At the 2020 ACM Awards, no trophy in the New Duo or Group of the Year category will be awarded. Per the Academy of Country Music's requirements, there are no rising acts who are eligible for the honor this year.

Voting for the 2020 ACM Awards opened Tuesday (Jan. 21), with ACM members being asked during the first round of voting, which runs through Jan. 27, to nominate a single act in each of the awards show's 12 categories. However, a note next to the New Duo or Group of the Year category reads: "No Eligible Artists in this category and will not be awarded this year."

The ACM Awards' new artist awards are "[p]resented to an individual artist, group or duo who gains initial fame or significantly greater recognition during the promotion of a debut or sophomore album within the eligibility period," which, for the 2020 ACM Awards, is Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2019, the organization's eligibility guidelines explain. As soon as the act's lead single from their third album arrives, they are no longer eligible in the categories.

This eligibility requirement alone would leave a number of acts in the running for the ACM New Duo or Group of the Year trophy in 2020; however, acts also need to have earned a Top 40 single on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart or the Country Aircheck charts, which takes a group such as the Highwomen and a number of brand-new acts out of the running.

Additional ACM eligibility rules prohibit artists from being nominated for New Duo or Group of the Year more than twice in a three-year period; if they've "gained initial fame" within a different genre; or if they've won an Entertainer, Female Artist, Male Artist or Duo or Group of the Year award before. The former rule takes 2019 category nominees High Valley and Runaway June, as well as acts such as LoCash and Maddie & Tae, out of contention.

It won't be the first time the New Duo or Group of the Year honor isn't handed out at the ACM Awards: In both 2015 and 2014, the award was absent from the show, and prior to those two years, the category trophy was not given out in 2012, 2005 or 2004. The honor was first awarded, as Most Promising Vocal Group, in 1967, and began appearing as a regular part of the ACM Awards, as Top New Vocal Duet or Group, in 1990.

The ACM Awards include three new artist-focused categories: New Female Artist of the Year, New Male Artist of the Year and New Duo or Group of the Year. Both New Female Artist and New Male Artist will still be handed out in 2020.

The 2020 ACM Awards are set to take place in Las Vegas, Nev., on April 5, and air live on CBS beginning at 8PM ET. The ceremony will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The Boot will be staying up late covering the most buzzed-about winners, fashion and moments at the 2020 ACM Awards. Readers can watch along with us by checking back to TheBoot.com for the latest ACMs headlines, liking The Boot on Facebook and following The Boot on Twitter.

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