Host Dolly Parton, the classic country royal family, is the only traditional thing on Monday night’s Academy of Country Music Awards ceremony, a show that is almost in every way committed to a new stream.
Joining Parton will be co-hosts Jimmy Allen and Gabi Barrett – all three will also perform – at a ceremony that shifts from network TV to streaming only, with no ads on Amazon Prime Video and moves from the theater to the Allegiant outdoor stadium in Las Vegas.
The best nominee of the year is Chris Young, whose seven nominations, including album of the year and single of the year, are in part because he has received double awards as a performer and producer.
“I’ve never been nominated for anything before,” said Young, who will also be part of a couple of performances, including his hit “Raised on Country.” “So it’s great. And you know, I’d love to win one of them. I would like to win them all. ”
The return of Morgan Wallen, if he comes and wins any major awards, could be one of the highlights of the evening. Wallen returned as a four-time candidate after being removed from last year’s ACM vote after he was filmed on camera using racial insults. He has since been absent from other awards shows, but has gradually returned to the spotlight.
His nominations include the album of the year for “Dangerous: The Double Album,” which was the most popular album in all genres last year. He also received nominations as Artist of the Year and Song of the Year.
But the ACM Awards in Vegas have always been more about presentations than trophies, and this year’s Amazon experiment, an accelerated, concert-like format with no ads, will make it more true than ever.
Drawn by ACM’s reputation for a fun, engaging and inclusive atmosphere, the streaming giant sought to go beyond the live sporting events it previously broadcast to connect them with a large audience of country fans listening to Amazon Music.
The show will have a sporty look, with three scenes, spider cameras on top, continuous action and intense graphics.
The awards will be handed out in parts, not between songs, with one 35-minute block of non-stop performances. Editing will also be offered after showing only performances.
Co-hosts Barrett and Allen will open the show with a set of two songs. Host Parton will perform a song from her upcoming album with Tennessee colleague Kelsey Ballerina.
ACM acting artist of the year Luke Brian also has double performances, including his hit “Buy Dirt” with Jordan Davis and the performance of his ballad “Up”. Other performers include Kane Brown, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldin, Chris Stapleton, Eric Church, Maren Morris, Walker Hayes, Thomas Rhett, Blanca Brown, Brooke Eden, Carly Pierce, Ashley McBride and Braland.
Miranda Lambert received five nominations, including Artist of the Year, and is now in her 16th nomination for Artist of the Year with Rebbe McEntyre. First nominee Walker Hayes also received five nominations because of his viral themed Applebee song “Fancy Like,” which was received as the single of the year.
Chris Stapleton, a five-time nominee, is vying for the title of Artist of the Year along with Lambert, Eric Church, Luke Combs and Carrie Underwood.
Along with Morgan, album nominees of the year included Carly Pierce, Thomas Rhett, Young, Lambert, Jack Ingram and John Randall.
A few days before the show, two awards were announced. Laney Wilson was named New Artist of the Year, and Parker McCall was named New Artist of the Year. Both will also perform.