So, who is responsible for Chris Stapleton’s success? That was what Dierks Bentley and Luke Bryan argued about for the majority of their opening monologue at the 2016 ACM Awards. The first-time partners had help, however — from Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean and more.

The opening segment began with the two co-hosts prepping for Bryan’s “Huntin’ and Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day” performance, but as Bryan introduced Bentley, Blake Shelton appeared from nowhere to take the microphone and stagebomb Bryan. Shelton stuck around to perform his own “Came Here to Forget.”

Finally, “Lurks” was born ... almost. Again, Shelton showed up. It’s not clear if his repeated appearance was totally planned. It seems likely given the nature of awards shows, but if anyone is gonna work off script, it’d be Shelton. He wished the two good luck and told Bryan he was a “dumbass” before Bentley and Bryan began trading jokes.

The 2016 ACM Awards monologue was an original. There was the usual recognizing of celebrities and country stars in the MGM Grand Garden Arena audience, but they soon turned to Stapleton and who is responsible for his success. With tongues firmly planted in cheek, they both said the were individually responsible for the rise of the 'newcomer.' Stapleton was a part of Bentley’s Riser album, while also being a part of Bryan’s career, including writing “Drink a Beer.”

Out of nowhere Jason Aldean interrupted to stake his claim. “I was a fan of him before he had a beard and was playing in a rock 'n' roll band,” he said before being interrupted by Thomas Rhett. Stapleton wrote Rhett’s hit song “Crash and Burn.”

Charles Kelley soon stood to remind everyone he was signing a Stapleton song later that night. “Lonely Girl” is his new single from The Driver album, and he’ll sing it later in the show. The biggest shock was Carrie Underwood standing to take credit.

“Excuse me, Carrie. Wrong show,” the co-hosts said, joking about the fact that she hosts the CMA Awards. The “Church Bells” singer claimed to have bought a vintage Stapleton T-shirt in 1978, the year the bearded one was born. It seems unlikely, but when questioned, she doubled-down.

“Exactly, you’re welcome Chris. Boom!”

It was a monologue that previewed many of the night’s big stars and performers while paying kudos to country’s rising star and the CMA Male Vocalist of the Year winner. Bentley — giving his first monologue — looked calm and comfortable as he delivered his lines. His presences was remarkable, and if he was nervous he hid it well.

Look! The Hottest Looks From the ACM Red Carpet

Watch: Who Is Chris Stapleton?

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