Country stars shine at Academy of Country Music awards
LAS VEGAS - Reuters
Grammy award album of the year winner Kacey Musgraves was glaringly absent from the all-male nominees top category.
The honor went to Keith Urban, whose wife actress Nicole Kidman appeared genuinely shocked at his win.
Accepting the latter, Musgraves said "I'm so thankful for the chance to share my political perspective," dedicating the award to women who felt pressure to silence themselves.
And women ruled the MGM Grand Garden Arena stage as Chrissy Metz, of hit NBC show "This Is Us," made her live TV performance debut, alongside country stars Lauren Alaina, Mickey Guyton and Maddie Tae for a stirring rendition of "I'm Standing With You."
Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line opened the show with a rousing performance of "Can't Hide Red," but some on social media took offense to Tyler Hubbard's American flag suit, branding it a "disgrace" besmirching a sacrosanct national symbol.
Male artist of the year went to Thomas Rhett.
The star-laden three-hour show marked an upbeat return to celebrating country music after last year's awards assumed a somber note following the October 2017 mass shooting, also in Las Vegas, that killed 58 people at a country music festival.
Aldean, who was performing when shooting broke out, received the ACM artist of the decade award.
Other A-list country stars performing included Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Urban, Brooks Dunn, Miranda Lambert, McEntire and George Strait.