The 55th annual Academy of Country Music Awards kicked off Wednesday night following a sixth-month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keith Urban is hosting the awards show, originally set to be held in Las Vegas in April. It will feature two dozen performances across three locations in Nashville: the Grand Ole Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Cafe.

Speaking to an empty auditorium and fans watching from home, Urban addressed the delay at the top of the show, in addition to acknowledging wildfires raging in the Western United States and storms in the Gulf Coast.

"This has been an unpredictable and unsettling year for everyone," he said. "Even as of right now, our friends out West are battling horrific wildfires and our folks on the Gulf Coast are threatened by hurricanes and we want to send our love, thoughts and our prayers out to every one of you affected right now."

Urban also declared that "we are in the midst of trying to fight two pandemics: COVID-19 and social injustice."

"Far too many lives have been lost to both, but the examples set by our essential workers and first responders, along with the voices crying out for equality in all walks of life have echoed around the world and right here, in our country community," Urban said.

Maren Morris, Thomas Rett and Dann Huff lead all nominees with five nods each while Blake Shelton, Dan + Shay, Old Dominion and Luke Combs have also been nominated multiple times.

The show began with a medley of performances by Combs, Rhett, Luke Bryan, Eric Church and Carrie Underwood.

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Other performances scheduled for the night include a duet by Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, and Taylor Swift's first performance at the awards show in seven years.