The top awards were widely dispersed at the 2021 ACM Awards, which aired on CBS on Sunday (April 18). Luke Bryan won entertainer of the year for the third time. Chris Stapleton took album of the year for the third time, “I Hope You’re Happy Now” by Carly Pearce and Lee Brice won single of the year and Maren Morris’ “The Bones” took song of the year.
Here are some key records set at 56th annual ACM Awards.
Bryan won entertainer of the year, an award he previously won for 2012 and 2014. He beat, among others, Eric Church, who won in this category at the CMA Awards in November.
Stapleton’s Starting Over won album of the year. Stapleton previously won in the category with Traveller and From A Room: Volume 1. Stapleton and Dave Cobb co-produced all three albums. Stapleton is one of the top five winners in ACM history in this category. Miranda Lambert has won it five times. Alabama, George Strait and Alan Jackson have also won it three times.
“I Hope You’re Happy Now” by Pearce and Brice became the fourth male/female duet to win single of the year. The first three were “Islands in the Stream” by Kenny Rogers with Dolly Parton” (1983), “It’s Your Love” by Tim McGraw with Faith Hill” (1997), and “Don’t You Wanna Stay” by Jason Aldean with Kelly Clarkson (2011).
This is Brice’s second ACM win for single of the year. He took the award six years ago for “I Don’t Dance.”
“I Hope You’re Happy Now” also took music event of the year. It’s the first male/female duet to win in that category since the Urban/Carrie Underwood collab “The Fighter” three years ago. The widely-admired busbee, who died in September 2019, produced “I Hope You’re Happy Now” (and co-produced “The Fighter”).
“The Bones,” which Morris co-wrote with Jimmy Robbins and Laura Veltz, won song of the year, five months after winning in that category at the CMA Awards. It’s the first song to win song of the year at both shows since the Lee Brice hit “I Drive My Truck” seven years ago.
Morris also won female artist of the year for the second year running.
Thomas Rhett took the award for male artist of the year for the third time. He’s the first three-time winner in that category since Jason Aldean won three straight from 2012-14. Combs won in that category last year—and at the CMA Awards in November.
The female, group and duo awards all went to the same artists who won them last year—and who won them at the CMA Awards.
Old Dominion won vocal group of the year for the fourth straight year. They are the first group to win four years running in this category since Rascal Flatts won it seven years in a row (2002-08).
Dan + Shay took vocal duo of the year for the third year in a row.
Kane Brown’s “Worldwide Beautiful” took video of the year. Brown is the first Black performer to win in that category as a lead artist. Charley Pride and Darius Rucker both won four years ago as members of a large ensemble which came together for the “Forever Country” video.
As previously announced, Jimmie Allen and Gabby Barrett won as new male and female artist of the year, respectively. Allen is the first Black performer to win in a new artist category at the ACMs.
Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton co-hosted the show, which was held in Nashville for the second year in a row.
The ACM Awards are produced by Dick Clark Productions, which is owned by MRC. MRC and Penske Media are co-parent companies of Billboard.