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Maren Morris, Luke Bryan big winners at ACM Awards

ACMs: Maren, Luke win big

It was a big night for Maren Morris and Luke Bryan at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Nashville on Sunday.

Bryan, who was forced to pull out of a performance at the show after testing positive for COVID-19, picked up the event's Entertainer of the Year prize, while Maren doubled up with the Female Artist of the Year and Song of the Year honours.

Carly Pearce and Lee Brice were also double winners - their I Hope You're Happy duet landed the Single and Event of the Year trophies, and there were also big wins for Thomas Rhett, who picked up his third Male Artist of the Year gong, and Old Dominion, who took home the Group of the Year honour for the fourth year in a row.

Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton co-hosted the prizegiving at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, with socially distanced performances staged at the city's Ryman Auditorium and Bluebird Cafe, among other venues and locations.

Heralding one of the first live music awards ceremonies since COVID-19 shut the world down over a year ago, Urban said, "Tonight we're gonna be celebrating not only the best in country music, we're also celebrating the progress that's been made by this great city of Nashville - and of course, cities right across America.

"We've been through so much, but I'm very proud to say that we are very much on our way back and we've done it with a lot of fight, and a lot of help."

Guyton then added her thanks to audience members, who were masked, socially distanced, vaccinated healthcare workers from Vanderbilt Health, and noted her sister is a nurse.

"You guys are our army right now, and this would not be possible without you," she said.

Miranda Lambert and Elle King opened the event with the first live rendition of their new song, Drunk (And I Don't Wanna Go Home), and Lambert returned to help Chris Stapleton pay tribute to his dead dog. The pair teamed up for a rendition of his 2020 single Maggie's Song after Miranda stepped in at the last minute for Chris' wife, Morgane, who was forced to pull out of the Bluebird Cafe performance due to "a prior doula commitment".

Lambert also performed In His Arms with Jon Randall and Jack Ingram during the ACMs.

There were also stand-out sets from co-hosts Urban and Guyton, Thomas Rhett, Gabby Barrett, Kane Brown and Chris Young, Lady A, Dierks Bentley and The War & Treaty, Carrie Underwood and CeCe Winans, Alan Jackson, Blake Shelton, Eric Church, Luke Combs, and Maren Morris and her husband Ryan Hurd.



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