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ACM Honors Brings Stunning Tributes From Chris Stapleton, Hillary Scott [Watch]

ACM Honors is a special event which brings together the top names in country to celebrate the icons who’ve made the genre great. This year, several notable artists were recognized, including Reba McEntire, George Strait, and Dolly Parton.

As part of the ceremony, artists perform the honorees’ songs as a tribute, and the 2017 show on Aug. 23 brought some show-stopping performances, not limited to Chris Stapleton’s take on Strait’s “When Did You Stop Loving Me” and Hillary Scott’s version of McEntire’s “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia.”

Stapleton commanded the room with his powerful vocals and sincere delivery of the 1993 hit, keeping intact the song’s melancholy tone and smooth melody. He performed with a classic-country roster of musicians that brought the old-school style to life in its original mint condition, but brought his own flavor with his unique, raspy sound.

Scott took the stage to perform McEntire’s hit from 1991 — actually a cover of a Vicki Lawrence tune — and brought all the edge the murder-ballad-with-a-twist requires. The song tells the story of a man whose wife has been cheating on him with his best friend (and another man), and then gets falsely accused and executed for his best friend’s murder. The complicated story has an ironically chipper chorus, and Scott delivers each piece with sass and her signature vocal prowess.

See snippets of each performance in the clips above. The full ACM Honors show airs on CBS on Sept. 15, so fans can check out all the performances from the ceremony then.

Strait earned the ACMs’ Cliffe Stone Icon Award, presented to an artist or industry leader who has advanced the popularity of the genre throughout their career with their contributions to the craft. McEntire was awarded the Mae Boren Axton Service Award, which honors an artist or industry leader’s commitment and service to the Academy of Country Music.

Parton was given the Gary Huber Lifting Lives Award for her humanitarian efforts improving the lives of others through music and her commitment to serving others. Kelsea Ballerini received the Gene Weed Milestone Award for her outstanding career accomplishments over the past year, and Eric Church received the Merle Haggard Spirit Award, given to an artist who exemplifies its titular icon’s sense of genuine performances and great storytelling.

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