Florida Georgia Line brought a dose of Nineties nostalgia to the ACM Awards, joining forces with titans Backstreet Boys for an explosive mashup of their collaborative single “God, Your Mama and Me” and the 1997 smash “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).”
Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley began the performance without the help of their collaborators, illuminated by simple stage lighting. When the second verse rolled around, Backstreet’s Nick Carter appeared on an auxiliary stage in the arena, walking through the crowd while the remaining Backstreet Boys emerged on the stage. With echoes of Chris Stapleton’s breakout CMA Awards performance with Justin Timberlake, the seven-minute collaboration transformed into an extended, energetic cover of Backstreet’s massive hit “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” that brought the audience members to their feet.
Panning across T-Mobile Arena, the cameras caught Carrie Underwood enthusiastically singing along and Dustin Lynch dancing to the rhythm while the performers streamed into the audience. In the song’s final moments, Hubbard and Kelley joined Backstreet Boys for a choreographed dance routine, earning a fist pump of surprise from Tim McGraw.
Kelley and Hubbard entered the 52nd ACM Awards with five total nominations including Entertainer of the Year and Album of the Year for Dig Your Roots, taking home the honors for Single Record of the Year (for “H.O.L.Y.”) and Vocal Event of the Year (for “May We All,” with Tim McGraw). Currently in the final few dates of their Dig Your Roots Tour, FGL will launch their Smooth tour on June 2nd, which includes sold out stadium dates – the duo’s first – at Chicago’s Wrigley Field and Boston’s Fenway Park.