The Academy of Country Music Awards are here; Luke Combs leads the nominations

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Reba McEntire will be hosting the Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards on Thursday, promising a night filled with memorable performances, including a special tribute to Toby Keith. The event will take place at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, just north of Dallas. This will be McEntire’s 17th time hosting the show, setting a new record.

“I love the award show because it’s almost like a family reunion,” McEntire recently told The Associated Press.

This year’s nominees include a mix of veteran acts and new talent, with Jelly Roll standing out. This is Jelly Roll’s first time receiving ACM nominations, and he’s up for several awards: entertainer of the year, male artist of the year, single of the year (for “Need a Favor,” which won big at the CMT Music Awards last month), and music event of the year for “Save Me” featuring Lainey Wilson. The last time a musician was up for entertainer of the year in his first round of ACM nominations was Billy Ray Cyrus in 1992.

The ACM festivities kicked off earlier in the week with the new artist of the year awards, handed out at Tuesday’s ACM Country Kickoff fan festival at The Star. Megan Moroney won new female artist of the year, Nate Smith won new male artist of the year, and Tigirlily Gold took home the prize for new duo or group.

Here’s what you need to know before the main ACM event begins:

The 2024 ACM Awards will be streamed live on Prime Video and the Amazon Music channel on Twitch at 8 p.m. Eastern time. A red carpet feed will be available on Prime Video, the Amazon Music channel on Twitch, and Amazon Live starting at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Luke Combs leads the 2024 nominations with eight nods. For the fifth year in a row, he’s up for both male artist of the year and entertainer of the year. Among his eight nominations is a first-time nomination for Tracy Chapman. His cover of her song “Fast Car” is up for song of the year, a category that recognizes songwriters and publishers in addition to artists. Last year, Chapman’s 1988 song won song of the year at the Country Music Awards for Combs’ cover, making her the first Black songwriter to win in that category.

Morgan Wallen and Megan Moroney follow closely behind Combs with six nominations each. Cody Johnson, Chris Stapleton, and Lainey Wilson each have five nominations. Jordan Davis and Jelly Roll have four nominations each.

One of the highlights of the night will be Jason Aldean’s tribute to Toby Keith, who passed away in February. Aldean expressed his admiration for Keith, saying, “I’ve been a fan of his since the beginning and his songs are some of the first songs I played back in clubs early in my career, including the one I’ll be performing on the show. It means a lot to be able to honor him and properly celebrate his iconic career and legacy. He was one of a kind.”

In addition to Aldean, other performers at the ACM Awards will include Kane Brown, Jelly Roll, Miranda Lambert, Thomas Rhett, Post Malone, Parker McCollum, Reba McEntire, Lainey Wilson, and Chris Stapleton. Fans can also look forward to some interesting collaborations: Kelsea Ballerini will perform with Noah Kahan, Blake Shelton will duet with Gwen Stefani, and Nate Smith will team up with Avril Lavigne.

Reba McEntire, a legendary figure in country music, is hosting the ACM Awards for the 17th time, making her the most frequent host in the history of the awards. She describes the event as a family reunion, emphasizing the camaraderie and spirit of the country music community.

This year’s nominees showcase a range of talents, from well-known stars to newcomers making their mark. One of the standout new talents is Jelly Roll, who is nominated for multiple awards including entertainer of the year, male artist of the year, single of the year for his hit song “Need a Favor,” and music event of the year for his collaboration with Lainey Wilson on “Save Me.” Jelly Roll’s nominations mark a significant milestone as it’s rare for a newcomer to receive a nomination for entertainer of the year. The last time this happened was in 1992 with Billy Ray Cyrus.

The excitement for the ACM Awards started early in the week with the ACM Country Kickoff fan festival. At this event, Megan Moroney was named the new female artist of the year, Nate Smith won new male artist of the year, and Tigirlily Gold was awarded new duo or group of the year.

The main ACM Awards event will be available for live streaming on Prime Video and the Amazon Music channel on Twitch, starting at 8 p.m. Eastern. There will also be a red carpet feed available an hour earlier on these platforms.

Luke Combs is leading the nominations this year with eight nods, including his fifth consecutive nominations for male artist of the year and entertainer of the year. One of his nominations is particularly special because it includes Tracy Chapman, whose song “Fast Car” Combs covered. This cover has earned a nomination for song of the year, recognizing both Chapman’s original work and Combs’ rendition. Last year, Combs’ cover won song of the year at the Country Music Awards, making Chapman the first Black songwriter to win in that category.

Morgan Wallen and Megan Moroney each have six nominations, while Cody Johnson, Chris Stapleton, and Lainey Wilson have five nominations each. Jordan Davis and Jelly Roll follow with four nominations each.

A significant moment in the ACM Awards will be Jason Aldean’s tribute to Toby Keith. Keith passed away earlier this year, and Aldean will perform one of Keith’s songs in his honor. Aldean has expressed his deep respect for Keith, noting that Keith’s songs were among the first he played when he started his music career. Aldean feels honored to celebrate Keith’s legacy at the awards show.

In addition to Jason Aldean, the ACM Awards will feature performances by several other top country music artists, including Kane Brown, Jelly Roll, Miranda Lambert, Thomas Rhett, Post Malone, Parker McCollum, Reba McEntire, Lainey Wilson, and Chris Stapleton. There will also be some exciting collaborations: Kelsea Ballerini will perform with Noah Kahan, Blake Shelton will duet with Gwen Stefani, and Nate Smith will team up with Avril Lavigne.

The ACM Awards promise to be a night of fantastic music and heartfelt tributes, celebrating the best of country music and honoring the artists who have made significant contributions to the genre. With Reba McEntire hosting and a lineup of outstanding performers, the event is set to be a memorable night for country music fans.

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