Miranda Lambert‘s last five studio albums all won album of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards, which is one of the most impressive winning streaks in a top-tier category at any awards show. Lambert will probably be back in the running in that category with her new album, Wildcard. But she faces fierce competition.
Nominations for the 55th annual ACM Awards will be announced the week of Feb. 24; the show will air live from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 5.
Here are the five most likely candidates for album of the year nominations, followed by some key alternates.
Lambert’s Wildcard. How extraordinary is Lambert’s five-album ACM winning streak? Stevie Wonder has long held the Grammy record for the longest streak of consecutive studio albums winning album of the year — but just three. Peak position for Wildcard on Billboard‘s Top Country Albums chart: No. 1. Lambert has amassed a record 34 ACM Awards since 2006, when she was named top new female vocalist.
Tanya Tucker‘s While I’m Livin’. Tucker’s first collection of new material since 2002 won best country album at the Grammy Awards on Jan. 26. Amazingly, Tucker’s only nomination in this category at the ACM Awards is as one of many artists on Common Thread: Songs of the Eagles (1993). Peak position: No. 8. ACM awards total: 3.
Maren Morris‘ Girl. This won album of the year at the CMA Awards on Nov. 13, but was inexplicably passed over for a Grammy nod for best country album. Morris’ previous album, Hero, rated an ACM album of the year nod (2016). She won for new female vocalist of the year that year. Peak position: No. 1. ACM awards total: 1.
Luke Combs‘ What You See Is What You Get. The album has headed Top Country Albums for nine weeks — longer than any of this year’s other contenders. Combs’ previous album, This One’s for You, topped that chart for 50 weeks, which tied Shania Twain’s Come on Over for the longest run at No. 1 in the chart’s 56-year history. This One’s for You wasn’t nominated for album of the year, but Combs won new male artist of the year last year. ACM awards total: 1.
Thomas Rhett‘s Center Point Road. This was nominated for album of the year at the CMAs and best country album at the Grammys. Rhett’s last two albums, Tangled Up and Life Changes, received ACM nominations in this category. Rhett has won male artist of the year in two of the last three years. Peak position: No. 1. ACM awards total: 5.
There are many other strong contenders if any of these presumed front-runners falls short. Among them:
Old Dominion‘s Old Dominion. The group was nominated in this category with its last album, Happy Endings (2017). Old Dominion has won group of the year the last two years running. Peak position: No. 1. ACM awards total: 3.
Jon Pardi’s Heartache Medication. Pardi’s last album, California Sunrise, was nominated in this category two years ago. Pardi won new male vocalist of the year (2016). Peak position: No. 2. ACM awards total: 1.
Florida Georgia Line‘s Can’t Say I Ain’t Country. The duo was nominated in this category with its last studio album, Dig Your Roots, and with Here’s to the Good Times (2013). Peak position: No. 1. ACM awards total: 11.
Jason Aldean‘s 9. Aldean was nominated in this category with two previous studio albums, My Kinda Party (2011) and Old Boots, New Dirt (2014), though not with his most recent album before this, Rearview Town. Aldean received the Dick Clark artist of the decade award at last year’s show. Peak position: No. 1. ACM awards total: 14.
Lady Antebellum‘s Ocean. The trio won in this category with 2010’s Need You Now, and was nominated with two other early albums, but its last three albums have been passed over. The trio is set to play at the ACM Beach Bash at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas the day before the ACM telecast. Peak position: No. 2. ACM awards total: 11.
The Highwomen‘s The Highwomen. The first album by this all-star female group, consisting of Morris, Brandi Carlile (who co-produced Tucker’s album), Natalie Hemby and Amanda Shires, was released on Sept. 6, a week after the cut-off for eligibility for this year’s Grammys. So the ACM has the opportunity to be the first major awards show to recognize the album. Peak position: No. 1. Combined ACM awards total of the four individual members: 2.
Brooks & Dunn‘s Reboot. The veteran duo received eight nominations in this category (counting Common Thread: Songs of the Eagles) from 1992 to 2006. They won the 1992 award for Brand New Man. Reboot is the duo’s first studio album since 2007. Peak position: No. 1. ACM awards total: 30 (second only to Lambert’s 34).
George Strait‘s Honky Tonk Time Machine. Strait received 12 nominations in this category from 1984 to 2008. He won three times, making him one of the top winners in the history of the category. (Lambert is on top with five wins. Strait is tied with Alabama and Alan Jackson with three wins each.) But Strait’s last four studio albums were passed over in this category. Peak position: No. 1. ACM awards total: 24.
Reba McEntire‘s Stronger Than the Truth. This was a surprise Grammy nominee for best country album. Here’s an even bigger surprise: McEntire has never received an ACM nod for album of the year—though she is one of the biggest female stars in country music history (and she hosted or co-hosted the show a record 16 times). Peak position: No. 4. ACM awards total: 16.
Vince Gill’s Okie. Gill received five nominations in this category (counting Common Thread: Songs of the Eagles) between 1990 and 2006, but his last three albums have been passed over. Peak position: No. 9. ACM awards total: 9.
Zac Brown Band‘s The Owl. The group was nominated twice in this category with The Foundation (2009) and You Get What You Give (2010), but its last three albums have been passed over. Peak position: No. 1. ACM awards total: 2.
Midland’s Let it Roll. Midland has yet to be nominated in this category, though the group won best new vocal duo or group of the year (2017). Peak position: No. 1. ACM awards total: 1.
Final-round voting to determine the nominations extends from March 3-9.