The Academy of Country Music Awards were extra special this year as it was the 50th anniversary of the event and, well, the theme was definitely go big or go home.
"Everything is bigger in Texas, and that's why we came here to celebrate the ACM's 50th anniversary," said singer Blake Shelton, who hosted the show with Luke Bryan—who also won entertainer of the year—at the giant Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium.
The awards show itself broke a record by simply filling up that venue, making it the most attended live award show of all time according to Guinness World Records. But that was just the beginning. From Taylor Swift’s emotional appearance to Christina Aguilera’s performance, we put together a list of our six favorite moments from the ACM Awards–read on to see each one.
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1. Taylor Swift receives the ACM Milestone Award from her mom.
We expected Swift's acceptance of the ACM milestone award to get a little emotional, but when her mom Andrea Swift came out on stage to present the honor, we knew we were done. Earlier this month Swift announced that her mother had been diagnosed with cancer, making it an even more profound moment. "For many years, I was her constant companion, and I witnessed a young girl with very few friends become a young woman with many, learning to stand up for herself and the things she believes in," Andrea said about her daughter on the stage. "Being brave enough to explore her musical curiosity, having a voice against those who hate, and giving of herself to those in need."
"Like many of you out there tonight with children of your own, I am a very proud mom," she said. "So I'd like to thank the ACMs for honoring [my daughter] in this way, but I'd also like to thank the entire music community for taking such good care of her. And to the fans... I know you love her as I love her, and for that, I thank you eternally."
2. Nick Jonas and Dan + Shay mash things up.
It was a night of collaborations as Dan + Shay, best known for "19 You + Me," started a slow-down version of Jonas's hit "Jealous" before he came out on stage himself to finish the song. The boys then went into a fun mashup with Jonas's new single "Chains" and Dan + Shay's "Nothin' Like You."
3. Christina Aguilera and Rascal Flatts head to Nashville.
Is Christina Aguilera going country? Aguilera took to the stage for a duet with the Rascal Flatts—they first performed "Shotgun," the song Aguilera's character on Nashville
recently sang, and then they went into "Riot," from Rascal Flatts' recent album Rewind
, while being accompanied by a choir.
4. Miranda Lambert shines with big wins.
It was truly Lambert's night: The singer, who led all ACM contenders this year with eight nominations, won her sixth consecutive award for female vocalist of the year. In addition to that she also won top album for Platinum
, as well as song of the year for her hit Automatic
, making her total win count reach four. "I don't even realize what's happening tonight, but thank y'all so much, Texas," Lambert said as she accepted the trophy for top female vocalist.
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5. Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara stop by.
It seems that lately Witherspoon and Vergara are everywhere together
and having a ball. The dynamic duo, who are busy promoting their new buddy comedy Hot Pursuit
, came to the ACMs (in coordinating metallic dresses), to introduce Lambert's performance of her hit single "Little Red Wagon." Vergara posted a pic backstage at the show of her, her partner in crime and big winner Lambert.
6. Kelly Clarkson gives Reba McEntire a sweet shoutout.
. "When I was at the ACMs nine years ago, I yelled across the crowded backstage to Reba, 'I want to be you when I grow up!' " Clarkson said of the 14-time ACM host. "That day … I would become friends with this legendary woman, but in the most crazy twist of fate, she would become my family," she said.
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