The U.K. pop star made his ACMs debut onstage in Texas
Ed Sheeran made his ACM Awards debut on Thursday night, but he didn’t go it alone: The English pop star was joined by Luke Combs to perform Sheeran’s song “Life Goes On,” off his album – (Subtract).
Standing on a lit platform in the center of the arena, Sheeran accompanied himself on acoustic guitar. He was also joined by a group of string players, and then, for the second verse, Combs. The two harmonized their way through the bridge and final chorus, then finished up with a friendly bro-hug. Garth Brooks jumped in to do the exit interview, asking how they got together.
This isn’t the first time that Sheeran and Combs have shared the stage. In March 2022, Sheeran popped up at Combs’ headlining performance at the Country to Country Festival in London to duet on Sheeran’s “Dive.” “We’ve been buddies for a couple years now,” Combs said in an interview with Smooth Country about Sheeran’s C2C surprise. “Any time I go over[seas] I just holler at him and see what he’s up to. He said he was going to come to the show and I said we do ‘Dive.’… It came about pretty naturally, but it was exciting.”
Sheeran released – (Subtract) earlier this month. In a cover story interview with RS, the songwriter said he wasn’t out to win over haters of his music: “Someone who’s never liked my music ever? And sees me as the punchline to a joke? For him to suddenly be like, ‘Oh, you’re not as shit as I thought you were?’ That doesn’t mean anything.”
In an interview with Billboard at the ACMs, Sheeran suggested he may pivot to the country genre. “I would love to transition into country,” the U.K. pop star said backstage at ACM Awards rehearsals. “I love the culture of it — I just love the songwriting. It’s just like brilliant songs.”