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ACM Awards kick off with energy and Chuck Berry tribute

Associated Press logo Associated Press 4/3/2017 By MESFIN FEKADU, AP Music Writer
Carrie Underwood arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Carrie Underwood arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

The Academy of Country Music Awards kicked off with six separate performances full of energy, including a tribute to Chuck Berry featuring Joe Walsh, Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley.

Carrie Underwood arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Carrie Underwood arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

The trio performed "Johnny B. Goode" at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas as the audience got out of their seats Sunday to sing and dance along.

Maren Morris arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Maren Morris arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

"For the man that influenced every form of music, including country," said Bryan of Berry, who died last month.

Carrie Underwood arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Carrie Underwood arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Before that, the nominees for entertainer of the year — Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban and Florida Georgia Line — started the show with performances of their recent hits.

Christina Murphy, left, and Frankie Ballard arrive at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Christina Murphy, left, and Frankie Ballard arrive at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Aldean won entertainer of the year last year.

Zach Swon, left, and Colton Swon of The Swon Brothers arrive at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Zach Swon, left, and Colton Swon of The Swon Brothers arrive at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Sam Hunt performed his No. 1 hit, "Body Like a Back Road," and he went into the audience to sit next to his fiancé to sing the song. The show is expected to feature a number of other A-list performances during the three-hour show on CBS, including the Backstreet Boys with Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Chris Stapleton, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.

Scotty McCreery arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Scotty McCreery arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Bryan and Bentley are co-hosting the show for a second year, and joked about doing Vegas activities leading up to the awards show, even showing photos of them dressed as stripper-cowboys.

Kane Brown arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Kane Brown arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Bryan even joked days ahead that the ACM Awards would unite Democrats and Republicans.

Eric Paslay, left, and Natalie Harker arrive at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Eric Paslay, left, and Natalie Harker arrive at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

"Democrats and Republicans are going to get along on Sunday night. They're all going to watch the ACMs together and stuff's going to start happening in this country. It's going to change," Bryan said in an interview with The Associated Press. "Cats and dogs are going to make out."

Cam arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Cam arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

"Coming to an election near you. Is politics your next career?" Bentley said.

Eric Decker, left, and Jessie James Decker arrive at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Eric Decker, left, and Jessie James Decker arrive at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

"Yes," Bryan replied.

Kip Moore arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Kip Moore arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Earlier winners announced before Sunday's show included two wins for Florida Georgia Line: single record of the year with "H.O.L.Y." and vocal event of the year for "May We All" with McGraw.

Dustin Lynch arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Dustin Lynch arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Urban, who had success with his genre-bending, Grammy-nominated album "Ripcord," is the top nominee with seven. He will compete for album of the year, song of the year with "Blue Ain't Your Color" and male vocalist of the year.

Lisa Lageschaar, Miss Rodeo America, arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Lisa Lageschaar, Miss Rodeo America, arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

In the latter category, he's up against Aldean, Bentley, Stapleton and Thomas Rhett.

Kellie Pickler arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Kellie Pickler arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Nominees for female vocalist of the year are Kacey Musgraves, Kelsea Ballerini, Lambert, Underwood and Maren Morris, who recently won a Grammy for her hit song, "My Church."

NFL player Julian Edelman, of the New England Patriots, re-enacts his Super Bowl catch as he arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press NFL player Julian Edelman, of the New England Patriots, re-enacts his Super Bowl catch as he arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Other performers during the show are Reba McEntire, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Morris, Rhett, Ballerini, Brothers Osborne, Cole Swindell and Jon Pardi. Presenters include Darius Rucker, Miss America Savvy Shields, Jake Owen, Kane Brown, Lauren Alaina and Kellie Pickler.

Jake Owen arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Jake Owen arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Lori McKenna, who won the best country song Grammy for two consecutive years for writing McGraw's "Humble and Kind" and co-writing Little Big Town's "Girl Crush," was named songwriter of the year.

Faith Hill arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Faith Hill arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Morris won new female vocalist of the year, Pardi was named new male vocalist, and Brothers Osborne picked up the new vocal duo or group honor.

Tim McGraw, left, and Faith Hill arrive at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Tim McGraw, left, and Faith Hill arrive at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

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Chris Stapleton arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Chris Stapleton arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Online:

Tim McGraw arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Tim McGraw arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

http://www.acmcountry.com/

Jason Aldean arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Jason Aldean arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
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