ACM Awards recap
Biggest winners and hottest moments from a fiery ACM Awards in Frisco
Dolly Parton sang rock 'n' roll, wheeled a goat on stage, and Facetime'd with Willie Nelson. The 58th annual Academy of Country Music Awards - held Thursday, May 11 at the Star in Frisco - were a wild and sometimes wacky celebration of country music in 2023.
There were tributes to Texas and Dallas-Fort Worth throughout the night, including Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott and Emmitt Smith presenting awards and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders waving their silver and blue pom-poms on the red (well, black) carpet. The Star in Frisco is, after all, the Cowboys' home turf.
Keith Urban opened the show with an rousing performance of “Texas Time,” which ended with him being raised into the air on a platform while shredding on his guitar. (Wife Nicole Kidman joined him at the event, in town for her own special Dallas gig as keynote speaker for Genesis Women's Shelter's fundraising luncheon on Friday.)
Country music icon Dolly Parton teamed up with Garth Brooksas hosts of the two-hour show, which was streamed live and nearly commercial-free on Prime Video. Things got off to a bit of a weird start when he introduced her as the "G.O.A.T." and she then wheeled a real goat onstage (poor thing!) and cracked a joke about a threesome.
“I think I speak for everybody, not just in Texas but around the world, when I say we will always love you,” a blushing Brooks replied.
The show was as much concert as it is awards presentation. The star-studded lineup of performers and special collaborations included Cole Swindell and Jo Dee Messina on their (award-winning) hit "She Had Me At Heads Carolina - REMIX.” Karaoke lyrics displayed throughout the arena urged the audience to join in, whether they knew the song from back in Messina's day or Swindell's updated version.
In another "coming together" of generations, 2022 ACM Female Artist of the Year winner Carly Pearce and Trisha Yearwood (who won the award 25 years ago) performed a special medley of Yearwood’s hits, including “Wrong Side Of Memphis,” “XXX’s And OOO’s,” and “She’s In Love With The Boy."
English pop superstar Ed Sheeranperformed “Life Goes On” from his newly-released album “-” (Subtract) and surprised the crowd when he brought Luke Combs to the stage to join him.
Texas' own Miranda Lambert performed "Carousel,” a song she described as one of her favorite songs she has ever written. (A live version will be released on Amazon Music on May 16.)
New Female Artist of the Year winner Hailey Whitters made her ACM Awards stage debut with a performance of her fan-favorite song, “Everything She Ain’t.”
The War And Treaty mesmerized the crowd with a stripped-back performance of their song “Blank Page.”
Jelly Roll and Lainey Wilson performed “Save Me” in a moment that highlighted Academy philanthropic partner ACM Lifting Lives. Also, Wilson electrified the stage a performance of “Grease,” making its TV debut.
Ashley McBryde, along with Brandy Clark, Caylee Hammack, Pillbox Patti,and John Osborne, delivered an empowering performance of “Bonfire at Tina's” from McBryde's ACM Award-nominated album Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville.
It wasn't the only fiery performance.
As promised, Dolly Parton closed the show with one of her biggest performances to date with the world premiere of “World On Fire,” the lead single from her highly anticipated forthcoming rock album Rockstar. The over-the-top production included backup dancers, confetti, and lots of pyrotechnics.
But oh yes, there were awards given out, too. Chris Stapleton, Lainey Wilson, and Cole Swindell were among the night's biggest winners.
Below, a list of the big winners at the 58th ACM Awards. Scroll through the photos above to see some of the most memorable moments from the Texas-sized show.
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR: Chris Stapleton
FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Lainey Wilson
MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Morgan Wallen (who was absent due to illness)
DUO OF THE YEAR: Brothers Osborne
GROUP OF THE YEAR: Old Dominion
NEW FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Hailey Whitters
NEW MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Zach Bryan
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Bell Bottom Country - Lainey Wilson, Jay Joyce, Broken Bow Records
SINGLE OF THE YEAR: She Had Me At Heads Carolina - Cole Swindell, Zach Crowell, Warner Music Nashville
SONG OF THE YEAR: She Had Me At Heads Carolina - Cole Swindell, Ashley Gorley, Cole Swindell, Jesse Frasure, Mark D. Sanders, Thomas Rhett, Tim Nichols
VISUAL MEDIA OF THE YEAR: wait in the truck - HARDY feat. Lainey Wilson
SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR: Ashley Gorley
ARTIST-SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR: HARDY
MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR: wait in the truck - HARDY feat. Lainey Wilson