Chris Stapleton, Eric Church top ACM Awards nominations

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EXCLUSIVE: ET Reveals Miranda Lambert and Luke Bryan's Big 2016 ACM Nominations!

Chris Stapleton's banner year continues. Virtually unknown outside of Nashville's Music Row this time last year, despite a long tenure in the industry, the soulful singer emerged as a star last fall when he won three Country Music Assn. Awards and performed on that show with Justin Timberlake. He then went on to land four Grammy nominations. Now, Stapleton shares the spotlight with fellow country music renegade Eric Church, with each artist earning five Academy of Country Music Awards nominations, announced Monday morning.

Little Big Town earned four nominations, but an additional nod for group member Karen Fairchild puts them in the company of Church and Stapleton on the leaderboard. Chris Young and newcomer Cam earned four nominations apiece, while Chris Janson, Miranda Lambert and Thomas Rhett scored three each. Both Cam and Janson are first-time ACM nominees.

Stapleton's nominations include nods in both the Male Vocalist and New Male Vocalist categories. He also lands a Vocal Event nomination for "Hangover Tonight," a collaboration with Gary Allan, plus nominations as both artist and producer in the Album of the Year category for Traveller. These mark Stapleton's first nominations as an artist. He was previously nominated as a songwriter in 2014 for "Drink A Beer," recorded by Luke Bryan (with Stapleton on background vocals).

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Chris Stapleton, Eric Church top ACM Awards nominations

Before he became one of the most fashionable men in country, McGraw sported this thin mustache and feathery fringe look. Thank goodness he took some shears to that hair and cleaned up really nicely. 

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Let's take a trip back in time to a young Kenny Chesney and his famous 'do. The 'Fall in Love' country star sported a head full of hair in his famous video -- now, where did it all go?
 

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Garth Brooks tips his hat and shows off a head full of hair with pride! The famous country star helped polarize the infamous mullet into a country staple. 

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

It's all about business in the front and party in the back for Toby Keith. Not even the country hottie could resist this 90s trend!

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Joe Diffie makes our hearts swell with a 'Texas Size Heartache' with this iconic mullet. Perhaps one of the best-kept 'dos, he was certainly no average Joe when it came to maintenance on his precious hair. 

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Probably one of the most epic mullets from the country scene, the 'Sangria' singer wins our vote for the most stylish and well-kept mane in the business!

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Fusing rock and country, the former two-time CMA Entertainer of the Year, Vince Gill sported an edgier look that broke thousands of hearts.  

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Hall of Fame legendary singer Alan Jackson sported a long mane of golden locks in his honky tonk days complete with a killer mustache.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Our 'Achy Breaky Heart' -- who could forget that curly mane! The country superstar donned a head full of thick luscious hair complete with a goatee. 

(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd/WireImage)

We are sure Travis Tritt had the 'Best of Intentions' when he rocked his feathery fringe in the 90s. 

(Photo by Beth Gwinn/Redferns)

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Church's nominations include his first in the Entertainer of the Year category and his third for Male Vocalist of the Year.

Little Big Town racked up its 10th nod in the Vocal Group of the Year category. The group is also represented twice this year in the Vocal Event category, once for the full band's collaboration with Lambert on "Smokin' and Drinkin'" and again for Fairchild's duet with Bryan on his current single, "Home Alone Tonight."

Cam earned one nomination for New Female Vocalist, and three more for her single "Burning House," including credits as both artist and producer on the track. In a clear sign of how challenging the playing field continues to be for female singers in the country format, only four women qualified for the ballot in the New Female Vocalist category, when all other categories included five nominees. Joining Cam in that category are Kelsea Ballerini (who is also nominated in the Female Vocalist category), Mickey Guyton and RaeLynn.

Like Cam and Janson, Ballerini, Guyton and RaeLynn are all first-time ACM nominees, as are Chase Rice and the bands Old Dominion (with two 2016 nominations), A Thousand Horses and Parmalee.

Young's new batch of nominations include his first career recognition in the Album of the Year category -; where he earned nods as both artist and producer on I'm Comin' Over -; and two more as artist and producer on the title track in the Single Record category. Young earned just one previous ACM nomination in 2011, but a win this year would be his first.

Lambert's nominations include her fifth in the Entertainer of the Year category, and her 10th consecutive nod in the Female Vocalist field, which she has won six times. Rhett, meanwhile, scored his first nomination in the Album category for his sophomore set, Tangled Up.

Some of the nominations were shared live on CBS This Morning by Dierks Bentley, and the rest were announced on ETOnline.com Monday. Winners will be revealed April 3 during the telecast of the 51st ACM Awards, airing live on the CBS Television Network from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas beginning at 8 p.m. (ET). Bryan will serve as the show's co-host for the fourth time, joined by first-timer Bentley, who succeeds Blake Shelton in the role. Both Bryan and Bentley scored two nominations this year.

In one procedural change, nominees and winners in the Entertainer and three newcomer categories (New Male Vocalist, New Female Vocalist and New Vocal Duo or Group) revert to being chosen exclusively by the ACM's professional membership after years of incorporating fan votes.

Following is a list of the nominees announced so far. Several other categories, including Song of the Year, will be announced at a later date.

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

• Jason Aldean

• Garth Brooks

• Luke Bryan

• Eric Church

• Miranda Lambert

MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

• Jason Aldean

• Dierks Bentley

• Eric Church

• Brett Eldredge

• Chris Stapleton

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

• Kelsea Ballerini

• Jana Kramer

• Miranda Lambert

• Kacey Musgraves

• Carrie Underwood

VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR

• Brothers Osborne

• Dan + Shay

• Florida Georgia Line

• Joey + Rory

• Maddie & Tae

VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR

• Eli Young Band

• Little Big Town

• Old Dominion

• Rascal Flatts

• Zac Brown Band

NEW MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

• Brett Eldredge

• Chris Janson

• Thomas Rhett

• Chase Rice

• Chris Stapleton

NEW FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

• Kelsea Ballerini

• Cam

• Mickey Guyton

• RaeLynn

NEW VOCAL DUO OR GROUP OF THE YEAR

• A Thousand Horses

• Brothers Osborne

• Maddie & Tae

• Old Dominion

• Parmalee

ALBUM OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company-Label(s)]

I'm Comin' Over - Chris Young

Producers: Corey Crowder, Chris Young

Record Label: RCA Records

Montevallo - Sam Hunt

Producers: Zach Crowell, Shane McAnally

Record Label: MCA Nashville

Mr. Misunderstood - Eric Church

Producer: Jay Joyce

Record Label: EMI Records Nashville

Tangled Up - Thomas Rhett

Producers: Dann Huff, Jesse Frasure, Chris DeStefano, Joe London

Record Label: The Valory Music Co.

Traveller - Chris Stapleton

Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton

Record Label: Mercury Records

SINGLE RECORD OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company-Label(s)]

• Burning House - Cam

Producers: Jeff Bhasker, Tyler Johnson, Camaron Ochs

Record Labels: Arista Nashville, RCA Records, Kravenworks

• Buy Me A Boat - Chris Janson

Producers: Brent Anderson, Chris DuBois, Chris Janson

Record Label: Warner Music Nashville

• Die A Happy Man - Thomas Rhett

Producers: Dann Huff, Jesse Frasure

Record Label: The Valory Music Co.

• Girl Crush - Little Big Town

Producer: Jay Joyce

Record Label: Capitol Records Nashville

• I'm Comin' Over - Chris Young

Producers: Corey Crowder, Chris Young

Record Label: RCA Nashville

• Take Your Time - Sam Hunt

Producers: Zach Crowell, Shane McAnally

Record Label: MCA Nashville

VIDEO OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Producer(s)/Director(s)/Artist(s)] (Off Camera Award)

• Biscuits - Kacey Musgraves

Director: Mark Klasfeld

Producer: Nicole Acacio

• Burning House - Cam

Director: Trey Fanjoy

Producer: Trent Hardville

• Girl Crush - Little Big Town

Directors: Karla Welch, Matthew Welch

Producer: Amanda Prunesti

• Mr. Misunderstood - Eric Church

Directors: Reid Long, John Peets

Producer: Megan Smith

• Riser - Dierks Bentley

Director: Wes Edwards

Producer: Jennifer Rothlein

VOCAL EVENT OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company-Label(s)] (Off Camera Award)

• Hangover Tonight - Gary Allan Featuring Chris Stapleton

Producers: Gary Allan, Greg Droman

Record Label: MCA Nashville

• Home Alone Tonight - Luke Bryan Featuring Karen Fairchild

Producers: Jeff Stevens, Jody Stevens

Record Label: Capitol Nashville

• Raise 'Em Up - Keith Urban Featuring Eric Church

Producers: Nathan Chapman, Keith Urban

Record Labels: Hit Red Records, Capitol Nashville

• Smokin' And Drinkin' - Miranda Lambert Featuring Little Big Town

Producers: Frank Liddell, Chuck Ainlay, Glenn Worf

Record Label: RCA Nashville

• Wild Child - Kenny Chesney With Grace Potter

Producers: Buddy Cannon, Kenny Chesney

Record Labels: Blue Chair Records, Columbia Nashville

RADIO CATEGORIES

NATIONAL ON-AIR PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR (3-way tie within category led to additional nominees)

• Blair Garner, Chuck Wicks, America's Morning Show

• Cody Alan, CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan

• Lon Helton, Country Countdown USA with Lon Helton

• Lorianne Crook and Charlie Chase, The Crook and Chase Countdown

• Sam Alex, Taste of Country Nights

• The Bobby Bones Show, The Bobby Bones Show

• Whitney Allen, Jackie Stevens & Mike McNamee, The Big Time with Whitney Allen

ON-AIR PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR - MAJOR MARKET

• Ben Campbell and Matt McAllister, KNIX-FM Phoenix

• Cadillac Jack, WQYK-FM Tampa, Fla.

• Chris Carr, Maverick and Kia, KEEY-FM Minneapolis

• Paul Schadt, Meg Butterly, Geof Knight, WKKT-FM Charlotte, N.C.

• Tanner in the Morning, WSOC-FM Charlotte, N.C.

ON-AIR PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR - LARGE MARKET

• AJ & Ashley In The Morning, WWKA-FM Orlando, Fla.

• Dave O'Brien, WLHK-FM Indianapolis

• Jim Denny, Deborah Honeycutt & Kevin Freeman, WFMS-FM Indianapolis

• Karen, Scott & Radar, WMIL-FM Milwaukee

• Randy Carroll and Jamie Martin, KAJA-FM San Antonio, Texas

ON-AIR PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR - MEDIUM MARKET

• Andy Ritchie, Alison Mencer, Jimmy Holt, WIVK-FM Knoxville, Tenn.

• Broadway, Cory, Jordan, WWYZ-FM Hartford, Conn.

• Buzz Jackson, KIIM-FM Tucson, Ariz.

• Scott Wynn, Sarah Kay, Sue Wilson, WQMX-FM Akron, Ohio

• The Dex and Mo Show, WUSY-FM Chattanooga, Tenn.

ON-AIR PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR - SMALL MARKET

• Bill Barrett, Tim Fox & Tracy Berry, KKNU-FM Eugene, Ore.

• Brent Lane and Candy Ruddy, WYCT-FM Pensacola, Fla.

• Brian Gary, Todd Harding, and Susan Moore - The Good Morning Guys, KUAD-FM Fort Collins, CO

• Scotty Cox & Cara Denis, KCLR-FM Columbia, Mo.

• Sherry St. John, WXFL-FM Florence, Ala.

RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR - MAJOR MARKET

• KMLE-FM Phoenix

• WKKT-FM Charlotte, N.C.

• WKLB-FM Boston

• WQYK-FM Tampa, Fla.

• WYCD-FM Detroit

RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR - LARGE MARKET

• KAJA-FM San Antonio, Texas

• WLHK-FM Indianapolis,

• WMIL-FM Milwaukee

• WUBE-FM Cincinnati, Ohio

• WQDR-FM Raleigh, N.C.

RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR - MEDIUM MARKET

• KUZZ-FM Bakersfield, Calif.

• WHKO-FM Dayton, Ohio

• WIVK-FM Knoxville, Tenn.

• WQMX-FM Akron, Ohio

• WUSY-FM Chattanooga, Tenn.

RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR - SMALL MARKET

• KKNU-FM Eugene, Ore.

• KTTS-FM Springfield, Mo.

• WGSQ-FM Cookeville, Tenn.

• WXFL-FM Florence, Ala.

• WYCT-FM Pensacola, Fla.


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