Dan Smyers, left, and Shay Mooney, of Dan + Shay, accept the award for single of the year for "Tequila" at the 54th annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, April 7, 2019, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Following Grammy win, Dan + Shay victorious at ACM Awards

April 07, 2019 - 9:26 pm

There's more liquid in Dan + Shay's cup of tequila: The country music duo followed their first Grammy win for "Tequila" with multiple wins at the Academy of Country Music Awards.

Dan + Shay won duo of the year and single of the year for the crossover hit at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday. "Tequila" also won song of the year for songwriters Dan Smyers, Jordan Reynolds and Nicolle Galyon (Shay Mooney didn't write the song).

"I think somebody got the cards mixed up tonight," Smyers said onstage. "This is all incredible. We are all winners tonight."

At the Grammys, Dan + Shay won best country duo/group performance for "Tequila," which peaked at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot country songs chart and No. 21 on the all-genre Hot 100 chart.

The duo also hit the stage to perform "Keeping Score" alongside Kelly Clarkson, hitting impressive high notes. Chris Stapleton's performance was also a highlight. The singer-songwriter, who often performs with his wife Morgane Stapleton, sang onstage as she held her hand over her stomach (she is pregnant).

Ashley McBryde, who won new female artist of the year, also was memorable: Nearly in tears, she strummed her guitar and beautifully sang "Girl Goin' Nowhere." The 35-year-old was nominated for best country album at the Grammys and recently earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for her performance on "CBS This Morning Saturday."

Jason Aldean, the reigning entertainer of the year champion at the ACMs, kicked off the awards show with a fun performance featuring hitmaking duo Florida Georgia Line. FGL's Tyler Hubbard wore a denim outfit featuring the American flag as he sang onstage with band member Brian Kelley and Aldean.

Reba McEntire, who is hosting the show for the 16th time, told several jokes. When she mentioned the collaborative performances of the night — Khalid and Kane Brown and Brandi Carlile and Dierks Bentley, among others — she said she would perform with rap star Cardi B.

She said they could sing her song "There's No U and Oklahoma," then said: "And that's okurrr with me," earning laughs from the audience.

Before the show, McEntire said it was disappointing that a female act in't in contention for entertainer of the year at the ACMs. Instead, men make up the nominees exclusively for a second straight year with Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan and Aldean, who has held the title since 2015.

"Carrie Underwood toured a lot this year. Kacey Musgraves is doing a wonderful job, not only in the United States (and) North America, but she's very popular in Japan, so she's working hard touring and getting country music around the world," McEntire said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It might be too early for Kacey, but she's working hard. A lot of the girls are, so I think they're being overlooked right now."

Musgraves' critically acclaimed "Golden Hour" won album of the year and best country album at the Grammys in February. She also won best country song for "Space Cowboy" and best country solo performance for "Butterflies."

Musgraves is the sole female artist in the album of the year category at the ACM Awards. Her competition includes Stapleton's "From A Room: Volume 2," Eric Church's "Desperate Man," Bentley's "The Mountain" and Dan + Shay's self-titled release.

Bebe Rexha is the only woman competing for song of the year thanks to the record-setting hit "Meant to Be," featuring Florida Georgia Line, while Maddie & Tae is the sole female act up for duo of the year. No women were nominated for songwriter of the year.

Luckily the performers at ACM Awards, airing live on CBS, include a good number of female musicians. Underwood, Maren Morris, Kelly Clarkson, Miranda Lambert, Ashley McBryde and McEntire will sing onstage. "This Is Us" actress Chrissy Metz, who stars in the new movie "Breakthrough," will perform a song alongside Lauren Alaina, Mickey Guyton, Maddie & Tae and Underwood.

Others set to perform Sunday include Blake Shelton, George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, Luke Combs and Little Big Town.

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AP Entertainment Producer Alicia Rancilio contributed to this report.

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