ACM Awards 2020: New Duo/Group Trophy Will Not Be Awarded

For the first time in five years, the Academy of Country Music will not award the trophy for New Vocal…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

January 23, 2020


3:05 pm

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LANCO; Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for ACM

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.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.