Chris Young leads 2022 ACM Awards nominations, and Morgan Wallen let back in after 2021 video of racial slur

Chris Young leads the 2022 Academy of Country Music Awards nominations, which were announced on Thursday morning, February 10. He has seven ACM bids, though not Entertainer of the Year. Check out the complete list of nominations here.

Young’s seven nominations come in four separate categories. He’s up for Album of the Year as artist and producer for “Famous Friends.” He’s also double-nominated for Music Event of the Year as artist and producer for the title track, which also earned him dual bids for Song of the Year as both artist and songwriter. His seventh nom is Video of the Year for, you guessed it, “Famous Friends.”

Next in line with five noms apiece are Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, and Walker Hayes with five nominations apiece. Among Lambert and Stapleton’s nominations is Entertainer of the Year, where they compete against Eric Church, Luke Combs, and Carrie Underwood.

Meanwhile, Morgan Wallen comes roaring back with four nominations including Album of the Year (“Dangerous”) and Male Artist of the Year. This comes a little more than a year after video surfaced of Wallen using the N-word. That incident led the ACM Awards to ban Wallen outright in 2021.

Later in the year, the Billboard Music Awards nominated him because their prizes are based solely on chart performance, but they didn’t invite him to the ceremony. And in the fall the CMA Awards tried to thread the needle by only allowing him to be nominated in categories where other contributors, songwriters, and producers would be recognized, so he ended up nominated for Album of the Year.

But there was no such restriction on his ACM Awards nominations this year since his Male Artist of the Year bid is for him alone. So it looks like the consequences for a country music artist using the N-word consist of having the most successful album of the year in any genre and being sort of on probation for a while in the industry before being welcomed back to country radio, awards shows, and even the Grand Ole Opry as if nothing happened, which led Rolling Stone to ponder whether using a racial slur actually helped his career, a question the Academy of Country Music probably doesn’t want to think too much about this morning.

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