In more ways than one, women dominated country music in 2016. New female artists broke records and racked up awards while seasoned female veterans re-imagined their tour setups and released albums full of raw honesty and vulnerability. Women were the innovators and history-makers in 2016, and naming just one as the 2017 ACM Female Vocalist of the Year will be a tough task ... Who do you think it will be?

Some people thought Miranda Lambert's biggest accomplishment in 2016 would be recovering from her painful divorce from Blake Shelton. But she proved us all wrong within the first few bars of her stunning double-disc release, The Weight of These Wings. Of course the album was about her breakup, but it was also about a lot more than that. Striking a perfect balance between heartbreaking songwriting and Lambert's signature dry wit, the album instantly became the best country album of 2016 and made Lambert a strong contender for Female Vocalist of the Year.

Kelsea Ballerini turned 23 on Sept. 12 and made history that very same day: With her chart-topping single "Peter Pan," Ballerini became the first female artist in country music to hit No. 1 with her first three consecutive singles from a debut album. Ballerini celebrated by headlining her first tour and getting engaged, so, yeah, it's safe to say she had a pretty big year.

Another newcomer to make it big in 2016, Maren Morris is up for six awards at the 2017 ACM Awards, including both Female Vocalist of the Year and New Female Vocalist of the Year. Thanks to the success of Morris' debut disc, Hero, she has already seen the awards come rolling in: She was crowned Best New Artist at the 2016 CMA Awards and took home a Grammys trophy in February for Best Country Solo Performance. Do you think she'll add ACM Female Vocalist of the Year to her growing list of titles?


Kacey Musgraves celebrated Christmas all year long in 2016 with the recording and release of her festive album A Very Kacey Christmaswhich features Leon Bridges, the Quebe Sisters and Willie Nelson. Combine that with a special night onstage with Vince GillChris Stapleton and James Taylor and a New Year's Eve performance with John Prine and Jason Isbell, and Musgraves is poised to win big at the 2017 ACM Awards.

Reigning CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Carrie Underwood is up for the same honor at the 52nd annual ACMs. The nomination comes as little surprise: Her album Storyteller made Underwood the only artist in the 51-year history of Billboard‘s Top Country Albums chart to have all of her first six albums debut at No. 1 on the chart. Underwood followed up the album's release with a tour: The Storyteller Tour was her first series of concerts in the round.

Who should win Female Vocalist of the Year at the 2017 ACM Awards? Vote for your pick in the poll below as often as once an hour until 11:59PM ET on March 30. We’ll compile the results for our readers vs. staff predictions prior to this year’s ACMs.

The 2017 ACM Awards are set to take place in Las Vegas, Nev., on April 2, and air live on CBS beginning at 8PM ET. For the first time ever, the show will take place at T-Mobile Arena; Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley will return as co-hosts.

The Boot will be staying up late covering the most buzzed-about winners, fashion and moments at the 2017 ACM Awards. Readers can watch along with us by checking back to for the latest ACMs headlines, liking The Boot on Facebook and following The Boot on Twitter.

Country Artists React to the 2017 ACM Awards Nominations

How Well Do You Know the ACM Awards?

More From 98.1 Minnesota's New Country