The time has come to make your predictions for the Academy of Country Music Awards. The 51st annual edition of these kudos honors the best in country music. Nominees were announced on February 1 with winners to be presented on Sunday, April 3, in Las Vegas during a telecast to be broadcast live on CBS and hosted by nominees Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley.
Bryan is the defending champ for Entertainer of the Year. He has won that award twice in the last three years, but he faces Garth Brooks, who has won the award a whopping six times but hasn’t prevailed since 1998. Then there’s Miranda Lambert, nominated for the fifth year in a row. Though Carrie Underwood (2008-2009) and Taylor Swift (2010-2011) both won twice in recent years, women have been underrepresented in the top category overall; for the last two years, Lambert has been the only female nominee.
But Bryan, Brooks and Lambert aren’t the top nominees this year. With five bids apiece, veteran Eric Church and newcomer Chris Stapleton are the top contenders at this year’s event. Among Church’s five nominations are his first for Entertainer of the Year and third for Male Vocalist of the Year. Church is also in contention for Album of the Year for “Mr. Misunderstood,” Video of the Year for the title track and Vocal Event of the Year for “Raise ‘Em Up” with Keith Urban.
Stapleton earned his first-ever nods for Male Vocalist of the Year, New Male Vocalist of the Year, Vocal Event of the Year for “Hangover Tonight” with Gary Allan, and is twice nominated as both artist and producer in the Album of the Year category for “Traveller.”
Cam received four nominations, including New Female Vocalist of the Year, Video of the Year for “Burning House,” and as both artist and producer in the Single Record of the Year category for “Burning House.”
Reigning Vocal Group of the Year Little Big Town reaped their 10th nomination in that race. The group also earned nominations in the Single Record of the Year and Video of the Year categories for the song “Girl Crush” as well as Vocal Event of the Year for “Smokin’ and Drinkin’” with Lambert. Additionally, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild received an individual nomination for Vocal Event of the Year for “Home Alone Tonight” with Luke Bryan.
Reigning Female Vocalist of the Year Lambert also reaped her 10th consecutive bid in that race as well as her fifth for Entertainer of the Year.
Thomas Rhett is also up for three awards including his first in the Album of the Year category for “Tangled Up” and Single Record of the Year category for “Die a Happy Man.” He also contends for New Male Vocalist of the Year.
Make your ACM Awards predictions starting with Entertainer of the Year to the right or at the bottom of this post.
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Photo credits: Luke Bryan and Miranda Lambert by ABC