For most of February, the country music industry will vote for final nominees for the Academy of Country Music's 35th annual "Hat" Awards, to be presented May 3 at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles.
The ACM announced its first-round
slate of candidates Monday. Voting members will receive their ballots after the ACM mails them Feb. 7. Early contenders for
trophies are submitted by the Academy's awards selection committee and approved by its board of directors. First-round voting
ends Feb. 25.
ACM officials will name final nominees March 1 at the annual Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, immediately
prior to a concert performance by Alan Jackson. Final ballots will be mailed to voting members on March 17.
nominees for entertainer of the year include past winners Alabama, Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire and George Strait.
Also in the running are the Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill, Jackson, Tim McGraw, LeAnn Rimes, Sawyer Brown and Shania Twain.
is the only artist with two entries up for single record of the year: "Please Remember Me" and "Something Like That." Both
songs also are in the running for song of the year.
ACM voters are not bashful about quickly embracing new talent.
Among the seven nominees for top new female vocalist, three -- Shannon Brown, Rebecca Lynn Howard and Shana Petrone -- have
yet to release an album on a major label. Nominees in all categories are chosen based on factors such as recording and live
performance during the past year.
Winners of the 35th annual "Hat" Awards will be announced during a three-hour, prime-time
special on CBS TV, produced by dick clark productions.