Dua Lipa called up Chris Stapleton to collaborate on that surprise ACM Awards duet

Chris Stapleton teamed up with Dua Lipa at Thursday’s Academy of Country Music Awards, harmonizing on a surprise, cross-genre duet of the country star’s “Think I’m in Love With You.”

Stapleton and Lipa said it was the “Dance the Night” singer’s idea to collaborate and she reached out to the country superstar’s team to make the unannounced duet happen.

“We got on the phone and talked about it and worked on it a little bit,” Stapleton, 46, told Entertainment Tonight after the awards show. “We really only kind of put together what we did like two days ago. So it was kind of a whirlwind of a thing to do — but it was awesome.”

Lipa, 28, confirmed that they started rehearsals a few days ago but had been talking about it for “a little while.” She said that it was a dream of hers to work with Stapleton, an emotionally complex country star who is tough yet vulnerable in his music.

“I’m a big, big Chris Stapleton fan, that’s for sure, and I love country music,” she added. “I love the storytelling, I love the passion, and it was just so beautiful to be able to dive into that world a little bit, just kind of see it firsthand. It was really special.”

Hosted by Reba McEntire, the 59th ACM Awards were held in Frisco, Texas, at the Star’s Ford Center and streamed live on Prime Video. Stapleton won awards for male artist, album (“Higher”) and artist-songwriter of the year, but he was bested by “Heart Like a Truck” singer Lainey Wilson for entertainer of the year after winning the top prize last year.

Wilson also clinched trophies for female artist and music event — the latter being a joint win with first-time nominee Jelly Roll because of their collaboration on his song “Save Me.”

Miranda Lambert debuted her new single “Wranglers” and Post Malone debuted his country song “Never Love You Again,” which bled into his new single with Morgan Wallen, “I Had Some Help.” Although Wallen did not perform, he still got some recognition: “Schitt’s Creek” star Noah Reid and Ashley McBryde took a swipe at the “Whiskey Glasses” singer while they were presenting the award for single of the year, quipping about the fallout from Wallen’s April 8 arrest while parodying each of the nominated artists’ songs.

“Last night after some alcohol, [the] chair right over there really started to piss me off,” Reid sang to the tune of “Last Night,” Wallen’s nominated hit. “They told me that I threw it at somebody that I never met, and my publicist keeps telling me this ain’t over yet.”

McBryde added: “Yeah. You should smile in the mug shot,” referring to the singer’s cheeky booking photo.

Malone was later joined by McEntire for a duet of the Allman Brothers Band’s “Ramblin’ Man.” Jason Aldean also performed a tribute to late country legend Toby Keith and Jelly Roll sang a rendition of his new song “Liar.” Kane Brown sang a moving cover of “Georgia on My Mind,” Thomas Rhett did “Beautiful as You” and husband and wife Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani performed a duet of “Purple Irises.” Pop punk star Avril Lavigne also performed “Bulletproof” alongside new male artist of the year winner Nate Smith.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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