The 55th Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM Awards) will have a first-time host when CBS broadcasts the event live on Sunday, April 5 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Reigning ACM entertainer of the year Keith Urban will take the reigns from the past two years' host, Reba McEntire.
"As if having a new song out today wasn't enough, I also get to host the ACM's in April," said Urban in a statement. "I'll tell you - this year already feels like the most creative and energized year of my life... and there's so much more to come. Incredibly grateful - and ready to roll!"
ACM officials sound equally excited about their new host.
"We are thrilled to have our reigning Entertainer of the Year as the centerpiece of our 55th ACM Awards ceremony," said Damon Whiteside, CEO of the Academy of Country Music, in a statement. "Keith epitomizes greatness in our industry and is beloved by fans and fellow artists, and I can't think of a better representative to be the face of our awards show and to help usher in a new era at the Academy."
"Keith Urban is the perfect choice to host the Academy of Country Music Awards," adds Jack Sussman, Executive Vice President, Specials, Music & Live Events, CBS. "He's an incredible musician, a respected and revered member of the country music community and the music community worldwide, and our viewers love him. We're thrilled to have him lead Country Music's Party of the Year."
To celebrate his awards show hosting gig, Urban unveiled a new song, "God Whispered Your Name." Chris August, James Slater, Micah Carter and Shy Carter co-wrote this prayer of thanks from a man whose wandering ways ended after he met the right woman.
Urban's big announcements came the same morning as the 55th ACM Awards nominations. Grammy winners Dan + Shay lead the pack, with six nominations for Dan Smyers and five for Shay Mooney. Their collective efforts earned Justin Beiber his first-ever ACM nomination for his involvement in the song "10,000 Hours."
Neither Urban nor usual suspect Garth Brooks got an Entertainer of the Year nod. Instead, it's a five-artist field of Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Thomas Rhett and Carrie Underwood. Of those five, only Bryan (the winner in 2012, 2014) and Underwood (2008, 2009) would be a repeat winner.