2018 ACM Awards: Jason Aldean wins entertainer of the year
7:44 p.m.: Country music's biggest stars returned to Las Vegas for the 2018 Academy of Country Music Awards, six months after a gunman killed 58 people at the Route 91 Harvest Festival last October in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The show is known as "country music's party of the year," but Sunday's show had somber undertones as performers paid tribute to those lost during last fall's tragedy.
The 53rd ACM Awards show airs on CBS and CBS All Access.
Here's everything that took place at the 2018 ACM Awards, as it happened (all times Eastern unless otherwise noted):
Jason Aldean wins entertainer of the year
McEntire presented the biggest award of the night: Entertainer of the year. Jason Aldean won the award and after thanking his loved ones, he said, "It's been a rough year. I just want to say thanks to everybody that reached out to us, that showed us love and support over the last six months. It meant the world to us."
He paid tribute to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting and said, "To my Route 91 people, you guys are in our hearts always. I love you guys, and we love Las Vegas. Vegas strong, baby. Thank you." On Friday, Aldean talked to CBS News' Vladimir Duthiers about returning to Las Vegas six months after the shooting.
Afterward, McEntire told the audience she wanted to end the show with audience members dancing, and introduced Chris Janson to the stage to perform "Redneck Life."
Kelly Clarkson and Reba McEntire perform together
10:54 p.m.: Rebecca Romijn presented male vocalist of the year, which went to Chris Stapleton, who was absent after welcoming twins.
"I'm going to accept the award on his behalf and congrats on them babies, Chris!" shouted Romijn.
Kelly Clarkson took the stage to introduce the final ACM Flashback moment with her mother-in-law Reba McEntire to sing McEntire's 1993 hit "Does He Love You." The two powerhouse singers wore glittery gowns as they performed.
Sam Hunt wins single record of the year
10:42 p.m.: McEntire returned to the stage to tease both Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan before introducing Bryan's next performance. She said, "Jason is the one who let the world know that Luke Bryan has the initials of his wife tattooed on his backside, which raises two questions: Why did Luke do it, and how does Jason know?"
Bryan took the stage to perform "Most People Are Good." Bryan asked the audience to join in and sing along as he sang.
Nancy O'Dell and Dustin Lynch presented the award for single record of the year, which went to Sam Hunt for "Body Like a Back Road." O'Dell and Lynch accepted the award on Hunt's behalf, as he could not appear at the show.
Lauren Alaina performed again, this time singing "Doin' Fine."
Miranda Lambert wins female vocalist of the year
10:20 p.m.: Darius Rucker performed "For the First Time" against bright blue lights -- though the singer is an ACMs veteran. Rucker has been nominated for four ACM Awards in past years.
Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn presented the ACM for female vocalist of the year, which went to Miranda Lambert.
"I love country music. It is my entire life I dedicate everything to it ... I never, ever take it for granted. Thank you so much. Praise Jesus!" she said.
Thomas Rhett performed "Marry Me" against a raw, pared-down backdrop that resembled an abandoned home. He sang and played the guitar along with a large ensemble, including a strings section.
Carrie Underwood performs for first time after accident
10:04 p.m.: Carrie Underwood took the stage for her first television appearance since injuring her face and wrist to perform "Cry Pretty." Underwood sang against a backdrop of sparkling pink lights and wore a glittery dress along with rhinestones under her eyes as audience members stood to watch her sing.
"When I am ready to get in front of a camera, I want you all to understand why I might look a bit different," she explained. Underwood did not look noticeably different during her Sunday performance.
The audience gave Underwood a standing ovation the singer closed her performance.
Ashton Kutcher and Sam Elliott from "The Ranch" presented vocal event of the year, which went to Keith Urban for "The Fighter."
Urban accepted his award and congratulated Underwood on her performance. Underwood choked up as she said, "I'm still shaky."
Little Big Town covers "Rocket Man"
9:52 p.m.: McEntire returned to the stage to introduce Eve, co-host of "The Talk," but joked beforehand, "They told me I can't talk about politics, drinking or breakups. They do know this is a country music show, right?"
Eve introduced Little Big Town ot the stage to perform "Rocket Man."
Jimi Westbrook's voice was synthesized to sound like he was singing from space as he opened the Elton John cover. The foursome wore glittery outfits as they sang in front of a light show backdrop that showed extraterrestrial scenes.
Blake Shelton returned to the stage to introduce an ACM Flashback moment: Toby Keith performing his 1993 single "Las Vegas." Shelton, who confessed he loves a good party, joined in to perform with Keith.
Then, Midland, who just won new vocal group or duo of the year, wore matching 1970s-inspired cowboy outfits as they sang "Drinkin' Problem."
Miranda Lambert performs "Keeper of the Flame"
9:37 p.m.: Miranda Lambert took the stage to perform "Keeper of the Flame" against a fiery backdrop.
Jason Aldean performs "You Make It Easy"
9:35 p.m.: Kelsea Ballerini sat inside a neon heart that floated down from the ceiling as she sang "I Hate Love Songs." As the heart reached the stage, she stepped out and onto the stage as she continued to perform; a drum kit behind her was emblazoned with another heart. She closed her song by pointing to the camera and singing, "I hate love songs, but ACMs, I love you."
Next, Jason Aldean performed "You Make It Easy" underneath dozens of hanging lights.
McEntire announced that Rhett Akins had won songwriter of the year, and pointed out his son, Thomas Rhett. She said she has known Thomas Rhett since he was a young child, and choked up as she said she was proud of him. McEntire pointed out that Thomas Rhett won two ACM Awards last year.
Old Dominion wins vocal group of the year
9:20 p.m.: David Boreanaz, Max Thieriot and A.J. Buckley of "SEAL Team" presented vocal group of the year, which went to Old Dominion.
Keith Urban and Julia Michaels perform
9:16 p.m. Keith Urban took the stage to perform his new song "Coming Home," against a wide screen with scenes of cityscapes and lyrics from his song. Soon, Julia Michaels joined Urban onstage and the two sang wearing matching red outfits. Urban's wife, Nicole Kidman, cheered him on from the audience.
Blake Shelton performs
9:06 p.m.: Blake Shelton played the guitar and sang "I Lived It." His girlfriend, Gwen Stefani, sang along from the audience.
Afterward, Kane Brown and Lauren Alaina sang "What If" together on a set with craggy cliffs against a backdrop that showed crashing waves on an ocean.
Afterward, the pair introduced a segment about recovery after the Las Vegas shooting. The video showed musicians who participated in ACM Lifting Lives, the philanthropic arm of the ACM. Judith Pinkerton with the Aflac ACM Lifting Lives Honor for her outstanding work in music therapy.
Dierks Bentley celebrates women with performance
8:51 p.m.: Dierks Bentley took the stage to perform "Woman, Amen" against a screen that initially covered silhouettes behind him. Soon, the screen dropped to reveal his band and a slideshow of women of different ages, races and walks of life. As he finished, he descended from the stage to embrace his wife, Cassidy Black. Luke Bryan tried to crash the moment, but Bentley playfully rebuffed his former co-host.
Chris Stapleton wins album of the year
8:48 p.m.: Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush of Sugarland took the stage to present album of the year. Chris Stapleton won for "From a Room: Vol. 1," but he was in Nashville supposedly awaiting his twins, until McEntire crashed the moment and said, "We just found out those little rascals came a little bit early." McEntire congratulated Stapleton and his wife, Morgan, for the award and his twins. She also wished him a happy birthday, as he turned 40 on Sunday.
Lady Antebellum performed "Heart Break" against a colorful city backdrop.
Jon Pardi and Alan Jackson perform "Chattahoochee"
8:40 p.m.: Jon Pardi took the stage and announced that country veteran Alan Jackson was joining him to perform classic "Chattahoochee." The audience got to their feet and sang along as the singers performed in front of retro videos.
Miranda Lambert wins song of the year
8:30 p.m.: Miranda Lambert won song of the year for "Tin Man," and as she accepted her award she said to the audience, "Thanks for sharing my broken heart with me," perhaps referring to her ex-husband Blake Shelton, or more recently, her ex-boyfriend Anderson East.
New male vocalist of the year Brett Young sat on a stool as he performed "In Case You Didn't Know."
Florida Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha perform
8:28 p.m.: Florida Georgia Line took the stage to perform "Like You Ain't Even Gone." Tyler Hubbard wore red head to toe, while Brian Kelly wore white. Soon, Bebe Rexha joined the pair as the stage opened to reveal a chorus of backup singers. The trio performed against a bright, starry backdrop that matched Rexha's silver, shimmery dress.
Maren Morris and Chris Young perform
8:20 p.m. Maren Morris sang "Rich" against a larger-than life lit-up sign that also said "Rich." She wore a glamorous gold gown and finished her performance with a shower of confetti.
In contrast, Chris Young took the stage to sing "Losing Sleep" on a simple, small set with just two backup musicians.
Reba McEntire delivers monologue
8:12 p.m.: Host Reba McEntire poked fun at herself when she talked about how she first hosted the ACM Awards in 1986.
She said, "To put that in perspective, not only was Kelsea Ballerini not born, her parents weren't even dating yet."
McEntire talked about taking over the hosting reigns after Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley hosted last year and joked, "I guess they finally figured out it only takes one woman to do the job of two men." As the audience laughed and cheered, she reassured Bryan and Bentley, "I really do love you both."
McEntire made fun of her own age again, talking about how country music has changed over the years. She asked the audience, "Do you remember the biggest thing in 1993? My hair. Jacked up to Jesus," as a throwback photo of her voluminous 'do appeared on screen.
Kenny Chesney got the audience up to their feet as he sang a rousing rendition "Get Along."
Stars open show with tribute to shooting victims
8:05 p.m.: Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Maren Morris, Thomas Rhett opened the ACM Awards by talking about the healing power of music.
"Music helps us remember what really matters in life," said Bryan.
Morris added, "Music does so much more than provide an escape from the pain. It inspires us, it soothes us and it makes us stronger."
Aldean said that for the Las Vegas shooting victims and their family and friends, "We celebrate music tonight."
Stars arrive on the red carpet
Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, Dierks Bentley and more of country's biggest stars have arrived on the red carpet at the Garden Arena at the MGM Grand.
"You know I think everybody sort of tried to make this thing about me coming back to Vegas come try to make it a little bigger than it was," Aldean said. "For me, you know, I've got a million great memories in Vegas and one horrible one."
It's been just over six months since Aldean's performance at a music festival was tragically cut short, when a gunman opened fire on the crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.
"I love this town. I mean, I love Las Vegas, I love this city. Was looking forward to coming back out here and I think this is the right setting for me. To be out here with the country music family, my friends and people in the country music world," he said.
Other performers include Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Florida Georgia Line, Toby Keith, Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Thomas Rhett, Maren Morris and Reba McEntire, who is hosting the show.