Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions
LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Chris Stapleton has been a leading nominee at the Academy of Country Music Awards since 2016 — the spring after the singer, alongside Justin Timberlake, turned in the breakthrough performance of his career at a competing country music awards show.

When nominations were revealed Wednesday morning for the 54th ACM Awards, Stapleton was still at the top — however, this time there was a new name setting the pace.  

Fresh of their Grammy win for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for their hit “Tequila,” Dan + Shay are tied with Stapleton for the most nods. 

Stapleton is nominated for Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Single of the Year and Album of the Year, and is also up for producing awards in the Single and Album categories. Dan + Shay received nods for Duo of the Year, Album of the Year, Single, Song and Video of the Year for ‘Tequila,’ and for Music Event of the Year. Dan Smyers picked up an additional four nominations for production and songwriting, giving him the potential to take 10 trophies, more than any other nominee.

Reba McEntire helped announce the nominees for the 54th Academy of Country Music Awards Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.” McEntire will return as host of the awards show for the 16th time when it airs live from the MGM Grand’s Garden Arena in Las Vegas at 7 p.m. April 7 on CBS. 

“This is just absurd,” Smyers quipped at learning of the breadth of Dan + Shay’s nominations, coupled with his own. “I put a lot of time on these records, camped out in my studio ... I really gave it my all and the fact that the ACMs and country music is acknowledging that is really gratifying to me. It gives me some fuel for my fire to keep going.” 

Other top nominees include recent Grammy winner Kacey Musgraves with five nominations, while Dierks Bentley, Brothers Osborne, and Florida Georgia Line with Bebe Rexha have four nominations each.  

No women get Entertainer of the Year nod

Despite female singers picking up multiple nominations in a range of categories, they were shut out of the show’s top honor, Entertainer of the Year. McEntire, who has been nominated for the honor nine times and won it in 1994, was irked at the category’s lack of women. 

"It doesn't make me very happy because we've got some very talented women out there who are working their butts off," she said, later adding: “I’m missing my girlfriends on this list.” 

McEntire's criticism is part of a larger conversation about female singers being boxed out of country music. There were no female nominees for Entertainer of the Year at November's CMA Awards. In fact, the nominees in the category are identical at both shows: Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Stapleton. There are currently seven songs by female artists in the Top 40 at country radio. But only one song by a female vocalist — “Rich” by Maren Morris — was among country music’s top-played songs of 2018. 

A host of artists earned two nominations, including Ashley McBryde, Miranda Lambert, Midland, Luke Combs, LANCO, Aldean, Bryan, Chesney and Urban.

Rising stars, first-time nominees 

Kane Brown earned a Single of the Year nomination for his multi-platinum hit “Heaven” after being overlooked at previous awards shows. Jake Owen’s “Down at the Honky Tonk” is also nominated for Single of the Year. The nomination is Owen’s first at the awards show in 11 years. He won Top New Male Vocalist in 2008.

“Holy guacamole,” Owen tweeted Wednesday. “I just woke up with my little girl laying on my shoulder to find out about this! Life can’t get much better … I’m seriously so excited.” 

McBryde, Lindsay Ell, Michael Ray, Jimmie Allen, Jordan Davis and Mitchell Tenpenny are among the year’s first-time nominees. 

"Growing up, I watched the ACMs, I would never miss one,” Ray recalls. “I would take notes of who won and what category and circle their name and I'd keep it a drawer and bring it out the next year to compare ... kind of like a fantasy country music league. The ACMs were such a big part of me growing up and watching and dreaming as a kid of, 'How crazy would it be if this led us to a nomination?' The fact that will always be a title I get to carry, I already feel like a winner. That's a very elite group that gets to say that." 

Get the latest country music news, straight from Music City:  Sign up for the newsletter

Tune in

The 54th ACM Awards will air live on CBS at 7 p.m. April 7 from the MGM Grand’s Garden Arena in Las Vegas. 

Abbreviated list of nominees for the 54th ACM Awards

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR 

Jason Aldean 

Luke Bryan 

Kenny Chesney 

Chris Stapleton 

Keith Urban 

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR 

Miranda Lambert 

Ashley McBryde 

Maren Morris 

Kacey Musgraves 

Carrie Underwood 

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR 

Dierks Bentley 

Luke Combs 

Thomas Rhett 

Chris Stapleton 

Keith Urban 

DUO OF THE YEAR 

Brothers Osborne 

Dan + Shay 

Florida Georgia Line 

LOCASH 

Maddie & Tae 

GROUP OF THE YEAR 

Lady Antebellum 

LANCO 

Little Big Town 

Midland 

Old Dominion 

 

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: https://www.tennessean.com/story/entertainment/music/2019/02/20/acm-awards-nominees-chris-stapleton-leads-keith-urban-field/2924274002/