The 2023 ACM Awards took over the Ford Center at the Star in Frisco, Texas, on Thursday (May 11) – and when a country music awards show hits the Lone Star State, it’s only fitting for Willie Nelson to get a shoutout.
That goes double for a year when the outlaw country icon celebrates his 90th birthday (which he marked with a two-day concert in Los Angeles) and finds himself set for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (on his first nomination, no less).
Nelson couldn’t be there in person, but he FaceTimed a call with co-hosts Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks during the livestream on Amazon Prime Video.
“Thank you, Dolly, for sending those beautiful flowers for my birthday,” Nelson said. “Garth, I guess your birthday gift is still on the way?” Pretending to look sheepish, Brooks explained he must have left “the tracking number in my other pants.”
Just as Dolly opened the 2023 ACMs with a joke about her famous assets, Willie made a reassuringly predictable crack about his signature companion during the ACMs. “I love all kinds of flowers, and plants, too,” he said. “Been there, smelled that,” Parton quipped.
Next month, Brooks will help ring in Billboard’s first-ever Billboard Country Live event, which takes place in Nashville on June 6-7. The country game-changer will sit down for an intimate Q&A as part of the two-day event, which also features a headlining performance from Jelly Roll on June 6.
The ACM Awards are produced by Dick Clark Productions. DCP is owned by Penske Media Eldridge, a Penske Media Corporation (PMC) subsidiary and joint venture between PMC and Eldridge. PMC is the parent company of Billboard.