The 2018 Academy of Country Music Awards will be held on Sunday night, April 15, but they have already announced their first winners. On March 26 it was revealed that New Artist prizes went to Lauren Alaina, Brett Young and Midland. Those three artists have also been invited to perform during the telecast.
Alaina claimed New Female Vocalist of the Year, defeating RaeLynn, Carly Pearce and Danielle Bradbery. This award has previously gone to superstar artists like Shania Twain (1996), LeAnn Rimes (1997), Carrie Underwood (2006), Miranda Lambert (2007) and Taylor Swift (2008). Like Underwood, Alaina got her start on “American Idol,” where she finished in second place in season 10. She released her debut studio album “Wildflower” back in 2011, and followed that up with “Road Less Traveled” in 2017. This is Alaina’s first ACM victory, but it’s actually her second consecutive nomination for New Female Vocalist; she lost the award last year to Maren Morris. And she has another shot at an ACM victory this year as she also contends for Vocal Event of the Year for “What Ifs” with Kane Brown.
Young claims New Male Vocalist of the Year over Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Russell Dickerson and Devin Dawson. Like Alaina, this was his second year in a row nominated in this category, having lost in 2017 to Jon Pardi. Other noteworthy winners over the years have included Brad Paisley (2000), Keith Urban (2001), Jason Aldean (2006), Luke Bryan (2010) and Chris Stapleton (2016). Young’s self-titled debut studio album was released in 2017 and peaked at number-two on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. He has no other ACM nominations this year.
Midland were awarded New Vocal Duo/Group of the Year, defeating LoCash, LANCO, Runaway June and High Valley. They join a prestigious list of past winners that includes Dixie Chicks (1999), Little Big Town (2007), Lady Antebellum (2008) and Florida Georgia Line (2013). The country trio dropped their debut studio album “On the Rocks” in 2017, and they have two additional chances to win ACMs this year: they’re also up for Vocal Group of the Year and Single Record of the Year for their breakthrough hit “Drinkin’ Problem.”
What do you think of this year’s New Artist winners at the ACMs? And who will prevail when the rest of the prizes are handed out in April?
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