poked fun at Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley, who hosted the year before.
“I guess they finally figured out it only takes one woman to do the job of two men,” she said to cheers.
She also pointed out that the Entertainer of the Year category featured five men – and zero women, joking that it was like “singles night at the Holiday Inn.” McEntire won the award in 1994.
Lambert won song of the year for “Tin Man” and took home the award for best female vocal vocalist, making her the most-awarded artist in ACM history.
“Thank you guys so much for sharing my broken heart with me,” Lambert said after accepting the award for song of the year.
Carrie Underwood took the stage to perform “Cry Pretty,” a powerful performance that earned her a standing ovation from the audience. After performing, she accepted the award for best vocal event alongside Keith Urban for their song, “The Fighter.”
“Thank you for having me,” Underwood said. “I’m still kind of shaking right now.”
It was the first time since November that Underwood had appeared on television. In January, Underwood revealed that she fell outside her home, breaking her wrist and sustaining other injuries. She warned fans that she “might look a bit different,” but on Sunday night, there was no visible difference.
To commemorate her 1993 hit “Does He Love You,” McEntire enlisted her talented daughter-in-law, Kelly Clarkson. For the duet, McEntire graced the stage in the same dress she wore 25 years ago when she first performed the song at the ACM awards.