The fan-voted award will be presented live during the diamond-anniversary ACM Awards show, airing from the sold-out AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Announced Wednesday (Feb. 18), Hunt, Rhett and Swindell were determined to be the top three nominees through the first round of voting on CMT.com. The original field included Dan + Shay, Brett Eldredge, Tyler Farr, Kip Moore and Chase Rice.
The final round of fan voting will begin April 8 on VoteACM.com and continue through the day of the show.
CMT will premiere a special ACM-themed episode of CMT Hot 20 Countdown featuring this year’s three nominees for new artist of the year, scheduled to air in conjunction with the second round of fan-voting.