After five years away, Reba McEntire returned for a record 17th time hosting the 2018 ACM Awards on Sunday evening (April 15). She kicked off the show with a monologue reflecting on the ceremonies she has hosted in the past, as well as how excited she is to be back at her old gig.

"I first hosted this show in 1986," she began. "To put that in perspective, not only was Kelsea Ballerini not born, her parents weren't even dating yet."

McEntire acknowledged the previous years' hosts: Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley, and Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton. After congratulating them on their hosting gigs, she said, "I guess they finally figured out it only takes one woman to do the job of two men." That line earned big laughs from the audience and a standing ovation.

She also riffed on all of the new country babies that have been born this year, ending by mentioning Chris Stapleton's new addition.

"I guess what happened in Vegas comes out in Nashville nine months later," she quipped.

Still, while McEntire poked fun at some of her peers, it was all in good fun. And she saved her biggest jokes for herself.

"Do you remember the biggest thing in 1993?" she asked, while an old photo of her flashed on the screen. "My hair. Jacked up to Jesus."

While McEntire acknowledged that she initially thought her ACMs hosting retirement would be permanent, it was no secret leading up to the ceremony that she was looking forward to reclaim her hosting duties. In an interview with Billboard, the country star explained that her manager, Clarence Spalding, had initially brought up the idea of her return.

"I looked at Clarence," she recalled, "and said, 'I never thought I'd say this, but I had missed hosting the ACMs so much. Yes, I would love to.'"

While McEntire made clear that returning to the ceremony had brought back a lot of wonderful memories, she also addressed the importance of paying tribute to the victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting, which took place in Las Vegas in October and became the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, leaving 58 people dead and hundreds more injured. McEntire told Billboard in the wake of that tragedy, it was especially important for the awards ceremony to remain in Las Vegas.

"That is a very critical and important thing to do," she explains. "We do pay tribute. We pay honor to those victims of that shooting, and then we remind everybody that we are Americans, and we do not let that shut us down."

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