The 2015 ACM Awards delivered with one of the best country awards shows in recent memory. The bigger stage and extra half hour helped, but it was performances, appearances and speeches by five people that put the show over the top. Here are the five most courageous moments from the 2015 ACMs!

  • 5

    Rascal Flatts' Performance With Christina Aguilera

    Their moment won't be mentioned as a show highlight, but it was a solid performance by both the pop star and the country trio. Rascal Flatts and Aguilera surely rehearsed, but there's still risk involved when you're performing with someone new for the first time. Add 80K people in the stadium and millions at home ... there was a lot to lose if things went wrong. Last year, things did go wrong for Flatts. Give them credit for not shrinking away from the moment.

    Cooper Neill, Getty Images
  • 4

    Garth Brooks' Performance

    The safe play would have been for Garth Brooks to stick to a hit, or a medley of hits. He played a cut from an album most of his fans aren't familiar with. "All-American Kid" is a highlight on Man Against Machine, and it was a perfect way to honor America's brave.

    Cooper Niell, Getty Images
  • 3

    No Monologue

    Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton's monologue was as un-funny as they come, and it was perfect. There was no way the two hosts would top what was to come in the three-plus hours to follow. Hosting is usually a chance to show your personality, but these two capable men graciously stepped back and agreed to only keep the show moving.

    Ethan Miller, Getty Images
  • 2

    Taylor Swift's Mom

    When Andrea Swift took the stage, the state of Texas — and 49 others — stood to recognize her silent battle with cancer. Neither she nor Taylor Swift mentioned it. Mrs. Swift instead focused on her daughter and her Milestone win. During her lengthy comments she shared a great story about the song "Love Story," embarrassing her daughter like only a mom can. The undercurrent of the moment made the list.

    Ethan Miller, Getty Images
  • 1

    Randy Travis' Appearance

    No one saw this coming. Well, almost no one. Lee Brice tipped off Taste of Country before the show, but even he didn't know for sure that Travis would be in the audience. There wasn't a more searched-for moment during the ACM Awards, and there wasn't a more courageous moment. Randy Travis still has a long way to go to recover, and he didn't look like the singer many remembered. Still, he agreed to a spotlight.

    Rick Diamond, Getty Images