There will be a little less hardware to hand out at the 2020 ACM Awards in Las Vegas. A key new artist category has been dropped from the program due to a lack of eligible artists.

For the first time in five years, the New Vocal Duo or Group category will not be included at the ACM Awards. No artists met the eligibility requirements: eligible duos or groups must have charted a Top 40 single in the eligibility period (Jan. 1 - Dec. 31) and not been nominated twice in a three year period. They also can’t be former winners or have won Entertainer or the overall Duo or Group of the Year award previously, and they can’t have released a third studio album.

In 2019 High Valley, Lanco and Runaway June were nominated in a combined New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year category, with Lanco winning the award. Both of the two other nominees are ineligible for 2020, as they were nominated twice in a three year period. Previous winners of the award include Midland, Brothers Osborne and Old Dominion. At the ACM Awards in 2013 Florida Georgia Line won, meaning there were two years where no winner was named.

The separate awards were combined into one after Gloriana and Joey + Rory won at the 2010 ACM Awards; however, for most years the two categories were treated as one. Per the ACM Awards website, the award was first given out to honor nominees successful in 1989.

Much like five years ago, the missing category could be a multi-year trend at the ACMs. Few if any burgeoning groups and duos with eligibility remain or seem to be on the brink of scoring Top 40 success. Additional requirements that prohibit artists from another genre from being eligible in any "new" category (think Colbie Caillat in Gone West) make it more difficult. The Highwomen would seemingly be eligible if they'd had a Top 40 hit on either the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart or the Country Aircheck chart, but if Maren Morris ever wins Female Vocalist of the Year the whole group would be ineligible in the new duo/group category.

See the Best from the 2019 ACM Awards: 

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