Everything You Need to Know About the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards

It’s your ultimate guide to the biggest night in country music!

Tip your cowboy hat if you are ready for the biggest night in country music! Turn on your go-to country artist and crank up the volume because the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards is just hours away and Celeb Secrets Country is here to get you excited!

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the honkey-tonk night will take place across the city of Nashville at several iconic music venues: the Grand Ole Opry, Music City’s historic Ryman Auditorium, The Bluebird Café, Riverfront, Broadway, and Station Inn.

You might be thinking to yourself, didn’t the ACMs recently take place in September? Well, the answer is YES! Like many other events within the past year, the Academy of Country Music had to postpone the ceremony because of the coronavirus. Now, that the world is slowly opening back up, the leading organization is back on schedule.

In September, we watched Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett tie for “Entertainer of the Year” and now it’s time for them to crown the next deserving country star. So, whether you are tuning in to see who earns each title, for the cutting-edge talent, the country-inspired fashion, or to hear from the awesome nominees, we got you covered!

GIVE us a follow on Twitter at @celebsecrets and IG at @celebsecrets, as we’ll be live-tweeting and Instagramming the best moments from the eventful night!

What are the ACM Awards?

The Academy of Country Music Awards has a rich history that tracks back to 1966, when the organization held their very first ceremony. The night recognizes and showcases the biggest names and emerging talents in the Country Music industry. Each winner, receives the iconic and signature “hat” trophy, which was created in 1968. The academy had their first award show televised in 1972 on ABC.

How can I watch the ACM Awards?

Pour yourself a glass of whiskey and get ready to be glued to your television screens, because, on Sunday, April 18 on CBS at 8 p.m. ET/delayed PT the 2021 ACM Awards will be airing LIVE from Nashville. However, if you don’t have cable, you can stream the show via Paramount+.

Is there a red carpet? 

The 56th Academy of Country Music Awards will not have a live red carpet before the award ceremony. However ahead of the show, make sure to turn on SiriusXM’s The Highway (channel 56) the official “ACM Awards Radio.”

Starting on Friday, April 16 through Sunday, April 18 – you can hear exclusive ACM Awards content, which includes backstage and pre-show interviews. To listen visit

Celeb Secrets Country will keep you posted if anything changes. Follow us on Twitter @celebsecrets and Instagram @celebsecrets for live updates!

Who is hosting?

15-time ACM Award winner Keith Urban and “New Female Artist of the Year” nominee Mickey Guyton will be hosting the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards. The 2021 ACM Awards marks Urban’s second year as emcee after hosting the ACM Awards in September, while this marks Guyton’s first time hosting the ACM Awards.

“I’m beyond thrilled to be co-hosting with my friend Mickey,” said Urban in a statement. “I love that finally, everyone will get to see her infectious energy and uber-creative spirit in full light.”

As you sit down and watch the show, keep in mind that Mickey Guyton will be making history – as she is the first woman of color to lead the live primetime network broadcast. Get ready to see the two throughout the night, because they are both nominated for awards and will be performing as well.

Who is Performing? 

Kick on your dancing shoes, country fans because Nashville is bringing the heat with FIRE performances. However, the Academy of Country Music is changing it up a bit and serving us, powerful collaborations between our favorite stars in the industry.

Expect to see – Elle King and Miranda Lambert opening the show with “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home),” Dierks Bentley performing U2’s poignant classic “Pride (In The Name of Love)” with husband and wife duo The War and Treaty, Brothers Osborne “I’m Not For Everyone,” Kenny Chesney “Knowing You,” Eric Church “Bunch Of Nothing”, Luke Combs Forever After All,” Dan + Shay Glad You Exist,” Mickey Guyton “Hold On,” Alan Jackson with “You’ll Always Be My Baby” and a special mashup for “Drive (For Daddy Gene),” Miranda Lambert with Jack Ingram and Jon Randall “In His Arms,” Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd Chasing After You,” Thomas Rhett premiering “What’s Your Country Song” and “Country Again,” Blake Shelton celebrating the 20th Anniversary of his first hit single “Austin” as well as “Minimum Wage,” Chris Stapleton Maggie’s Song,” and Chris Young and Kane Brown Famous Friends.”

To top off the star-studded evening, we will also receive musical performance by Carly Pearce and Lee Brice duetting on “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” Carrie Underwood singing a medley from her new album of gospel hymns, My Savior, which will also feature a duet with CeCe Winans, Kelsea Ballerini, and Kenny Chesney will be coming together for “Half of My Hometown.”

Lady A, Little Big Town, and Keith Urban will also be joining the 56th ACM lineup, in addition to recently revealed “New Male Artist of the Year,” Jimmie Allenand “New Female Artist of the Year,” Gabby Barrett.

Unfortunately, Luke Bryan won’t be making his grand appearance at the 2021 ACMs. The American Idol Judge and pop-country star recently tested positive for COVID-19 and will be taking a step back from performing to keep himself and everyone safe.

Who are the big nominees?

If you name your favorite country star, they are most likely nominated for a 2021 ACM Award!

Country music powerhouse Maren Morris and extraordinary vocalist Chris Stapleton will be rolling into the highly anticipated night, tied with the most nominations. Trailing closely behind is Miranda Lambert with five nominations and Thomas Rhett and Ashley McBryde with four nominations.

Male country artists dominate the “Entertainer of The Year” category: Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Thomas Rhett, and Chris Stapleton. The “Female Artist of the Year” noms include – Kelsea Ballerini, Miranda Lambert, Ashley McBryde, Maren Morris, and Carly Pearce. In the male category, the list includes Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Thomas Rhett, and Chris Stapleton.

During the show, us country fans will be witnessing HISTORY because for the first time ever, four Black musicians are nominated for awards: Jimmie Allen, Kane Brown, Mickey Guyton, and John Legend. However, that’s not all! Women of country music are sweeping the “Single of the Year Category”

Who is presenting? 

Dolly Parton, the Queen of country music is coming out to honor the best of the best in the industry. To give Parton a helping hand, you will see Ingrid Andress, Blanco Brown, Amy Grant, Leslie Jordan, Martina McBride, Clay Walker, and Darius Rucker presenting throughout the night.

Don’t forget: the 2021 ACM Awards air TONIGHT, April 18th @ 8PM ET/PT on CBS and Paramount+


Written by Tiffany Goldstein

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