Underwood kicked off the night with a hard-charging blast of rock 'n' roll and a sexy black and magenta mini-dress for hew new single "Good Girl," a warning shot to those looking for a lot of twang out of the show.
From Underwood's rockin' new single to U2 singer Bono's introduction of Dierks Bentley via video from Ireland to KISS in full makeup awarding Lady Antebellum with yet another trophy, the ACMs showed off the modern flavor of country with all sorts of multi-genre mashups.
LL Cool J and Keith Urban banded together to salute veterans, co-hosts Shelton and Reba McEntire skewered Randy Travis and wondered whether Swift actually went on that rumored date with Tim Tebow, and Toby Keith walked through the crowd as he sang "Red Solo Cup" with the help of Carrot Top.
Actor-comedian-banjo player Steve Martin joined Rascal Flatts on "Banjo" after a brief tribute to country pioneer Earl Scruggs, who died last week.
Martina McBride and Train's Pat Monahan teamed up to help New Jersey couple Christina Davidson and Frank Tucci get married on stage while they sang McBride's "Marry Me." Davidson and Tucci's ceremony — quick even for notoriously quickie Vegas weddings — went on behind the singers during the performance and fans could hear the bride and groom say "I will" before their first kiss as a married couple, bringing the crowd to its feet.
And in one of the night's oddest juxtapositions, "Two and a Half Men" star Ashton Kutcher in cowboy hat sang George Strait before awarding Lambert female vocalist of the year.
Associated Press writer Cristina Silva in Las Vegas contributed to this report.
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