No, Dierks Bentley Doesn’t Think He’s Winning at the 2021 ACM Awards
Dierks Bentley is used to being the bridesmaid, never the bride, at the ACM Awards. His 2021 Male Artist of the Year nomination is his seventh career nod in the category -- but, no, he doesn't think this is his year to win it.
"It's my seventh time being nominated. I haven't won yet, so odds are, I'm probably not gonna need to make that speech," Bentley tells Taste of Country Nights ahead of Sunday's (April 18) awards show. He's not preparing remarks in case he wins -- but he's also not sulking about never winning the category, either.
"I say this with all sincerity: Being nominated is truly awesome," Bentley adds, "because I listen to the radio just like everybody else. There's so many great guys out there singing, so many great voices and deliveries, and to think that there's only five people nominated and you're one of them -- I sincerely appreciate that."
At the 2021 ACM Awards, Bentley also earned a Video of the Year nomination; Kane Brown has already been announced as that category's winner. Still, Bentley is looking forward to some time onstage on Sunday night: He'll be performing "Pride (in the Name of Love)" with several special guests.
Bentley had initially planned on performing his current single, "Gone," during the ceremony, but when showrunners contacted him to ask for ideas on how to diversify the event -- and said that they wanted Bentley to perform at the Station Inn -- he started thinking bigger.
"I started thinking 'bluegrass' and 'diverse' ...," Bentley says, and texted the War and Treaty's Michael Trotter Jr., who "was all over it."
In addition to the War and Treaty -- Michael and his wife, Tanya Blount Trotter -- Bentley will be joined for his performance of U2's 1984 single by Larkin Poe's Rebecca and Megan Lovell, who will play mandolin and dobro, and banjo player Brittany Haas.
"It's hard for me to mess this one up. There's a lot of talent onstage; there's a pretty ridiculous amount of talent on that stage," Bentley says. "It should be a great moment, and it's an important moment ... because we are trying to change things up a little bit, let some more people in, and I'm excited to be part of that process."
After relocating from Las Vegas to Nashville in 2020 out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACM Awards are back in Music City in 2021. As showrunners did last year, they're spreading this year's event out across iconic venues (the Grand Ole Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Cafe), though a few performances will take place elsewhere. They'll be following national, state and local guidelines related to the pandemic, as well as additional, self-imposed safety measures.
The 2021 ACM Awards will begin at 8PM ET and will air live on CBS and be available to stream on Paramount+. Sign up for the streaming service here.