The Nominees You Have to See at the 56th ACM Awards
The highly anticipated 56th annual Academy of Country Music Awards are just a couple weeks away!
On Sunday, April 18, at 8:00 PM ET, the ceremony will premiere on CBS. Just like last year, the show will be practicing safe measures– but there will be no short supply of appearances from country’s hottest stars and unforgettable performances.
The show will broadcast live from a few of the most legendary venues in Nashville, including our own stage at the Grand Ole Opry House, the iconic Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe. Fans will be transported to Music City for the event from the comfort of their homes while this year’s nominees face worthy competition in every category. We’re recognizing some of the talents of a few Opry member nominees and stage frequents before the big night.
Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton
Opry member Keith Urban, 2019’s ACM Entertainer of the Year, is back with two nominations for Music Event of the Year. One for his appearance on Thomas Rhett’s “Be A Light,” and the other for his crossover hit “One Too Many” with pop singer Pink from his album The Speed of Now Part 1, released last year. Urban is also co-hosting the night’s awards, with Mickey Guyton, who’s been taking the country world by storm as of late and is nominated for Female Artist of the Year. At last year’s ACMs, Urban joined Guyton on piano during her performance of her moving single “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” on the Opry stage. While these two have a busy night ahead, here’s to hoping they can squeeze in another performance together.
Everyman country crooner Luke Combs is one of the Opry’s more recent inductees, as he joined in July 2019. The 31-year-old “Beer Never Broke My Heart” singer is nominated for Entertainer of the Year and Male Artist of the Year, which he won last year. His song “Does to Me” featuring Eric Church is also nominated for Music Event of the Year. If he wins Entertainer of the Year, a category where he’s stacked against the likes of Chris Stapleton, Eric Church and others, he’ll also qualify for the ACM Triple Crown Award.
Also inducted to the Opry in 2019 (and its youngest member!), Kelsea Ballerini is a modern great with strong ties to her roots and the women in country who came before her. She’s nominated for Female Artist of the Year, following the release of her third studio album, kelsea, last year. In 2017, Ballerini was presented the Gene Weed Milestone Award at the ACMs for outstanding achievement.
Four-time ACM Award winner and Opry member Dierks Bentley is up for Male Artist of the Year and Video of the Year for the music video accompanying his quarantine-inspired single “Gone.” In this song and over his career, he’s blended bluegrass with pop country for a unique take on the genre. Bentley has been a regular performer on the Opry stage for over 17 years now– and before that, he worked on the Opry grounds and used to slip backstage on the weekends to get a glimpse of what was happening.
One of the biggest names and hardest workers in country music today, Carrie Underwood, is nominated for Video of the Year for “Hallelujah” featuring (and co-written by) John Legend from her 2020 holiday album, My Gift. This marks Legend’s first ACM Award nomination. Underwood, who has been an Opry member since 2008, has received 40 ACM nominations since 2006 and has 15 awards under her belt.
Reba McEntire has been a member of the Opry for over 40 years, having made her debut back in 1977. The trailblazing country star is nominated for Music Event of the Year alongside Thomas Rhett, Lady A’s Hillary Scott, Chris Tomlin and Urban for Rhett’s single “Be a Light” for which they all provided guest vocals. The encouraging anthem brought together a group of voices across genres for a worthy cause: proceeds from the song were donated to the MusiCares Covid-19 Relief Fund.
Longtime Opry member and current The Voice judge Blake Shelton is nominated for Music Event of the Year for his duet with fiancé Gwen Stefani, “Nobody But You.” While Shelton has seven ACM Awards spanning various categories, this is pop star Stefani’s first ACM nomination. He was nominated in the same category last year for his collaboration with Garth Brooks, “Dive Bar.”
While not yet a member, Carly Pearce has graced the Opry stage over 80 times since her first invitation in 2015. Pearce’s work ethic is evident in how many times she’s showed up to play, and in the last year in which she released her third and most vulnerable album, 29, along with a slew of singles. She’s nominated for Female Artist of the Year, and her song “I Hope You’re Happy Now” with Lee Brice scored two nominations — for Single of the Year and Music Event of the Year.
Promising breakthrough artist and Opry stage frequent Jimmie Allen, who released collaborative album Bettie James last year featuring duets with everyone from Charley Pride to Nelly, is nominated for New Male Artist of the Year. This is his second nomination for the category since 2019 and would be his first win.
Ashley McBryde, who made her Grand Ole Opry debut in 2017 with hit “Girl Goin’ Nowhere,” is one of this year’s most nominated artists at the ACM Awards. She rings in at four total for Female Artist of the Year, Album of the Year for Never Will, and Song of the Year for script-flipping single “One Night Standards” as both performer and songwriter.
Kane Brown made his Opry debut as part of the Grand Ole Opry: 95 Years of Country Music special just a couple months back, and brought down the house with his emotive performance of “For My Daughter” after an introduction from Brad Paisley. The quickly rising singer’s EP Mixtape, Vol. 1, which showcases both his laid back country and R&B-infused sides, is nominated for Album of the Year. His music video for “Worldwide Beautiful” from the EP is up for Video of the Year.