The first ACM Awards of 2021 have been decided. Winners of the New Male and New Female Artist of the Year award were announced on Thursday morning (April 8), with Gabby Barrett taking the trophy for top new female.

Barrett bests a group of nominees that includes Ingrid Andress, Tenille ArtsMickey Guyton and Caylee Hammack. Three of these five women (Andress, Barrett and Hammack) were nominated in the same ACM category last year, while Guyton was nominated in this category at the ACM Awards in 2016. Arts was the newcomer and relative underdog in the group, as she's the only artist not on a major record label (Reviver).

ACM Awards co-host Keith Urban surprised Barrett with the news on Thursday morning. See her stunned reaction in the video below:

The winner of the New Male Artist of the Year was also announced in a special presentation on Thursday morning. These awards come 10 days prior to the actual show on CBS. Keith Urban and Guyton are set to host on April 18, teaming up again six months after a memorable performance during the 2020 ACMs. Producers and executives say it was that performance that inspired this more involved pairing.

Maren Morris and Chris Stapleton are the most nominated artists at the Nashville based ceremony, with six each. Miranda Lambert has five nominations and Ashley McBryde and Thomas Rhett have four each. The 2021 ACM Awards promises as many performances as ever with 29 performers slated to perform 30 songs. Guyton is the only one of the five New Female nominees previously announced in a performance slot, but Urban told Barrett on Thursday that she will also perform on the broadcast.

2021 ACM Nomination Snubs and Surprises:

Carrie Underwood is a snub, while Kane Brown is a surprise. An argument could be made for an overhaul to Song or Single of the Year categories, while one country male must have woken up on Friday morning (Feb. 26) and thought, "Well, isn't that something?"

Here is a list of nine ACM snubs and surprises, based on fan response and Taste of Country staff opinion.

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