Brooks & Dunn had a hit once called “Put a Girl In It,” and that’s just what the Academy of Country Music Awards have done, adding Kelly Clarkson, Brandi Carlile and Ashley McBryde to the lineup of performers for the April 7 telecast on CBS.
While they’re at it, they also added Brooks & Dunn, who have to count this as the lesser of their announcements in the last 48 hours, as they were just named as inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame on Monday.
Other country heavy hitters being added to the ACMs’ performance slate are Luke Combs, Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line and Dan + Shay. That last duo proved their awards-show mettle in February with a Grammys performance that turned out to be the most Shazam-ed of the evening.
Carlile certainly had a breakout performance at the Grammys as well. Since she and Clarkson both come into the ACMs from outside the genre, despite their famous country-friendliness, it’s likely that both will participate in duets or team efforts, although neither was announced as such. It would seem like a good bet that Carlile might team up with previously announced performer Maren Morris, with whom she sang a duet (“Common”) on Morris’ new album; they’ve also formed a country-oriented supergroup, the Highwomen, with Amanda Shires.
Besides Morris, others already announced as performing on the show include Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, Kane Brown, Jason Aldean, George Strait, Brothers Osborne, Little Big Town, Thomas Rhett and the telecast’s host, Reba McIntire.
McBryde is perhaps the least known of the performers announced thus far, so her inclusion may count as an act of advocacy from the ACMs, mindful of how her peers, the press and even a lot of the radio programmers who’ve resisted putting her into heavy rotation have all acclaimed her as one of country’s great rising talents. She’s not only up for new female artist of the year (the ACMs have separate new artist categories by gender) but slipped into the overall best female artist category, an unusually formidable division this year that also includes Morris, Lambert, Kacey Musgraves and Carrie Underwood.
The show airs live (tape delayed for the west coast) at 8 p.m. ET/PT from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas April 7.