Taylor Swift made her first performing appearance on a country awards show since 2013 with an appearance on Wednesday night’s Academy of Country Music Awards, singing “Betty,” a song from her recent “Folklore” album.
CBS posted a clip of the performance on social media (below). The full song is unlikely to be officially posted until after the show has aired with a three-hour tape delay on the west coast.
The performance had Swift returning to her roots by performing alone on a stool with an acoustic guitar, accompanied only by a harmonica player.
Swift sang from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, though that was evident only at the very beginning and end of her performance, as she did without the elaborate lighted backdrops and auditorium LED lights of the other performers at that location, with a single striking spot behind her. (Like a majority of the performances on the audience-free show, it appeared to have been recorded in advance, to the likely chagrin of Swifties gathered outside the Opry House.)
“Betty” is the one song on “Folklore” that harks back in style to early Swift country hits like “Love Story,” complete with a teen romance, now painted as a nostalgic multi-character narrative instead of first-person experience.
Swift was the last woman to win the ACMs’ entertainer of the year crown, picking up the top prize in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Wednesday night, Carrie Underwood broke that draught, ending up in a tie with Thomas Rhett for entertainer of the year, winning it herself for the first time since her two-year run with it preceding Swift in 2008-2009.