The 2021 ACM Awards will not bed open to the public, due to COVID-19, but there will be some special guests in the audience. Vaccinated staff from Vanderbilt University Medical Center have been invited to attend the show in person, as a small token of gratitude for all of the hard work they have done since the start of the pandemic.
“[We’re] just taking every possible safety precaution,” Academy of Country Music CEO Damon Whiteside said on the Country Music Media podcast (via Taste of Country). Masks will also be required, and alcohol will not be served.
The 2020 ACM Awards moved from Las Vegas to Nashville, and from April to September. This year’s event is also being held all over Nashville, including the Ryman Auditorium, the Grand Ole Opry, the Bluebird Cafe and various other locations across the city.
Keith Urban is returning for the second year to host the live broadcast, along with Mickey Guyton,. Both Urban and Guyton will perform, along with numerous other artists, including Miranda Lambert, Alan Jackson, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Luke Combs, Blake Shelton and others.
Maren Morris and Chris Stapleton lead the list of nominees, with six nods each. Morris’ nominations include Female Artist of the Year, and Song of the Year and Single of the Year, both for “The Bones.” Stapleton’s nods include Male Artist of the Year, Album of the Year (as artist and producer) for Starting Over, and the night’s highest honor, Entertainer of the Year.
Jimmie Allen and Gabby Barrett have both been announced as winners, ahead of the live broadcast. Allen won New Male Artist of the Year, while Barrett took home the trophy for New Female Artist of the Year.
The 2021 ACM Awards will air live on Sunday, April 18, at 8:00 PM ET on CBS.