Jason Aldean and Thomas Rhett hosted some very special guests during rehearsals for the 2018 ACM Awards: About 100 survivors of the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting joined the two country stars at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

"I think, you know, I'm sort of forever bonded with those people, and I've had a chance to meet a lot of them and hang out and sort of spend a little one-on-one time with them," Aldean tells WYRK's Liz Mantel and Clay Moden, who are in Las Vegas, Nev., for ACM Awards festivities. "You hear those stories, and it's tough, man; it's just been sort of a roller coaster thing."

Aldean was onstage when the shooting began at the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival on Oct. 1; he and his wife Brittany (who was also at the festival that night) returned to Las Vegas to visit those injured in the attack one week later. Aldean admits that he expects to "always have that little feeling in our gut" whenever he comes to Las Vegas now, but he's also "glad" to be back -- specifically for the 2018 ACM Awards.

Remembering the Victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting

"If we're going to go back, I think the ACMs are the place to go back and be," Aldean says, "because you're surrounded by all your friends and artists ... You kind of feel like you have a support system there."

The 2018 ACM Awards are set to air live on CBS beginning at 8PM ET. Reba McEntire will be hosting the show.

The Boot will be staying up late covering the most buzzed-about winners, fashion and moments at the 2018 ACM Awards. Readers can watch along with us by checking back to TheBoot.com for the latest ACMs headlines, liking The Boot on Facebook and following The Boot on Twitter.

See Photos From 2018 ACM Awards Rehearsals

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