Sunday's ACM Presents: Our Country special offered a great distraction to the world events related to the coronavirus. But despite the larger cause, the show and its participants took some time to pay tribute to one of their own after his death in march.
Kenny Rogers passed away on March 21 after being under hospice care for a while. The country music legend is one of the few acts to have crossover success in his career thanks to his work with Dolly Parton, his collaboration with Lionel Richie, and his abilities as an entertainer across arenas, be it music or film.
Sadly, due to the current pandemic and efforts to stop its spread, a public memorial wasn't possible for Rogers. That makes his tribute on Sunday much more special and a chance for fans to enjoy a proper goodbye to the legendary performer.
.@dariusrucker and @BradPaisley picked a fine time to do a tribute to the late @_KennyRogers on #ACMOurCountry by singing "Lucille" and "The Gambler." If you haven't watched the special yet, head to CBS now or stream it on @CBSAllAccess. pic.twitter.com/C9rE3hCurJ— CBS (@CBS) April 6, 2020
The special is bringing a trio of voices together to pay musical tribute to the late superstar, Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley, and Darius Rucker. The pair had already performed earlier in the show, but teamed up to perform "Lucille," Rogers' first solo hit, and then "The Gambler." Bryan came in separately with his own take on "Coward of the County." Lionel Richie also shared words to close out the segment and introduced a performance of them together singing "Lady."
Many chimed in and shared their own thoughts of the performance.
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Rucker actually paid tribute to the later country legend shortly after his passing. It makes the performance Sunday special for the former rocker.
"Years ago I first said that if it wasn't for Kenny Rogers, I don't think I would be in country music. He was that guy when I was a kid - his music and 'Hee Haw' made me perk my ears up and made me say, 'What is this? I want to hear more of that.' He was that catalyst for me to write and create country music. What I said about his inspiration on my music years ago still rings true today. His fingerprints on American music will forever remain. Thank you for the inspiration and for the music. Rest in peace."
I love Kenny! He got me started on country hope you're playing poker up there. Love you man thanks so much for everything.♥️— Richard shaver (@ShaverShaver215) April 6, 2020
Many fans praised the performances, calling it just what they needed and a great way to pay tribute to the late star.
#ACMOurCountry What a wonderful, toe tapping, evening with Grandma. Love the smile all this country music puts on her face! Biggest smile during the Kenny Rogers tribute. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/DGvSfgh7qd— Tracy Carroll (@TracyCarroll10) April 6, 2020
Fantastic way to end the #AMCOurCountry show...Kenny Rogers tribute! RIP Gambler! ❤️❤️— MillrMedia (@MillrTech40) April 6, 2020
It was also a perfect way to close out the ACM Presents: Our Country special for some fans. The night featured plenty of surprises for fans, but the Kenny Rogers tribute might be the biggest.
Dad is drunk and him and mom just did a duet together to a Kenny Rogers song 😂😅— EM 🌵 (@19Emilyyhughess) April 6, 2020
Plenty of fans got emotional during the show, with the Rogers tribute closing things out on an emotional high for some. Others had fun watching and expressed it online.
@_KennyRogers hearing this tribute to you is heartbreaking! Still can't believe you're gone 💔😭! RIP sweet angel ❤— Rosebudd2580 (@rosebudd2580) April 6, 2020
This Kenny Rogers song reminds me of my childhood. My oldest brother thought the lyric was “400 children got dropped in the field...” #RIPKennyRogers @BradPaisley @dariusrucker #ACMOurCountry @ACMawards @CBS— aredubyabee (@MadeNSecret) April 6, 2020
Others had old memories stirred up by the performances and the songs, especially the classic performance.
Darius Rucker and Brad Paisley performing Kenny Rogers...
How could this get any better?— Michaela Marmorato 🇺🇸 (@mrmarmorato) April 6, 2020
The certain thing is country music fans were thrilled by the special. If you judge it based on the social media responses, it was a stunning success on short notice.
This Kenny Rogers tribute= awesomeness. #ACMOurCountry— Dreamgirl Stephanie Ashlyn (@dreamgirl_steph) April 6, 2020