The 2021 ACM Awards felt as close to a country music festival as fans have seen in the last 14 months. Nearly 30 artists performed one or two songs; there were at least two surprise collaborations among the performances.

Brad Paisley surprised Jimmie Allen when he took the stage at the Bluebird Cafe, and Miranda Lambert surprised fans when she took a third stage, in between performances with Elle King and her The Marfa Tapes collaborators. That was her teaming with Chris Stapleton to sing "Maggie's Song" at the Bluebird, after his wife Morgane had to bow out at the last minute.

Emotional performances from Alan Jackson and Carrie Underwood were among the highlights of the 2021 ACM Awards. Carly Pearce and Lee Brice's spirited performance of "I Hope You're Happy Now" aired after they won a Single of the Year ACM for the song.

Kenny Chesney performed twice. Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd shared a stage. Little Big Town took over a street, closing Lower Broadway in downtown Nashville for their performance.

Twenty-nine artists were scheduled to play 30 songs in three hours. It was a lot, but after a year with so little concert entertainment, we'll take it.

The 2021 ACM Awards took place in Nashville on Sunday night (April 18). Luke Bryan was crowned Entertainer of the Year, while Thomas Rhett and Maren Morris were named Male and Female Artist of the Year, respectively.

The three-hour show was also packed with performances from Miranda Lambert, Luke Combs, Little Big Town and many more. Artists were at the Grand Ole Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Cafe, as well as on Lower Broadway, at the Station Inn and along the Nashville riverfront.

Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton co-hosted the show.
The best dressed on the 2021 ACM Awards red carpet brought color — lots of color — for an awards show that promises to be a celebration. Photos show stars like Carly Pearce, Kelsea Ballerini, Chris Young, Kane Brown and more wearing the hottest and often most expensive designer outfits, or suits they designed themselves, in the case of Jimmie Allen.

Check out a full gallery of country music's hottest stars on the ACM Awards red carpet. Who do you think is best dressed and worst dressed?

The 2021 ACM Awards took place at the Bluebird Cafe, Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on Sunday (April 18).

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