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Highlights of the ACM Honors: Shania Twain, Miranda Lambert, Morgan Wallen & More

Yesterday, FOX broadcast the 15th annual ACM Honors event, originally held this August in Nashville’s iconic Ryman Auditorium. Every year, the ACM Honors follow the ACM Awards ceremony, celebrating the recipients of various honors bestowed by the organization. Reigning Female Artist of the Year Carly Pearce returned to host, and stars such as Kelsea Ballerini, Brooks & Dunn, and Lainey Wilson among others delivered breathtaking tribute performances.

In a highlight of the night, Ballerini covered Shania Twain’s classic hit, “Man! I Feel Like A Woman.” Her magical performance featured Twain’s backup dancers themselves; her outfit included a trench coat and top hat inspired by the song’s music video. That wasn’t the only Twain-inspired outfit Ballerini wore that night - later, she rocked the very white gown that Twain wore to the 1999 Grammy’s. Pop-punk princess Avril Lavigne, who has admired Twain since her teenage years, performed another of Twain’s hits, “No One Needs To Know.” Lavigne might seem like an odd addition to a country music ceremony at first glance, but this Twain classic truly fit her voice in a beautiful, unique way. Furthermore, the tribute was a heart-warming ode to Twain and Lavigne’s decades-long connection.

ACM honored Shania Twain with a Poet’s Award, recognizing her lifetime achievements in songwriting.

Another unexpected cover that worked extremely well included Brooks & Dunn’s rendition of Triple Crown winner Miranda Lambert’s “Kerosene.” The “Neon Moon” hitmakers truly delivered on Lambert’s fiery (pun intended, sorry not sorry) country-rock anthem with remarkable passion.

Two of Morgan Wallen’s collaborators and tour opening acts, HARDY and Ernest, paid tribute to the ACM Milestone Award winner with a medley of his biggest hits. Eric Church, another of Wallen’s longtime friends and “Quittin’ Time” songwriter, surprised fans and touched their hearts when he presented Wallen with the award.

"It has been one of the honors of my life, my career to get to know Morgan the past couple of years. I've seen him go through some things," explained Church. He has seen Wallen struggle with alcoholism and learn from his 2021 controversy, of using the N-word as a white man, which disqualified him from the ACMs that year. Church supported him as he spent time in rehab, took time to educate himself on the systemic racism in his genre, and developed his relationship with God. “I've seen him mature as an artist. I've seen him mature as a man. And I can tell you this, we're very lucky to have him in country music.”

In perhaps the most remarkable moment of the night, reigning ACM New Artist of the Year Lainey Wilson covered “Workin’ Overtime.” Her show-stopping tribute to ACM Film Award winner Yellowstone serves as an early highlight of her career, which will no doubt last several years and make immense positive impacts on the country music industry at large. Additionally, Wilson’s outfit truly stole the show - the rising star wore a stunning embroidered button-down with shiny brown bell-bottoms, matching the title of her upcoming album Bell Bottom Country.

Overall, last night’s broadcast consisted of several breathtaking tributes to some of the biggest names in country music. Rightfully so, Pearce referred to the event as the “Country Music Industry’s favorite night.” Fans, artists, and industry professionals alike are still in awe of the magic that was last night’s ceremony.

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