Country music superstar Morgan Wallen was met with the loudest cheers of the night as he took the stage Wednesday at the Academy of Country Music (ACM) Honors.
Wallen was honored with the Milestone Award in celebration of specific, outstanding achievements in the country music genre in the year prior, according to Billboard. After an almost career-ending crisis in 2021, Wallen has broken almost every country and mainstream music record and won a plethora of awards, thanks to his epic “Dangerous: The Double Album.”
Wallen’s close friends and collaborators, HARDY and Ernest, performed “Wasted on You,” “Sand in My Boots” and “More Than My Hometown” in honor of their friend, before surprise presenter Eric Church joined them to present the award, Billboard continued.
“It has been one of the honors of my career and life to get to know Morgan over the last couple of years, whether that has been on a golf cart, a fishing boat, or over guitars,” Church told the audience, according to Billboard.
When Wallen hit the stage, his fans met his speech with applause, cheers, and screams of “I love you,” as heard in a video shared by Country Cast on YouTube.
“I had a whole speech that I had typed up before I knew that any of this was going on. My first concert I ever went to was an Eric Church concert at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville. It seemed to me like I could feel what he was feeling when he was singing,” Wallen told the audience.
“It changed my life, and so for you to be up here presenting this to me now, is more special than I can put into words. I get to do this in front of my parents who are here tonight. Thank you guys for always supporting me and thank you to everybody who is on my team — my friends, my songwriting friends, HARDY and Ern’…we’ve known each other a long time now and we’ve written 100 songs together,” he continued in gratitude. (RELATED: ‘Sense Of Competition’: Luke Combs Details His Relationship With Morgan Wallen)
“Me and God, we’ve had some interesting do-si-do’s I guess you could say,” he added, chuckling slightly, alluding to the crisis of 2021. He concluded his acceptance speech with a deluge of thank-you’s. You can watch the whole thing here: