The Academy of Country Music and Great American Country (GAC) announced today that for the fourth consecutive year, the newcomer category for the 47th Annual Academy of Country Music AwardsNew Artist of the Year—will be opened up to interactive fan voting through and, beginning Monday, January 16, 2012.

The Academy of Country Music combined all newcomer categories into a single combined, overall category for New Artist of the Year. The New Artist of the Year award absorbs all newcomer categories including New Male Vocalist, New Female Vocalist, New Vocal Duo, New Vocal Group, New Solo Vocalist and New Vocal Duo or Group categories from past years, and the winner will be revealed on the LIVE telecast at the 47th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. The show is produced for television by dick clark productions and will be broadcast from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 8:00 PM live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network.

The top 8 artists from the first round of ACM professional voting are considered semi-finalists and will compete via the GAC fan vote at, combined with the ACM professional membership vote, to determine the final 3 nominees for the Award. The final 3 nominees will compete for the trophy, with a combined fan and professional membership vote to determine the winner.

NEW ARITST OF THE YEAR semi-finalists are:

Brantley Gilbert
Hunter Hayes
JT Hodges
David Nail
Jerrod Niemann
Justin Moore
Scotty McCreery
Thompson Square

First round fan voting for New Artist of the Year will begin at and on Monday, Jan. 16  at 9 a.m. ET, and will close on Monday, Jan. 30 at Noon ET.  The final three nominees will be announced in February and will move on to compete for ACM New Artist of the Year.  Final round voting for the New Artist category will begin at on Monday, March 19 and will close on April 1, with the winner being announced live during the 47th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards broadcast on CBS on Sunday, April 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

As part of this partnership, GAC will air several stand-alone specials, including a show featuring the top eight semi-finalists, as well as a show featuring the final nominees who will compete for New Artist.  The first GAC special “ACM Showcase” will feature all eight semi-finalists, and will premiere Monday, January 16 at 8 p.m. ET. This special will re-air through January 30, when voting closes.  The GAC “ACM New Artist of the Year” special will feature interviews and exclusive performances with the final three nominees.  That special premieres March 19 at 9 p.m. ET and airs through April 1.

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