2018 ACM Awards: Chris Stapleton leads with 8 nominations, Reba McEntire is both host and nominee

Chris Stapleton reaped a leading eight nominations across five categories when the 2018 Academy of Country Music Award nominations were announced on Thursday, March 1. Among these is a bid for the big prize: Entertainer of the Year. His four rivals for this award are reigning champ Jason Aldean, past winners Garth Brooks and Luke Bryan, and perennial also-ran Keith Urban. Winners will be revelaed during the 53rd annual ACM Awards that air on CBS April 15. (See the full list of 2018 ACM Awards nominations.)

Stapleton is also nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year, and twice, as both artist and producer, in both Album of the Year (“From a Room: Volume 1″) and Single Record of the Year (“Broken Halos”) as well as both artist and songwriter in the Song of The Year category for “Whiskey and You.”

Reigning Male Vocalist of the Year Thomas Rhett defends his title and earned five other nominations. He contends as both an artist and producer for both Album of The Year (“Life Changes”) and Vocal Event of the Year for “Craving You” (featuring Maren Morris). And he contends for Music Video of the Year award for “Marry Me.”

SEE 2018 ACM Awards nominations: Full list of Academy of Country Music nominees led by Chris Stapleton

AMC Awards host Reba McEntire, who has 16 ACM awards on her mantle, is a nominee for Best Female Vocalist; she has won seven of her 15 previous bids. However, that prize is all but certain to go to Miranda Lambert who has taken it home for a record eight years in a row. Lambert is also nominated as artist and songwriter in the Song of The Year category for “Tin Man,” and for Video of the Year for “We Should Be Friends.” A single win for Lambert would mean that she breaks her tie with the duo Brooks & Dunn for the most ACM Awards ever (29).

Urban earned five nominations including his eighth for Entertainer of the Year and 11th for Male Vocalist of the Year.  Urban is also cited for Song of the Year for “Female,” and as both artist and producer in the Vocal Event of the Year category for “The Fighter” (featuring Carrie Underwood).

SEE ‘The Voice’ winners: Where are they now (Season 1 – 13)?

Reigning New Female Vocalist of the Year Maren Morris has four nominations, including her second  in the Female Vocalist of the Year category.  Morris is also nominated as both artist and producer in the Vocal Event of the Year category for “Dear Hate” (featuring Vince Gill) and as an artist for her collaboration with Thomas Rhett on “Craving You.”

Little Big Town has won Vocal Group of the Year three years running (and four years in all). They  made it an even dozen bids in this category and are also nominated for Album of the Year for “Breaker” and Single Record of the Year for “Better Man.”

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Sam Hunt earned three nominations for his hit “Body Like A Back Road: Single Record of The Year and two as artist and songwriter for Song of the Year.

Husband and wife Tim McGraw and Faith Hill have won 18 and 16 ACM Awards respectively. They reaped their first=ever Vocal Duo bid this year.

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