For the first time in five years, the Academy of Country Music will not award the trophy for New Vocal Duo/Group at the ACM Awards.
The first round of ACM Awards ballots was distributed on Tuesday (Jan. 21) and a note next to the category indicated that there were “no eligible artists in this category” and that the trophy “will not be awarded this year.”
Typically, per the Academy’s criteria, the New Artist awards are “presented to an individual artist, group or duo who gains initial fame or significantly greater recognition during the promotion
of a debut or sophomore album within the eligibility period.” Eligible acts must also meet other criteria, including a “single that reached the Top 40 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs or the Country Aircheck (Mediabase) charts” and must be currently supporting either a debut or sophomore album. Artists can only be nominated twice in a three-year period and must not have “gained initial fame as a solo artist or as part of a duo or group in another genre.”
This year, however, no acts meet the requirements. This isn’t the first time the New Vocal Duo/Group category was missing from the ballot and it likely will not be the last.
Trophies for New Male Artist of the Year and New Female Artist of the Year will be awarded at the 55th Academy of Country Music Awards on April 5. The show will air live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas beginning at 8 pm ET (delayed PT) on CBS.