With strict coronavirus measures in place, the awards will be held in multiple smaller sites around Nashville and will feature mostly in-person performances before live audiences.
In Nashville, Tennessee, the traditional home of country songs, the Academy of Country Music will hold its annual awards show on Sunday, incorporating small venue live broadcasts from classic genre landmarks.
With the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, for a second year the awards will take place in multiple smaller sites around Nashville rather than the usual Las Vegas venue.
The 56th ACM Awards will, however, feature mostly in-person performances before live audiences, including at Nashville's emblematic Grand Ole Opry House.
The ACM award show is set to air Sunday at 8pm ET (0000 GMT) on CBS and Paramount+, with a lineup of more than two dozen performers, including co-hosts Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton, as well as genre stars Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Maren Morris and Luke Combs.
Presenting the ✨incredible✨ lineup of performers for the 56th #ACMawards!— ACM Awards (@ACMawards) April 5, 2021
🎵 This year's show features 25+ artists performing 30+ songs at multiple venues across #Nashville for an unforgettable evening.
💥Catch it Sunday, April 18th at 8/7c on @CBS / @paramountplus! pic.twitter.com/212gt7pjUn
First Black woman to host the ceremony
Urban, the 2019 Entertainer of the Year winner, returns after hosting last year, while ACM nominee Guyton will be the first Black woman to host the ceremony.
"I'm beyond thrilled to be co-hosting with my friend Mickey," Urban said in a statement. "I love that everyone will get to see her infectious energy and uber creative spirit in full light."
Guyton's performance of her critically acclaimed song "What Are You Gonna Tell Her" at last year's show featured Urban as a surprise guest on piano.
She was nominated for new female artist of the year and will sing her single, "Black Like Me."
Morris and Chris Stapleton lead this year's nominations, with six each. Morris got nods for "The Bones" as both song of the year and single of the year.
Pre-game the #ACMawards with the Official ACM Awards Playlist – follow the link to listen now! 🎧✨ https://t.co/WHWtDyrFd0— ACM Awards (@ACMawards) April 15, 2021
Watch your favorite #CountryMusic stars perform LIVE at the 56th ACM Awards SUNDAY at 8/7c on @CBS & @paramountplus. pic.twitter.com/SS6KFbxG8l
Miranda Lambert follows with five nominations. She is the most nominated female artist in the Academy history, with a total of 68 in her lifetime. This time around, her "Blue Bird" is nominated for single, video and song of the year.
The 2020 show saw an unprecedented tie for entertainer of the year between Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett.
Rhett has been nominated for the same award this year, alongside previous winner Bryan, as well as Combs, Stapleton and Eric Church.