2021 ACM Awards: Everything You Need to Know
If it seems like just yesterday the 2020 ACM Awards took place, you're not too far off: The annual awards show last occurred in September, after being postponed from its usual April date as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021, however, the show is slowly adjusting back to its usual schedule, keeping the more traditional ACMs run date of mid-April. And while the event will still be a little different than fans are used to due to continuing social distancing regulations, last year's event proved that even amidst a pandemic, the ACMs are still sure to deliver an evening full of action-packed excitement. It's not billed as Country Music's Party of the Year for nothing!
At the 2020 ceremony, Taylor Swift performed for the first time since 2013, Mickey Guyton became the first Black female artist to ever perform solo on the ACM Awards stage, and, oh yeah -- there was a tie in the Entertainer of the Year category, between Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett, for the first time in ACMs history.
In 2021, The Boot will once again be on hand to make sure you don't miss a moment of the epic performances, well-deserved wins and curveball surprises. Read on for all the details we know so far about the show!
When and Where Are the 2021 ACM Awards?
The 2021 ACM Awards will take place on Sunday, April 18. That's a move back to a run date that's more typical for the show, which was forced to postpone its annual event from April to September in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the fact that the ACMs are getting back to a more normal schedule time-wise, the location of the ceremony will once again be affected by the pandemic. In February, news broke that the awards show will take place in Nashville, across three different legendary Music City stages: the Grand Ole Opry House, the Bluebird Cafe and the Ryman Auditorium. Select performances will also take place at the Bridge Building and the Station Inn, and on Lower Broadway.
That's a continuation of how the proceedings took place in 2020. The show typically takes place in Las Vegas, Nev., but in the interest of keeping artists safe and socially distanced, the event moved to Music City and spread out across the three different venues.
Where Can I Watch the 2021 ACM Awards?
The 2021 ACM Awards will air live on CBS at 8PM ET. Showrunners will air the event from the various venues, but fans can watch all the performances and winners announcements on CBS, no matter on which stage they take place.
The 2021 ACM Awards will also be available to stream on Paramount+. Sign up for the streaming service here.
Who's Hosting the 2021 ACM Awards?
Keith Urban is back to host the ACM Awards this year, for a second consecutive year; however, this time around, he'll have a co-host: Mickey Guyton, who Urban accompanied on piano during her 2020 ACM Awards performance. It was that performance, in fact, that convinced showrunners to ask Guyton to co-host with Urban.
"I'm sitting with the executive-producer team at Dick Clark Productions and we were watching that live performance, and we literally had goosebumps just watching her blossom onstage like that," recalls ACM CEO Damon Whiteside. "It was so powerful watching Keith play piano for her. We were so moved by it. Literally, right after that, we were like, 'We've got to ask her to host with Keith next year.' We let the show cool and gave it a little time to breathe, but we were thinking about it from then."
When she steps on the ACMs stage, Guyton will make history once again: this time, as the first Black woman ever to host the show, and the first Black artist overall to do so since Charley Pride did it in 1984.
Who's Nominated at the 2021 ACM Awards?
On Feb. 26, Kelsea Ballerini and the Brothers Osborne appeared on CBS to announce the nominees for Entertainer of the Year, Female Artist of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, Duo of the Year, Group of the Year and Single of the Year. Nominees in other categories were revealed shortly thereafter.
Maren Morris and Chris Stapleton are the most-nominated artists at the 2021 ACM Awards, each receiving six nods this year. Miranda Lambert, Ashley McBryde and Thomas Rhett aren't far behind, though: Lambert extends her record as the most-nominated woman in ACMs history with five new nominations, while McBryde and Rhett each have four.
A full list of 2021 ACM Awards nominees is available here; Gwen Stefani notched her first, while Carrie Underwood is not nominated for Female Artist of the Year for the first time in 15 years. Here's a look at who else earned two or more nominations this year: 18 artists and three producers in total.
Who's Going to Win the 2021 ACM Awards?
It's impossible to predict in advance who will take home the trophies on the big night, though the categories of New Male Artist of the Year, New Female Artist of the Year, Video of the Year and Music Event of the Year have already been announced. The Boot will share additional winners as they are announced.
There is one big-name country artist who definitely will not be among the 2021 ACM Awards winners: With a newly released double album and a recent No. 1 single with "More Than My Hometown," Morgan Wallen would likely have been a frontrunner to be nominated at the awards show, but the Academy of Country Music ruled him ineligible for this year's show after video footage surfaced that showed him using a racist slur.
How Does Voting Work for the 2021 ACM Awards?
Click here for a complete explanation of the ACM Awards voting process.
Who's Performing at the 2021 ACM Awards?
As artists are being tested for COVID-19 ahead of the show, some changes have been made to the performance lineup. Luke Bryan, for one, will not be performing -- or at the show, period -- after testing positive for the coronavirus; Little Big Town, meanwhile, will be down a member, after Phillip Sweet contracted the virus.
2021 ACM Awards: The Performers
Jimmie Allen, "Freedom Was a Highway"
Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney, "Half of My Hometown"
Gabby Barrett, "The Good Ones"
Dierks Bentley with the War and Treaty and Larkin Poe, "Pride (in the Name of Love)" at the Station Inn
Brothers Osborne, "I'm Not for Everyone" and "Deadman's Curve"
Kenny Chesney, "Knowing You"
Eric Church, "Bunch of Nothing"
Luke Combs, "Forever After All"
Dan + Shay, "Glad You Exist"
Mickey Guyton, "Hold On"
Ryan Hurd and Maren Morris, "Chasing After You"
Alan Jackson, "You'll Always Be My Baby" and "Drive (For Daddy Gene)"
Lady A, "Like a Lady"
Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and Jon Randall, "In His Arms"
Miranda Lambert and Elle King, "Drunk (and I Don't Wanna Go Home)"
Little Big Town, "Wine, Beer, Whiskey" on Lower Broadway
Ashley McBryde, "Martha Divine" at the Bridge Building
Carly Pearce and Lee Brice, "I Hope You're Happy Now"
Thomas Rhett, "What's Your Country Song" and "Country Again"
Blake Shelton, "Austin" and "Minimum Wage"
Chris Stapleton, "Maggie's Song"
Carrie Underwood, My Savior gospel songs medley featuring CeCe Winans
Keith Urban, "Tumbleweed"
Chris Young and Kane Brown, "Famous Friends"
Who's Presenting at the 2021 ACM Awards?
Ingrid Andress, Blanco Brown, Amy Grant, Leslie Jordan, Martina McBride, Dolly Parton, Darius Rucker and Clay Walker will all be presenters at the 2021 ACM Awards.
Who Will Be Attending the 2021 ACM Awards?
Prior to the pandemic, fans were able to purchase tickets to the ACM Awards, but in 2021, fans are, once again, not invited to the show. Media, too, are instead participating in a backstage press room and red carpet coverage in a virtual capacity.
Performers, nominees, presenters and other artists generally attend the big event in person, though they'll be spread out between the venues and on their buses backstage. Additionally, Vanderbilt University Medical Center staff -- all of whom have been vaccinated, but will still be wearing masks -- have been invited to the show.
What About the Rest of the 2021 ACM Awards-Related Events?
As in 2020, the ACM canceled its Party for a Cause in 2021. However, Brantley Gilbert is hosting a charity trail ride and acoustic concert on Saturday night (April 17) to benefit ACM Lifting Lives' COVID-19 response efforts, and a virtual ACM Pre-Party for a Cause, also on Saturday night, will feature an hour of live music. Fans can tune in to the Pre-Party for a Cause on Facebook and YouTube at 7PM CT.
WATCH: The Secret History of the ACM Awards