By Kurt Wolff

Last month, the Academy of Country Music announced the first round of nominees competing for the New Artist of the Year award at the 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, which take place this coming April.

This is a fan-voted category, and for the first round of voting is open now through Feb. 4. Fans can vote once per day in each of three categories: New Female Vocalist, New Male Vocalist, and New Vocal Duo or Group. Nominees include Thompson Square, Hunter Hayes, Jana Kramer, Lee Brice, Brantley Gilbert, Love and Theft, Florida Georgia Line, Kacey Musgraves, and Sunny Sweeney.

To encourage voting and hopefully to propel them to the winner’s circle, many of the nominated artists have been tweeting like crazy; others have also made videos asking fans to vote early and vote often (they can cast votes in each category once per day).

Hunter Hayes created a great series of James Bond-themed videos, such as “One Vote Is Not Enough,” “A View To a Vote,” and “Votefinger” (view the whole series on his YouTube channel):

For her video, Sunny Sweeney did an awesome parody of a certain infamous Justin Timberlake/SNL video, which she called “Click in the Box.”

Love and Theft posted this tweet of a fan’s rewrite of their lyrics:

Jana Kramer offered “virtual hugs”:

While her fiance Brantley Gilbert sent a message to fans standing alongside a horse he called Trigger:

Florida Georgia Line took a more straightforward approach (no horses, hugs, boxes, or private jets) and just spoke directly to their fans:

Vote for your favorite artists in each category once per day through Feb. 4. The winners of each of these three categories will be announced later in February, and they will then compete for the ACM New Artist of the Year award. Fan voting for that segment takes place starting March 25.

The 48th Academy of Country Music Awards, cohosted by Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan, will be broadcast live on Sunday, April 7 on CBS.

– Kurt Wolff,


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