Chris Young and Kane Brown won't get to bring their buddies with them to the 2021 ACM Awards, but, truthfully, Young is just happy they get to be there.

"I wish we could, but, hey, we're gonna perform, we're onstage," Young shared on Friday (April 16), ahead of Sunday's (April 18) ACM Awards ceremony. "We're keeping everybody safe, we get to have an awards show -- I'm good."

The COVID-19 pandemic has kept Brown and Young from performing "Famous Friends" live with a full band, until now. They recorded the song together and recently played it together at an acoustic show, but their ACMs performance will be a big first.

"I'm so excited," Young admits. "That sounds so weird to say [that we haven't performed it live with a full band yet] ... but obviously, just with the craziness of not being able to go play shows, we haven't been able to do it yet."

It'll also be both artists' first time performing with someone else at the ACM Awards. Their performance will take place at the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville.

"It's always such a special building," Young tells the Academy of Country Music. "The times that I've had here have been so fantastic."

Brown is headed into Sunday night's show a 2021 ACM Awards winner already -- his Video of the Year victory, the first of his career and the first in that category for a Black artist, was announced on Wednesday (April 14) -- and has a shot at Album of the Year, too. His Mixtape, Vol. 1, released in 2020, is one of five nominees in that category.

"I'm so excited for him, especially with that video," Young says of his collaborator and friend's ACMs win. "The video he did for "Worldwide Beautiful" is just spectacular, and I know he put a lot of time and a lot of heart into that video. Just to see him win for that, I'm so pumped for him."

Even with pandemic-related restrictions in place, Young says he's ready to celebrate Brown's big moment.

"He has to," Young says. "I'm gonna celebrate just because."

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 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.

2021 ACM Awards Nominees: The Full List

Maren Morris and Chris Stapleton lead all 2021 ACM Awards nominees with six each and Miranda Lambert has five, including Female Artist of the Year. Thomas Rhett and Ashley McBryde will be up for four ACM awards on April 18. The CBS broadcast will award trophies for Entertainer, Song and Album of the Year, in addition to Duo and Group of the Year. This is a list of all ACM Awards nominations for 2021.

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