The Academy of Country Music announced today the host and nominations for the 53RD ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS™, Country Music’s Party of the Year®, honoring country music’s superstars and hottest emerging talent. Multimedia superstar and sixteen-time ACM Award® winner Reba McEntire will return to host LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 8:00 PM ET/PT on the CBS Television Network. This year’s show will mark Reba’s fifteenth time hosting the ceremony, last appearing in 2012 with Blake Shelton.
In addition to surprising audiences with the news that she will return to host, Reba appeared live today on “CBS This Morning” to announce this year’s ACM Award nominees for Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, Vocal Duo of the Year, and Vocal Group of the Year, as well as nominees for Song of the Year on Facebook LIVE. “Entertainment Tonight” host Nancy O’Dell announced additional nominees on ETonline.com.
Chris Stapleton leads with eight nominations in five categories, including his first nod for Entertainer of the Year. Stapleton is also nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year, and twice, as both artist and producer, in both the Album of the Year and Single Record of the Year categories; he received the Album of the Year nod for From a Room: Volume 1, and the Single Record of the Year nod for “Broken Halos.” He is also nominated twice, both as artist and songwriter, in the Song of The Year category for “Whiskey and You.”
Reigning Male Vocalist of the Year, Thomas Rhett earned six nominations, including his second in the Male Vocalist of the Year category. Rhett is also nominated twice, as an artist and producer, for both Album of The Year for Life Changes and Vocal Event of the Year for “Craving You” (featuring Maren Morris). Lastly, he is nominated for his first Music Video of the Year award for “Marry Me,” along with director TK McKamy and producer Dan Atchison.
Keith Urban earned five nominations including his eighth nod for Entertainer of the Year and eleventh nod for Male Vocalist of the Year. Urban is also nominated for Song of the Year for “Female,” and twice, as both artist and producer in the Vocal Event of the Year category for “The Fighter” (featuring Carrie Underwood). Urban won Top New Male Vocalist of the Year in 2000, and Top Male Vocalist of the Year in 2004 and 2005. A win in the Entertainer of the Year category would also make him the eighth ever ACM Triple Crown winner.
Songwriter Shane McAnally received five nominations. He is nominated as Songwriter of the Year, and twice as songwriter in the Song of the Year category for Sam Hunt’s “Body Like A Back Road” and Keith Urban’s “Female.” McAnally is also nominated in the Album of the Year category for Old Dominion’s album Happy Endings, and in the Single Record of the Year category as a producer in Midland’s single “Drinkin’ Problems.”
Reigning Female Vocalist of the Year, Miranda Lambert received four nominations, including her twelfth nod for Female Vocalist of the Year. If she wins, it will be her ninth consecutive win in this category. She is the current record holder for most consecutive wins in the Female Vocalist of the Year category. Miranda is currently tied for the winningest artist in ACM history with 29 awards along with Brooks & Dunn. This year she is also nominated twice, both as artist and songwriter, in the Song of The Year category for “Tin Man,” and for Video of the Year for “We Should Be Friends.”
Reigning New Female Vocalist of the Year Maren Morris received four nominations, including her second nod in the Female Vocalist of the Year category. Morris is also nominated twice, as an artist and producer, in the Vocal Event of the Year category for “Dear Hate” (featuring Vince Gill). She is nominated again in the category with Thomas Rhett for “Craving You.”
Sam Hunt received three nominations for his hit “Body Like A Back Road.” One nod in the Single Record of The Year category, and two, both as artist and songwriter, in the Song of the Year category.
Reigning Vocal Group of the Year, Little Big Town, earned their twelfth nomination in the category. This would be their fourth consecutive win and fifth overall. They are also nominated for Album of the Year for Breaker, and Single Record of the Year for “Better Man.”
First-time Academy of Country Music Award nominee, Midland, received three nominations for Vocal Group of the Year, New Vocal Duo/Group of the Year, and Single Record of the Year for “Drinkin’ Problem.”
Eighteen-time ACM Award winner Tim McGraw and sixteen-time ACM Award winner Faith Hill received their first-ever nomination as a duo in the Vocal Duo of the Year category.
Reba McEntire received her sixteenth nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year. This would be her eighth win in the category.
The following is the full list of final nominees. The Academy of Country Music’s professional membership selects the nominees and winners of the Academy of Country Music Awards.
Entertainer: Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban
Male Vocalist: Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban, Chris Young
Female Vocalist: Kelsea Ballerini, Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, Maren Morris, Carrie Underwood
Vocal Duo: Brothers Osborne, Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line, LoCash, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
Vocal Group: Lady Antebellum, Lanco, Little Big Town, Midland, Old Dominion
New Male: Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Devin Dawson, Russell Dickerson, Brett Young
New Female: Lauren Alaina, Danielle Bradbery, Carly Pearce, RaeLynn
New Vocal Duo/Group: High Valley, Lanco, LoCash, Midland, Runaway June
Album: Breaker, Little Big Town; California Sunrise, Jon Pardi; From A Room: Vol. 1, Chris Stapleton; Happy Endings, Old Dominion; Life Changes, Thomas Rhett.
Single: “Better Man,” Little Big Town; “Body Like A Back Road,” Sam Hunt; “Broken Halos,” Chris Stapleton; “Drinkin’ Problem,” Midland; “I’ll Name The Dogs,” Blake Shelton.
Song: “Body Like A Back Road,” Sam Hunt; “Female,” Keith Urban; “Tin Man,” Miranda Lambert; “Whiskey And You,” Chris Stapleton.
Video: “Black,” Dierks Bentley; “It Ain’t My Fault,” Brothers Osborne; “Legends,” Kelsea Ballerini; “Marry Me,” Thomas Rhett, “We Should Be Friends,” Miranda Lambert.
Songwriter: Rhett Akins, Ashley Gorley, Hillary Lindsey, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne.
Vocal Event: “Craving You,” Thomas Rhett f/Maren Morris; “Dear Hate,” Maren Morris f/Vince Gill; “(Funny) How Time Slips Away,” Glen Campbell and Willie Nelson; “The Fighter,” Keith Urban f/Carrie Underwood; “What Ifs,” Kane Brown f/Lauren Alaina.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.