25 Times the ACMs Showed Us Why They're Country Music's Ultimate Event

25 Times the ACMs Showed Us Why They're Country Music's Ultimate Event

When country’s royal couple serenaded each other.

1. When country’s royal couple serenaded each other.

During the 2014 ACMs, Tim McGraw performed a new song called “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s,” which just so happened to feature the guest vocals of 14-time ACM winner — and McGraw’s lovely wife — Faith Hill. Needless to say, the crowd went crazy for the tender duet.
When Blake Shelton and Shakira set the stage on fire.

2. When Blake Shelton and Shakira set the stage on fire.

With the ACMs, you never know what you’re gonna get — or who you’re gonna see — but that’s part of the show’s magic. Take, for example, when Colombian pop star Shakira joined Shelton on stage for a rousing performance of his song “Medicine.” We’ll take more, please!
When John Mayer crashed the party.

3. When John Mayer crashed the party.

Everyone wants to attend the ACMs, even non-Country artists. After all, it’s the hottest ticket in town. That said, it’s no wonder Mayer was more than happy to share his guitar solo skills with with Paisley during his performance of “Beat This Summer.”
When Carrie Underwood belted out her debut smash.

4. When Carrie Underwood belted out her debut smash.

Carrie is now one of the biggest names in country music, but her first hit, “Jesus, Take The Wheel,” sparked a fire that has yet to go out.
When Tim McGraw got a little help from his famous friends.

5. When Tim McGraw got a little help from his famous friends.

When Taylor Swift and Keith Urban joined McGraw to perform the country crooner’s hit song “Highway Don’t Care” at the 2013 Awards, it was one of the night’s most memorable moments. And look at that lighting!
When Stevie Wonder made everyone’s jaws drop.

6. When Stevie Wonder made everyone’s jaws drop.

In 2013, Wonder surprised everyone by closing out the Awards with his hit “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours,” and by tickling the ivories alongside Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, and Hunter Hayes.
When Jennifer Nettles got cozy in “Bed” with Rihanna.

7. When Jennifer Nettles got cozy in “Bed” with Rihanna.

In 2011, the ACM audience was in awe of Nettles’ unexpected duet with Rihanna on the Sugarland singer’s hit “California King Bed.”

© STEVE MARCUS/Reuters/Corbis
When Carrie Underwood teamed up with a classic rock legend.

8. When Carrie Underwood teamed up with a classic rock legend.

She’s a little bit country. He’s a little bit rock’n’roll. But together, they made a musical match made in heaven when they performed Underwood’s song “Undo It,” followed by the Aerosmith classic “Walk This Way.”
When Miranda Lambert won Top New Female Vocalist for the first time.

9. When Miranda Lambert won Top New Female Vocalist for the first time.

Since 2007, Lambert has won the title of Top Female Vocalist for nine straight years, but that first time was truly special.
When Sheryl Crow rocked out with Dierks Bentley.

10. When Sheryl Crow rocked out with Dierks Bentley.

Both dressed in all black, the pair belted out Bentley’s hit “I Hold On.”
When all the star power nearly caused an electric outage.

11. When all the star power nearly caused an electric outage.

At the 2013 ACMs, the stage almost collapsed when heavy hitters like Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Sheryl Crow, Brad Paisley and the Pistol Annies (composed of Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, and Angaleena Presley) all sang Shelton’s “Boys ’Round Here.”
When Stevie Nicks and Lady Antebellum got together.

12. When Stevie Nicks and Lady Antebellum got together.

In 2014, Lady Antebellum, three-time ACM Vocal Group of the Year winners, teamed up with “Gold Dust Woman” Stevie Nicks to sing the band’s hit “Golden” and the Fleetwood Mac classic “Rhiannon.”
When Taylor sang “Tim McGraw” to Tim McGraw.

13. When Taylor sang “Tim McGraw” to Tim McGraw.

In 2007, T. Swizzle got the chance to serenade her favorite male musician with the song he inspired. It doesn’t get more meta than this.
When Reba McEntire sang with an American Idol.

14. When Reba McEntire sang with an American Idol.

In 2007, McEntire stood alongside Kelly Clarkson and performed the pop singer’s hit “Because of You.” It’s crazy to think that seven years later, the country matriarch became Clarkson’s own mother-in-law. (Kelly married Reba’s son, Brandon Blackstock, in 2013.)

© Steve Marcus/Reuters/Corbis
When Miranda Lambert broke our hearts with “Over You.”

15. When Miranda Lambert broke our hearts with “Over You.”

At the 2012 ACMs, Lambert sang “Over You” so passionately that there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
When Reba McEntire tearfully presented a Garth Brooks tribute to Dick Clark.

16. When Reba McEntire tearfully presented a Garth Brooks tribute to Dick Clark.

We all teared up a little when an emotional McEntire wiped her eyes after introducing Garth Brook’s tribute to Dick Clark at the 48th ACM Awards. The famed American Bandstand host produced the Academy of Country Music Awards show from 1979 on.

After his tragic passing in 2013, Brooks and George Strait performed a melody of “The Dance” and “The Cowboy Rides Away” in his honor.

© MARIO ANZUONI/Reuters/Corbis
When John Rich told the audience to keep calm and yeehaw!

17. When John Rich told the audience to keep calm and yeehaw!

At the end of Big & RIch’s performance of “Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy),” Mr. Rich flipped up his guitar to express his Southern pride.

© Ethan Miller/Reuters/Corbis
When The Band Perry showered the audience in confetti.

18. When The Band Perry showered the audience in confetti.

When The Band Perry made it rain confetti during their performance of “Chainsaw,” host Luke Bryan cracked that “$20 million in hairdos had confetti in it.” Whoopsies!

© ROBERT GALBRAITH/Reuters/Corbis
When a sexy construction crew danced behind Toby Keith.

19. When a sexy construction crew danced behind Toby Keith.

During a rousing performance of “God Love Her,” Keith built up the crowd’s energy with the help of some hot contactors.

© Steve Marcus/Reuters/Corbis
When things got ducky between Josh Turner and magician Lance Burton.

20. When things got ducky between Josh Turner and magician Lance Burton.

Nothing to see here, folks. Just a bowtie-wearing duck helping a grown man open the envelope for Single Record of the Year.

© Ethan Miller/Reuters/Corbis
When Trace Adkins was surrounded by showgirls.

21. When Trace Adkins was surrounded by showgirls.

Trace brought a combination of country class and Vegas sass during the 2006 Awards, which were held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

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When a melting pot of musicians paid a touching tribute to the late Buck Owens.

22. When a melting pot of musicians paid a touching tribute to the late Buck Owens.

Musicians from all walks of life came together to pay homage to Buck Owens. Genre-bending participants included Chris Hillman, Blink-182’s Travis Barker, Dwight Yoakam, Brad Paisley and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons.
When Taylor Swift killed it with her performance of “Should’ve Said No.”

23. When Taylor Swift killed it with her performance of “Should’ve Said No.”

At the 2008 ACMs, a 17-year-old Swift made it rain, like, indoors. That’s one powerful performer.

© Steve Marcus/Reuters/Corbis
When the crowd got KISS’d.

24. When the crowd got KISS’d.

Call us crazy, but we’re betting Lady Antebellum were probably more surprised by the glam rockers handing them the trophy for 2012’s Vocal Group of the Year than they were by their win!

© STEVE MARCUS/Reuters/Corbis
When Toby Keith boozed it up with the audience.

25. When Toby Keith boozed it up with the audience.

“Red Solo Cup” singer Toby Keith decided to skip the stage and perform right alongside his fans. We’ll drink to that!

© STEVE MARCUS/Reuters/Corbis