The 2018 ACM Awards' best dressed stars

The 2018 Academy of Country Music Awards — otherwise known as country music's biggest night — took place on Sunday, April 15 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Walking the red carpet were country superstars like Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, and Miranda Lambert, as well as some of country music's brightest rising stars — Lauren Alaina, Kelsea Ballerini, and Carly Pearce. 

Of course, awards shows aren't just about fashion — a point the ACMs proved time and time again throughout the night with its line-up of stellar performances and completely heart-wrenching ballads from some of country music's most famous (looking at you, Carrie Underwood). But if you thought these crooning queens weren't going to take full-advantage of country music's glitziest evening — well, you were wrong. 

If there's one thing the 2018 ACMs taught us, it's that country music stars know how to do glam the right way. Here are some of the best dressed country queens from the 2018 Academy of Country Music Awards. 

The country music queen dressed the part

No country music awards ceremony would be quite complete without the Queen of Country Music herself, Reba McEntire — which is probably exactly why the "Forever Love" songstress has been chosen to host the Academy of Country Music Awards 15 times in the ceremony's 53-year history. America's favorite sassy redhead kicked off the ACMs with a punchy, joke-filled monologue complete with zingers only Reba could deliver. After acknowledging previous ACM hosts — Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, and Blake Shelton — McEntire gave the audience (and herself) a good laugh with her razor sharp wit, joking, "I guess [the ACMs] finally figured out it only takes one woman to do the job of two men!"

Not only was McEntire's monologue an absolute hit — the country superstar looked every bit the queen she is in a sparkling, figure-hugging purple gown complete with long sleeves and a classy Queen Anne neckline. The royal-inspired stunner was just one of McEntire's many marvelous looks for the evening. The first female Colonel Sanders showed up to the ACMs serving some serious art deco vibes in a flirty, fringy, sparkling white dress. From bow ties and fake mustaches to high heels and ballgowns  — there's no look the Queen of Country can't completely pull off. 

Facing the music

All eyes were on Carrie Underwood during the 2018 ACMs. And while being the center of attention isn't really anything new for the American Idol-winner-turned-country star, Underwood was the evening's most awaited appearance for a reason other than her superstar status.

In November 2017, the signer suffered a nasty fall at her home, resulting in a broken wrist and "between 40 and 50" stitches for some gnarly cuts to her face. The "Before He Cheats" crooner took to her fan club's website in January (via CNN) to update fans on the status of her healing process, as well as warn them not to be alarmed by her changed appearance. "When I am ready to get in front of a camera, I want you all to understand why I might look a bit different," Underwood wrote. 

Despite the country star's caution, Underwood looked as gorgeous as ever during her first onstage appearance since the accident when she took to the ACM stage to debut her powerful new single, "Cry Pretty." Wearing a sparkling black and silver mini dress with a plunging neckline and sequin detailing, the blonde bombshell delivered a soulful performance, eliciting a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience of country stars and fans alike. Cry pretty, sing pretty — this gal can do just about anything pretty. 

This girl is on fire

The three years preceding the 2018 ACMs were quite the whirlwind for country superstar Miranda Lambert. And as any good ol' fashioned country song goes, it all started with a broken heart.

Lambert and husband Blake Shelton announced their divorce in July 2015 — a sudden separation that sent shockwaves through the country music world. And this split wasn't the typical Hollywood breakup where both parties claim to only have love for their former flame. No, this split was painful — and very, very public. 

Luckily, Lambert was able to take her heartbreak and turn it into instant country hits that will punch you right in the feels and stay stuck in your head for weeks. She took to the stage at the 2018 ACMs to perform one of these hits, "Keeper of the Flame," from her 2016 album The Weight of These Wings. "It's an ending for the journey of this record and a journey of my life the last three years," Lambert told Billboard ahead of her fiery performance. 

"Keeper of the Flame" would also be a fitting name for Lambert's smokin' red carpet style. Lambert, who won both Female Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year, arrived to the ACMs wearing a fire engine red floor-length gown complete with a sparkling bodice and super sexy cutouts. Interestingly enough, Gwen Stefani (Shelton's girlfriend of nearly three years) was wearing a dress in almost the exact same hue. Coincidence? Probably. 

Leaving 'em speechless

There's no doubt that the country music industry is grateful for American Idol, the hit reality show sensation that not only introduced the world to Simon Cowell and William Hung — but some of country music's biggest and brightest stars. Two of the most successful American Idol alums, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, took to the stage and delivered powerful, knock-your-socks-off performances at the 2018 Academy of Country Music Awards — but they weren't the only former contestants in attendance. 

Lauren Alaina, runner-up to Scotty McCreery on Season 10 of American Idol was there, too. And though she may not have won her season of American Idol back in 2011, she's certainly won over the Academy of Country Music. Nominated for New Female Vocalist of the Year, Lauren Alaina received a surprise phone call weeks before the ceremony to let her know she'd won the award. The voice on the other end of the phone? None other than the 2018 ACMs host herself, Reba McEntire. "[It was] the first time in my life I've ever been speechless," the rising star told People. 

"The Road Less Traveled" songstress definitely left some viewers feeling speechless themselves when she took to the ACM stage to perform "What Ifs" with country hunk, Kane Brown. Donning a flowing, off-white gown with fringe detailing and an empire waist, the up-and-coming star looked like a total sun-kissed, country goddess.

Taking a cue from the queen

Kelly Clarkson is everywhere these days, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a person who has a problem with that. After winning the hearts of Americans everywhere as the very first winner of American Idol, Clarkson went on to release smash hits like "Since U Been Gone," "Breakaway," and "Miss Independent." And, while she might have pioneered the American Idol craze, this powerhouse has made a name for herself and built a mega-successful career that is all her own.

Though she has roots in pop music, the multitalented Clarkson quickly made a splash in the country music world when Reba McEntire included a duet of "Because of You" with Clarkson on her 2007 album, Duets. In a surprise twist, McEntire would become Clarkson's mother-in-law in 2013, the "Fancy" songstress telling Katie Couric, "To have my buddy as my daughter-in-law … who could ask for more?" 

McEntire and Clarkson hit the stage together at the 2018 ACMs to deliver a killer rendition of McEntire's 1993 hit "Does He Love You," proving that in-laws can most certainly get along — and make beautiful music while doing so. Seemingly taking a cue from her friend and mother-in-law, Clarkson donned a sparkling, long-sleeved purple dress that perfectly flattered the "Stronger" songstress' famous curves.

Here comes the new bride

Though she's relatively new to the country scene, Kelsea Ballerini is definitely making a name for herself in the industry — and a really cool one, at that. 

Nominated for both Female Vocalist of the Year and Video of the Year for her "Legends" music video, the 2018 Academy of Country Music Awards wasn't the first time Ballerini found herself a double nominee. In fact, the blonde "Love Me Like You Mean It" songstress was nominated in the same categories just a year prior at the 2017 ACMs. And while she may not have taken home the coveted hat trophy then, Ballerini has no plans of slowing down. 

"My dream scenario is a big headlining arena tour," the country star, who is set to open for Keith Urban's 2018 summer/fall tour, told GQ. At the rate she's going, Ballerini is bound to be a household name — especially considering she's been noted to have the same crossover potential as former country darlings Taylor Swift and Shania Twain. 

The blonde beauty married fellow country crooner, Morgan Evans, in December 2017 — and it seems Ballerini isn't quite ready to let go of her wedding white. The newlywed stepped onto the red carpet at the 53rd ACMs stunning the crowd in a barely-there Kristian Aadnevik gown with intricate lace detailing and a leg slit that would make even Angelina Jolie blush.

This little mermaid isn't giving up her voice for anyone

Maren Morris made major waves in the country music industry with the release of her critically acclaimed 2016 album, Hero. But this up-and-coming country star had been quietly working toward her big break for years beforehand. Though Hero certainly proved itself to be Morris' most successful release, it was hardly her first. The Texas-born songstress released three studio albums prior to the mega-hit that was Hero — Walk On (2005), All That it Takes (2007), and Live Wire (2011). 

Morris' years of hard work and patience has undoubtedly paid off. The "My Church" songstress racked up three Academy of Country Music nominations for the 2018 ceremony — one for Female Vocalist of the Year, and two for Vocal Event of the Year (with Thomas Rhett and Vince Gill, respectively). She was the first performer to hit the stage at the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards, delivering an unforgettable performance of her song "Rich" in a slinky, champagne-metallic dress. 

The gown was absolutely gorgeous — and flexible enough for Morris to dance and prance her way across the stage during her super fun performance. But the funky, asymmetrical green and purple cocktail gown she donned while posing for photographers before the ceremony is what Little Mermaid dreams are made of. Who else wants to be part of this gal's world? 

Where's the glass slipper?

New to the country music scene, Julia Michaels rose to fame in 2017 with the release of her first solo single, "Issues" — a catchy, relatable tune that was pretty much an instantaneous hit. Michaels quickly rose to the ranks of a bonafide star, earning two Grammy nominations in 2018 — one for Best New Artist and one for Song of the Year. 

Michaels, who spent years serving as a songwriter behind pop hits like Gwen Stefani's "Used To Love You," Justin Bieber's "Sorry," and Nick Jonas' "Close," made a name for herself as a true force on the rise with "Issues." But her 2018 country collaboration with Keith Urban proved that Michaels is far from a one-trick pony. This pop star can do country with the best of 'em. "[Julia] summed up the whole story in one sentence," Urban said of his singer-songwriter partner. "'Yeah, I know it's only one call away, but it's not the same.' For me, that simple phrase said so much, especially when she sang it."

In true pop princess form, Michaels arrived to the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards looking like a 21st century Cinderella. The "Coming Home" songstress donned a light blue mini dress complete with long, sheer sleeves, intricate floral details, and a plunging choker neckline. Say hello to the industry's newest royalty!

Bell bottoms are back!

If you've got a girl crush on Kimberly Schlapman, you're not alone. The songstress, one-fourth of the mega-successful country group Little Big Town, knows a thing or two about girl crushes herself — perhaps Little Big Town's most popular hit, "Girl Crush" is a slow, powerful ballad, dripping with the all-too-relatable feelings of desire, admiration, and envy. 

Nominated for Vocal Group of the Year, Album of the Year (for The Breaker), and Single Record of the Year (for "Better Man," written by former country queen, Taylor Swift), the famous foursome showed up to the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards looking like a serious rock n' roll supergroup. Dressed in mostly black (with some notable leather and metallic accents), Phillip Sweet, Jimi Westbrook, Karen Fairchild, and Schlapman posed for photographers outside the MGM Grand Garden Arena before taking to the stage and performing an incredible cover of Elton John's "Rocket Man." 

In a sea of sparkling gowns, Schlapman stood out from the crowd in a sleek pantsuit ensemble — featuring high-waisted, black bell-bottom slacks and a star-studded (literally), long-sleeved, asymmetrical top. The country crooner pulled her famous blonde curls into a high ponytail and accessorized simply with a metallic clutch and statement teardrop earrings. Who wouldn't have a girl crush on this singer's sophisticated style?

This Olympic skier served up total Princess Belle vibes

Some people can simply show up and completely steal the show — even if the show wasn't really theirs to steal in the first place. Lindsey Vonn is one of them, as evidenced by her appearance at the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards. Vonn, best known as an Olympian ski racer and four-time World Cup champion, showed up to the 2018 ACMs looking like a real-life Disney princess (Belle, to be specific). 

The Female Vocalist of the Year presenter looked simply radiant in a gorgeous, full-length canary yellow ballgown with long sleeves and a statement-making high neckline. The dramatic ensemble was a far cry from Vonn's usual low-key, athletic-casual style. Vonn pulled her signature long, platinum-blonde locks into a sleek top bun with a few feminine, face-framing fly-aways — an easy-to-do hairstyle that provided photographers a clear view of her simple-yet super-sparkly diamond cluster earrings. 

She might not have been an ACM award nominee, but this Disney-inspired look deserves to be on all the best-dressed lists.