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Maren Morris, Luke Combs win big at 55th Academy of Country Music Awards

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Maren Morris, Luke Combs win big at 55th Academy of Country Music Awards
Maren Morris won big at Wednesday's 55th annual Academy of Country Music Awards after the awards show was delayed for six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Maren Morris and Luke Combs took home big wins at the 55th annual Academy of Country Music Awards Wednesday night following a sixth-month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Morris was among three artists nominated for five total awards and brought home Female Artist of the Year and Music Event of the Year for her collaboration with Miranda Lambert, Ashley McBryde, Tenille Townes, Caylee Hammack and Elle King on "Fooled Around and Fell in Love."

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Combs was also nominated for multiple awards and claimed Male Artist of the Year and Album of the Year for What You See Is What You Get.

Other notable winners included Blake Shelton's "God's Country" claiming Single of The Year, Old Dominion winning Group of the Year, Dan + Shay earning Duo of the Year and Tenille Towns and Riley Green being named New Female and Male Artist of the Year, respectively.

Keith Urban hosted the awards show, originally set to be held in Las Vegas in April. It featured two dozen performances across three locations in Nashville: the Grand Ole Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Cafe.

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Speaking to an empty auditorium and fans watching from home, Urban addressed the delay at the top of the show, in addition to acknowledging wildfires raging in the Western United States and storms in the Gulf Coast.

"This has been an unpredictable and unsettling year for everyone," he said. "Even as of right now, our friends out West are battling horrific wildfires and our folks on the Gulf Coast are threatened by hurricanes and we want to send our love, thoughts and our prayers out to every one of you affected right now."

Urban also declared that "we are in the midst of trying to fight two pandemics: COVID-19 and social injustice."

"Far too many lives have been lost to both, but the examples set by our essential workers and first responders, along with the voices crying out for equality in all walks of life have echoed around the world and right here, in our country community," Urban said.

The show began with a medley of performances by Combs, Rhett, Luke Bryan, Eric Church and Carrie Underwood.

Urban also debuted a new single with P!nk, while Shelton and Gwen Stefani performed a duet, and Taylor Swift delivered her first performance at the awards show in seven years.

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