Give it up for Darius Rucker! The man once called Hootie lit up the stage at the Academy of Country Music awards, serenading the crowd with his sweet song, ‘For The First Time.’

Darius Rucker, 51, wowed the crowd gathered for the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada. “And now, performing a top-10 song, his ninth country hit in the row,” host Reba McEntire, 63, said, “for the first time, give it up for Darius Rucker!” The former alternative-rock radio star brought the swagger to the honky-tonk hit, and the ladies in the audience were feeling it. As he serenaded everyone with his song — which, to be honest, is pretty damn catchy — everyone was bobbing and swaying along.

“For The First Time,” the second single off of Darius’s fifth(!) country studio album, is all about taking a chance and feeling the thrill of trying something new in life. “When was the last time you did something for the first time? / Yeah, let yourself go, follow that feeling / Maybe something new is what you’re needing / Like a real life, let your hair down, feel alive / When was the last time you did something for the first time?” Of course, this wasn’t the first time Darius has appeared at the ACMs, as he joined Martina McBride during the 2016 ceremony to celebrate the late Joey Feek.

“I love watching the show because of the music,” Darius said ahead of the event, according to MSN. “You know, because of the collaborations that they’re doing. You know, this is just a special show for us. … this year has been crazy. It’s the first time I’ve been to Vegas in a while. It’s going to be a special show tonight.” Darius was clearly talking about how the ACMs have a history of mixing country icons with non-country superstars, as well as teaming up stars you’d never imagine singing together.

The 2018 event saw Blake Shelton and Toby Keith singing “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.” Kelly Clarkson joined host Reba McEntire to sing “Does He Love You.” Florida Georgia Line teamed with Bebe Rexha, while the great Alan Jackson would be accompanied by Jon Pardi to perform Alan’s hit, “Chattahoochee.” With so many once-in-a-lifetime performances, no wonder Darius was excited for the ACMs. Judging by the audience that was grooving to his hit, the ACMs were just as excited for Darius.