Just after Lainey Wilson lit up the stage with a cover of Little Texas’ “God Blessed Texas” into her new single, “Hang Tight Honey," Clay Walker and Randy Travis presented Jordan Davis with song of the year at the 2024 Academy of Country Music Awards for his ubiquitous country radio hit “Next Thing You Know.”

“First off, I want to thank the fans for loving this song,” he said in his acceptance speech. “I love songwriting because of songs that won song of the year, so to be holding this right now is crazy.”

It was an exciting away to kick off the 59th annual ACM Awards, live from the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, just north of Dallas. Reba McEntire is hosting for a record 17th time.

In her intro speech, McEntire mentioned that it has been 40 years since her first ACM award. “I know what you’re thinking, ‘Reba, you’re only 39!’ ” she joked.

Jelly Roll launched into a rocking rendition of his new song “Liar,” followed closely by Kelsea Ballerini with Noah Kahan — doing her song “Mountain with a View” into his viral hit, “Stick Season.”

There are many forthcoming star-studded performances to come, including a tribute to the late Toby Keith, courtesy Jason Aldean.

Across his career, Keith took home 14 ACM Awards, twice winning the top prize of entertainer of the year. He died in February at age 62, following a stomach cancer diagnosis.

In addition to Aldean, Kane Brown, Miranda Lambert, Thomas Rhett, Post Malone, Parker McCollum, Johnson, McEntire and Stapleton will perform during the telecast.

Fans can expect a few more interesting collaborations as well — Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani and Smith with Avril Lavigne.

This year’s nominees range from veteran acts to new talent, including the much-beloved Jelly Roll. This year marks his first-time receiving ACM nominations. He is up for entertainer of the year, male artist of the year, single of the year (for “Need a Favor,” which won big at the CMT Music Awards last month), and music event of the year, for “Save Me” featuring Lainey Wilson. The last time a musician was up for entertainer of the year in his first round of ACM awards nominations was Billy Ray Cyrus in 1992.

The 2024 ACM Awards are being livestreamed on Prime Video and the Amazon Music channel on Twitch Live.