Awards

Brad Paisley Surprises Jimmie Allen for Special 'Freedom Was A Highway' Duet at the 2021 ACM Awards

Jimmie Allen, Brad Paisley
Terry Wyatt/ACMA2021/Getty Images for ACM

Jimmie Allen and Brad Paisley perform onstage at the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards at the Bluebird Cafe on April 18, 2021 in Nashville.

Jimmie Allen thought he was going to be performing solo at Sunday night's ACM Awards (April 18). Lucky for him, and for us, Brad Paisley had a surprise in store.

Just before Allen's performance, Paisley appeared on screen to let fans know that he was going to jump in on the singer's moment."My duet partner Jimmie Allen ... is about to sing our new duet 'Freedom Was A Highway,' but he thinks I'm out of town," he said, smiling. "So I have driven up here and I'm gonna surprise him and go in and just start signing."

Meanwhile, Allen, clad in a white denim jacket and a purple cowboy hat, was jamming out to the song on the stage at Nashville's Bluebird Cafe. But just after the chorus, Paisley entered from the side, shocking Jimmie and singing his verse, before coming together on the song's big chorus. "But time was better wasted/ We were summer young and livin' for a Friday/ And freedom was a highway," the pair crooned.

Before the show had even started, Allen had already won the 2021 ACM Award for new male artist of the year, making history as the first black artist to do so. The evening's events also included massive performances, from stars like Carrie Underwood, Maren Morris, Eric Church & more.

The ACM Awards are produced by Dick Clark Productions, which is owned by MRC. MRC and Penske Media are co-parent companies of Billboard.

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