One of country music's hottest "newcomers" took the ACM Awards stage on Sunday night like he'd done it a dozen times before. Hosts Blake Shelton and Reba McEntire jokingly asked the crowd to take it easy on the newbie, before the fiery redhead cracked, "Give the kid a break, it's Ronnie Dunn!"

Dunn has admitted to being nervous about his solo career, and that he wasn't sure how fans would react to his new song 'Bleed Red.' Indeed, his easy blue eyes showed concern, but after 60 seconds or so he closed them and reminded everyone that he's the premier male vocalist in country music. The audience at the MGM in Las Vegas responded with a standing ovation after a powerful performance by Dunn.

Dressed in all black, Dunn was flanked by a full string section. Together, they built the tension of the song until Dunn belted out the final chorus, holding onto the final note for eternity.

The singer's newest tattoo made its national television debut as well. Dunn had the word "Cowboy" stamped across his right forearm. The inkjob has been the subject of frequent ribbings from his wife, and from good friend Reba. During the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville last month, he admitted that Reba was very skeptical of his "Cowboy" credentials off the stage. No doubt his captivating performance on Sunday night will quiet her teasing for a night or two.