LaurenAlaina2018Earlier this evening, the Academy of Country Music® presented the 12th Annual ACM Honors™, an evening dedicated to recognizing the special honorees and off-camera category winners from the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards™.

The event, presented in partnership with City National Bank, featured a star-studded lineup of live performances and award presentations celebrating Special Awards recipients Dierks Bentley (ACM Merle Haggard Spirit Award), Matraca Berg (ACM Poet’s Award), Sam Hunt (ACM Gene Weed Milestone Award), Alan Jackson (ACM Cliffie Stone Icon Award), Darius Rucker (ACM Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award), Mickey & Chris Christensen and Eddie Miller (ACM Mae Boren Axton Service Award, all awarded posthumously), Rob Potts (ACM Jim Reeves International Award, awarded posthumously) and Norro Wilson (ACM Poet’s Award, awarded posthumously)The evening also honored winners of the Industry and Studio Recording Awards, along with Songwriter of the Year Award winner, Rhett Akins.

The show’s hosts Lauren Alaina and Jon Pardi opened up the night by performing Alan Jackson’s “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow,” while Joe Diffie serenaded the crowd with “The Grand Tour” in tribute to the late Norro Wilson. Wilson’s children Christy Wilson Myers and David Wilson accepted the award on their father’s behalf.

Old Crow Medicine Show performed “Wagon Wheel” to give tribute to honoree Darius Rucker with Kip Moore presenting the award to Rucker. Jon Pardi performed “I Hold On” in tribute to Dierks Bentley, who received his award from Ricky Skaggs.

Lauren Alaina, Deana Carter and Ashley McBryde performed a medley of “You & Tequila,” “Wrong Side of Memphis” and “Strawberry Wine” before presenting Matraca Berg with her award.

Chris Stapleton ended the night with a performance of “Here in the Real World” in tribute to Alan Jackson before co-hosts Pardi and Alaina presented Jackson’s oldest daughter, Mattie Jackson Selecman with his award. Selecman accepted the award on behalf of Jackson who is still recovering from a respiratory infection.  She shared how honored her father is to receive this award that was also bestowed upon so many of his musical heroes.