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Academy of Country Music alters categories

Friday, December 18, 2009 – The Academy of Country Music altered the rules for its annual awards by adding three nominees to the final slate for its Entertainer of the Year category, upping the total number of final nominees from five to eight, beginning with the 45th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, to be held in 2010 on an as-yet-unannounced date.

The ACM also announced it was combining the new artist categories, combining Top New Female Vocalist and Top New Male Vocalist into a single Top New Solo Vocalist category. The Top New Vocal Duo or Group category will become two separate categories, Top New Vocal Duo and Top New Vocal Group.

"The Academy has always been responsive to the industry and our board felt these changes reflect what is happening in country music," said Bob Romeo, Executive Director of the Academy of Country Music. "The proliferation of duos and groups over the past several years is impossible to deny. With these changes, we look forward to bringing even more super star artists and new talent to the forefront in 2010."

As in 2009, the Entertainer of the Year and all three newcomer categories - Top New Solo Vocalist, Top New Vocal Duo and Top New Vocal Group- will be open to fan voting, and the newcomer category winners will also once again compete for the Top New Artist award, given during the live Awards telecast. Details and timeline for fan voting will be announced at a later date.

The ballot timeline for professional members is:

1st Ballot Opens - Monday, Jan. 4, 2010 at 9 a.m. Central

1st Ballot Closes - Friday, Jan. 15, 2010 at 5 p.m. Central

2nd Ballot Opens - Monday, Feb. 1, at 9 a.m. Central

2nd Ballot Closes - Friday, Feb, 12, 2010 at 5 p.m. Central

3rd Ballot Opens - Monday, March 22, 2010 at 9 a.m. Central

3rd Ballot Closes - Friday, April 2, 2010 at 5 p.m. Central

Nominees for the Academy of Country Music Awards will be announced in February 2010 in Nashville, at a date to be announced.

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