The 63-year-old, who quipped at the beginning of the show that "it just takes one woman to do the job of two men," after Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley hosted the last two years, managed to inject plenty of humor into the three-hour broadcast, while being sensitive to the fact that the Las Vegas ceremony was held in the same city as where the Route 91 Harvest Festival tragedy occurred.
"Everybody said, 'It's going to be fun. We're going to leave politics out. We've got a bunch of people here who are hurting, who need our support and our love and our prayers, and one thing that music does, it's very healing,'" McEntire shared backstage at the ACM Awards.
"And we need to really centralize all of our attention on that instead of making jokes that were to hurt people or to embarrass or anything. We didn't want any part of that. We wanted to come out and have fun for those people. They've had a rough time since October, and we're here to entertain. That's our job."
The 63-year-old was nominated for an ACM Award, for Female Vocalist of the Year, a category she hasn't won since 1995. Although she's grateful for the honor, which went to Miranda Lambert, she admitted that the surprise accolade was also a bit confusing for her.
"It was weird, strange," said McEntire. "I've been in the business 42 years, and to be nominated again was very flattering. But it told me, we've got to get together, and we've got to get our girls going. And tonight was great representation from the females. I am very proud of Lauren Alaina, Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris. I think the girls, the ladies, are going to kick some major butt in the future. We're kicking into high gear."
McEntire released the GRAMMY-winning gospel album, Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope last year, but the Oklahoma native says her next record will take her back to her roots.
"I want to do a country album," McEntire revealed. "I want to do a stone cold country album. A friend of mine says people would ask her, 'What's Reba looking for?' And she would say, 'Reba's looking for what made her Reba.' Just those songs that really touch your heart."
Photo Credit: ACM Awards