ACM Nominees Feature Country Royalty and Nashville Newcomers

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The Academy of Country Music on Wednesday announced its nominees for the ACM Awards, with Miranda Lambert and Tim McGraw leading the nominations.

Lambert and McGraw received seven nominations each and are competing for Single Record of the Year and Video of the Year. Lambert is looking to maintain her title as ACM Female Vocalist of the Year. She is also nominated for Song of the Year and Entertainer of the Year. Lambert will compete against her husband, Blake Shelton, for Entertainer of Year, as well as Taylor Swift, George Strait, and Luke Bryan. Lambert, an ACM favorite, managed to net these nods despite the fact that she didn’t release a solo album this year.

McGraw received two nominations in the categories of Album of the Year, Single Record of the Year, and Vocal Event of the Year as both an artist and producer for his album Two Lanes of Freedom. The single from that album, “Highway Don’t Care,” featuring Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, was nominated for Single Record of the Year and Video of the Year.

Coming in behind Lambert and McGraw, Keith Urban is in the running for six awards, including Male Vocalist of the Year, and the nominations from his collaboration with McGraw and Swift. Lee Brice, Kacey Musgraves, Taylor Swift, and Blake Shelton are nominated for five awards each.

If the results of the Grammys are any indication, Lambert may have her title as Female Vocalist of the Year stolen by newcomer Kacey Musgraves. Musgraves took home Grammys for Best Country Song and Best Country Album for her work on her debut record, Same Trailer, Different Park. She also received high praises in Nashville Scene’s annual Country Music Critics’ Poll. The voters agreed that Musgraves writes smarter songs with more staying power than her competitors in ACM’s female vocalist category, so we’ll see if all the critical praise surrounding Musgraves will be enough to boost her ahead of crowd-pleasers like Lambert, Swift, Carrie Underwood, and Sheryl Crow.

Most of the winners are chosen by country music critics, but fans do have a say in the Entertainer of the Year and New Artist of the Year awards. The nominees for New Artist of the Year are also chosen via fan vote and were not yet announced as of Wednesday. Voting for New Artist of the Year has already begun, and the three finalists will be announced by the ACM in the coming weeks. Last year’s New Artist of the Year, Florida Georgia Line, is up for four ACMs, including Vocal Duo of the Year.

The ceremony, nicknamed Country Music’s Party of the Year, will be hosted by Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan, and will air on CBS on April 6. Here’s a list of the nominees in the major categories:

Entertainer of the Year: Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Taylor Swift

Male Vocalist of the Year: Jason Aldean, Lee Brice, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban

Female Vocalist of the Year: Sheryl Crow, Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood

Vocal Duo of the Year: Big & Rich, Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line, Love and Theft, Thompson Square

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