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2018 ACM Awards: 15 Best, Worst and WTF Moments

From Reba McEntire’s sharp return as host to Carrie Underwood’s show-stopping performance

To use some Las Vegas lingo, the 53rd ACM Awards were pretty much a push, as any major wins the show pulled off were tempered with missteps and head-scratching moments. 

Women delivered some of the night’s best performances, but were shut out of the Entertainer of the Year race. Brothers Osborne and Old Dominion both cemented their status, but neither received a performance slot. And the shadow over the room – how to acknowledge the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting – never seemed to be fully dispelled. Here are the 15 best, worst and WTF moments of the 2018 ACMs. 

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Best: Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott Steps Out

Making her first major TV appearance since delivering twins, Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott provided a deliciously dramatic return to the ACM Awards with a performance of “Heart Break.” Scott kicked it off singing solo into a backstage mirror before pulling off a quick costume change and stepping onstage with her two male bandmates, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, walking up behind her. It was a moment worthy of show host Reba McEntire’s highly theatrical concert spectacles from the Nineties, which Scott watched as both of her parents played in McEntire’s band during that period. This Lady A performance was a big step out into the spotlight for Scott, who is often left out of the conversation when it comes to discussions on the current women of country. We’re thinking this performance will go a long way in helping correct that oversight. H.K.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Best: Lauren Alaina Takes a Victory Lap

Lauren Alaina was onstage twice Sunday night, and she didn’t waste a moment of the opportunity – even though neither, on paper, was geared to be a starring performance. First up came her duet of “What Ifs” with Kane Brown, which could’ve flat-lined thanks to backing-track accompaniment instead of a live band. But Alaina, despite not being the featured artist on the song, took it by the scruff of the neck and used Brown as the anchor for her soaring vocal. Even Brown fought back a proud smile as he watched his old middle-school friend sing circles around the stage. Her return later for a solo rendition of her own “Doin’ Fine” was equally powerful, although all too short as she only sang a verse and chorus. But what could have been a footnote instead felt like a victory lap for the New Female Vocalist champ. J.G.

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