The Most Unforgettable Moments of the 2024 ACM Awards

From Jason Aldean’s Toby Keith Tribute to Chris Stapleton and Dua Lipa’s surprise duet, here’s a recap of the best moments of “Country Music’s Party of the Year!”

By

Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

May 17, 2024

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11:46 am

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Reba McEntire and Post Malone perform at the 59th Academy of Country Music Awards from Ford Center at The Star on May 16, 2024 in Frisco, Texas; Photo Courtesy ACM

The 59th Academy of Country Music Awards took place on Thursday, May 16, bringing “Country Music’s Party of the Year” to a global audience via Prime Video. 

Taking place at the world headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, the show featured a lineup of some of country music’s hottest stars and buzzed-about artists.

The show featured an array of unforgettable moments, from touching tributes to surprise duets. Here’s a rundown of the most memorable moments of the show. 

Jason Aldean Delivers Heartfelt Tribute To Toby Keith 

Just a little over three months following Toby Keith’s passing, Jason Aldean graced the stage to pay a poignant tribute to the late country music legend. Accompanied by two guitarists and a string quartet, Aldean delivered an unforgettable rendition of “Should’ve Been A Cowboy.” As images of Keith flashed on the screens behind him, the Georgia native, who shared the stage with Keith last fall in Oklahoma, moved the late icon’s family to tears as they looked on from the audience. This performance marked one of Aldean’s best vocal displays in recent memory, making it all the more memorable. 

Ashley McBryde and Noah Reid Bring The Laughs With Single of The Year Presentation 

ACM Awards producers allowed Ashley McBryde to write her “own bit” for the show and she completely knocked it out of the park. Teaming up with Outer Range star Noah Reid to present the ACM Award for Single of the Year, McBryde turned it into a musical bit that featured hilarious takes on each of the nominated songs. For example, for “Fast Car,” she sang the lyrics  “Do you have a star bar/ Is it down on lower Broadway/ Oh, you don’t/ Me neither/ I’ve heard good things about Eric’s place” to the tune of the song. 

Later, Reid poked fun at the Morgan Wallen chair incident when he sang “Last night after some alcohol/ [that] chair right over there really started to piss me off/ It told me that I threw it at somebody I never met/ and my publicist keeps telling me this ain’t over yet” to the melody of “Last Night.” McBryde then quipped “You should smile in the mug shot,” a reference to Wallen’s latest mug shot where he can be seen grinning from ear to ear. 

Chris Stapleton and Dua Lipa perform onstage at the 59th Academy of Country Music Awards from Ford Center at The Star on May 16, 2024 in Frisco, Texas; Photo Courtesy ACM
Chris Stapleton and Dua Lipa perform onstage at the 59th Academy of Country Music Awards from Ford Center at The Star on May 16, 2024 in Frisco, Texas; Photo Courtesy ACM

Chris Stapleton and Dua Lipa Surprise With Unexpected Duet 

Thursday night was a big night for Chris Stapleton. Not only did he take home four wins, the most for any artist, but he also pulled off the biggest surprise of the evening when he sang a duet with Dua Lipa on the ACM Awards stage. The pair joined forces for a collaborative rendition of Stapleton’s “Think I’m in Love With You” from his ACM Album of the Year winning project Higher. They captivated viewers with their powerhouse vocals, making for one of the most magical moments of the night.

Reba McEntire at the 59th Academy of Country Music Awards from Ford Center at The Star on May 16, 2024 in Frisco, Texas; Photo Courtesy ACM
Reba McEntire at the 59th Academy of Country Music Awards from Ford Center at The Star on May 16, 2024 in Frisco, Texas; Photo Courtesy ACM

Reba McEntire Triumphs as ACM Awards Host

The 17th time was truly a charm for Reba McEntire, who crushed her role as ACM Awards host. She is a true professional and handles herself with grace at all times. Reba never misses and we loved seeing her up on that stage! Her show-closing performance of “I Can’t” was the cherry on top for country music fans. Fans can look forward to Reba’s return next year for the monumental 60th Academy of Country Music Awards.   

Post Malone Wows In ACM Awards Debut

Post Malone more than earned his country cred with his ACM Awards debut. The genre-bending star gave fans a taste of what’s to come on his highly anticipated country album with the debut of the song “Never Love You Again” and a rendition of “I Had Some Help” (sans Morgan Wallen). Post Malone commanded a large portion of the show with his two-song performance, and he also shared the stage with host Reba McEntire for an additional musical number Together, they delivered a heartfelt a cappella rendition of “Ramblin Man” as a tribute to the late Dickey Betts of The Allman Brothers.

Cody Johnson performs onstage at the 59th Academy of Country Music Awards from Ford Center at The Star on May 16, 2024 in Frisco, Texas; Photo Courtesy ACM
Cody Johnson performs onstage at the 59th Academy of Country Music Awards from Ford Center at The Star on May 16, 2024 in Frisco, Texas; Photo Courtesy ACM

Cody Johnson Steals The Show With “Dirt Cheap”

Texas native Cody Johnson kept his performance simple, allowing the sentimental lyrics of his latest single, “Dirt Cheap” to shine. This was by far one of the best moments of the show as it highlighted the raw and genuine storytelling that is the truly the heartbeat of country music. As more and more artists lean into pop-infused tracks and cross-genre collabs, we can always count on Cody Johnson to keep it country. 

Viewers can experience the thrill of the 59th ACM Awards all over again with the complete rebroadcast now accessible for streaming on Prime Video. Additionally, beginning tonight, Friday, May 17 at 8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT, catch the awards on the Amazon Music App and enjoy them for free on Amazon Freevee.

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.