The Academy of Country Music unveiled Thursday winners for new female and new male artist of the year, respectively, with Barrett and Allen scoring trophies. Show organizers typically unveil new artist honors ahead of the primetime program. The awards show will air April 18 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS and are hosted by Mickey Guyton and Keith Urban.
Urban surprised winners in a video breaking the news. “Yay, I’m so happy, oh my gosh,” Barrett shared in her video. “I don’t even know what to say. I’m just very honored, so thank you very much. This made the whole year for me.”
After watching his video, Allen shared: “Stop playin’ bro. … That’s so crazy.”
It marks the first ACM Awards win for Barrett and Allen. ACM voters previously nominated Allen for the category in 2019; Barrett earned her first New Artist nomination in 2020.
Barrett, a 21-year-old “American Idol” alum, earns the honor following her blazing debut single “I Hope” and accompanying record “Goldmine.” Her latest single “The Good Ones” climbed to No. 4 this week on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart.
Allen — a 34-year-old from Delaware — launched his career in 2018 with “Best Shot,” the first debut single from a Black singer to reach No. 1 on country radio. Allen followed “Best Shot” with Platinum-selling No. 1 song “Make Me Want To” before launching collaborations with Brad Paisley, Noah Cyrus, late legend Charley Pride and more.
The ACM Awards return this month to Nashville, where artists perform from the Ryman Auditorium, Grand Ole Opry House and Bluebird Café. Country singers slated to appear include Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Maren Morris, Chris Stapleton, Kane Brown, Dan + Shay, Eric Church, Kelsea Ballerini, Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley and more.
With winning, Barrett and Allen join the list of more than two dozen artists performing at the ceremony.