Co-host Luke Bryan: ACM Awards will unite Dems, GOP

Country singer Luke Bryan is co-hosting Sunday night's 2017 Academy of Country Music Awards alongside Dierks Bently and it seems that things are getting political.

The country star, hosting Sunday's show for the fifth straight year, joked - as usual - about his duties at the country music party held annually in Las Vegas and airing live on CBS.

Other performances highlights included Brett Eldredge bringing his showman A-game with "Something I'm Good At", Tim McGraw and Faith Hill taking the crowd to charm school with their duet "Speak to a Girl", and Chris Stapleton and wife Morgane debuting the new song "Second One to Know", a crunchy Southern rocker with some serious swagger.

"I think this arena symbolizes the growth of our industry", longtime country singer and frequent Las Vegas performer Clay Walker said on the red carpet.

Pickler returned to introduce new male vocalist of the year Jon Pardi, who sang "Dirt on My Boots".

She won album of the year for her double disc, The Weight of These Wings, and female vocalist of the year, beating Underwood, whom she hugged after hearing her name called.

Lambert's album was inspired by her personal life, and its producers Frank Liddell, Eric Masse and Glenn Worf joined the country star - who finished third on Season 1 of Nashville Star - onstage when she accepted the award. Days before T-Mobile Arena celebrates its first birthday, the Academy of Country Music used the venue for its awards show after more than a decade at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. While performing "Body Like a Back Road", Hunt made his way to fiancee Hannah Lee Fowler and sang to her, showing off his engagement ring.

Little Big Town won vocal group of the year, and on stage, Karen Fairchild announced that she wanted to leave early so she could go watch the finale of HBO's Big Little Lies.

"I just wanna be in Lady Antebellum's band", Little Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman yelled.

- Video of the year: "Forever Country", Artists of Then, Now & Forever.

She also took home the female vocalist award, which means she now has eight: more than any other artist.

"May We All", by Florida Georgia Line feat was honored with the Vocal Event of the Year award whereas "Forever Country" was the Video of the Year.

Lambert was up for five awards this year, and performed her new single "Tin Man".

"Me too", screamed fellow member Karen Fairchild. Thomas Rhett was named Male Vocalist of the Year and he also won the Song of the Year crown with "Die a Happy Man".

  • Salvatore Jensen