Hey country stars -- if you're ever considering not showing up at a major awards ceremony, just think about Miranda Lambert. The superstar singer missed the Academy of Country Music Awards for the first time in 17 years Monday night...and ended up winning Entertainer of the Year for the very first time.
Miranda was in London when Dolly Parton announced the news, and in a video message, she said, "I cannot believe I'm not there to celebrate!" It was Miranda's sixth time being nominated in that category and she said, "I never thought it would happen, but thank you so much to the country music family for embracing me all these years."
Miranda is the first female artist to win the award solely on her own since Taylor Swift in 2012; in 2020, Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett tied for the trophy. Miranda and Elle King also won the Video of the Year award for "Drunk (And I Don't Wanna Go Home)."
Embattled singer Morgan Wallen won the Album of the Year trophy for Dangerous: The Double Album, and thanked "everyone who's shown me grace along the way." He also addressed his fans, who kept the album at number one for weeks, by saying forcefully, "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I'm blown away by you guys."
The night's other big winners were Chris Stapleton and Carly Pearce for Male and Female Artist of the Year, Old Dominion for Group of the Year, and Brothers Osborne for Duo of the Year.
Lainey Wilson, who was named New Female Artist ahead of the ceremony, also won Song of the Year for "Things a Man Oughta Know," and started her speech by saying, "Holy moly! Country music is my life!" In his acceptance speech, Chris Stapleton gave a rare shout-out to his kids and, in an awards show first, two of them were even seen on camera.
The ACM awards show, which streamed commercial-free on Amazon Prime Video from Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, was co-hosted by Dolly Parton, Gabby Barrett and Jimmie Allen. Dolly kicked off the proceedings by saying that, despite the fact that she'd "rather pass a kidney stone" than get political, she wanted to "send love and hope to our brothers and sisters in Ukraine."
"Why don't we dedicate this entire show to them and pray for peace around this crazy ol' world?" she added. Later, at the podium, Old Dominion's Matthew Ramsey said, "I’m so thankful that Dolly said what she said at the beginning," noting that "it felt a little weird" to be having fun at an awards show while "there are people fighting for their lives."
No commercials meant the show was able to pack in the music, at one point giving us 35 straight minutes of performances. Standouts included Chris Stapleton's powerful rendition of "Watch You Burn," written about the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting; Eric Church's 16-song medley of hits from his entire career; Kelly Clarkson's note-perfect rendition of Dolly's classic song "I Will Always Love You;" Breland and Thomas Rhett teaming for "Praise the Lord"; Gabby Barrett's cover of Lee Ann Womack's classic "I Hope You Dance"; and Brothers Osborne and Brittney Spencer closing the show with "These Boots Are Made for Walkin.'"