Eric Church and Chris Stapleton are heading into the ACM awards as the top nominated artists of the night. CMT spread the news that Church and Stapleton both received five nominations for the upcoming "51st Annual Academy of Country Music Awards" which will be taking place live from Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 3, 2016. The show will be hosted by Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley who will be stepping in as the show's co-host for the first time in place of Blake Shelton. Bentley got started on his ACM duties by announcing the first round of nominees.
Church scored his five nominations by landing in the Entertainer of the Year category facing off against Bryan, Garth Brooks, Jason Aldean and Miranda Lambert. Church will be going for the win in the Male Vocalist of the Year category against Stapleton, Bentley, Aldean and Brett Eldredge. Stapleton earned a nomination in the New Male Vocalist of the Year category where he faces Thomas Rhett, Chris Janson, Chase Rice and Eldredge.
Church received a nomination with his latest album Mr. Misunderstood for Album of the Year going up against Stapleton for Traveller, Sam Hunt's Montevallo, Rhett with Tangled Up and I'm Comin' Over from Chris Young. Stapleton could score a double trophy win for being named the winner in the Album of the Year category as both the artist and producer of the album.
The Video of the Year win could also go to Church for "Mr. Misunderstood" where he will be competing against Kacey Musgraves for "Biscuits," "Burning House" from Cam, Little Big Town with "Girl Crush" and Bentley's hit "Riser." Church and Keith Urban earned a nomination for teaming up on "Raise 'Em Up" in the Vocal Event of the Year category where Stapleton is also in the running for his work with Gary Allan on "Hangover Tonight" with "Home Alone Tonight" from Luke Bryan and Karen Fairchild, "Smokin' and Drinkin'" from Lambert and Little Big Town and Kenny Chesney with Grace Potter on "Wild Child" also in the running.
See a full list of ACM nominees here.