Clockwise from top left: Chris Stapleton (Becky Fluke); Sam Hunt (Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP); Kacey Musgraves (Wade Payne/Invision/AP)

The Country Music Association Awards are going to look a little different this year.

A surprising number of new nominees ruled Wednesday when nominations were announced for the most prestigious award show in country music. Notably, Chris Stapleton (the critically-adored Kentucky native who is virtually nonexistent on country radio) scored three nominations for Male Vocalist; New Artist; and one for his acclaimed album, “Traveller.”

In addition, several new female singers — the demographic that has the most trouble breaking into the genre — also made a mark. Kelsea Ballerini took a slot in the Female Vocalist category, replacing her oft-nominated pal Taylor Swift. Kacey Musgraves, a voice rarely heard on the radio, saw an Album of the Year nomination for “Pageant Material,” along with Female Vocalist and Video of the Year nods. Meanwhile, breakout duo Maddie & Tae (20-year-old Maddie Marlow and 19-year-old Tae Dye) made a splash with three noms: New Artist, Vocal Duo and a Video of the Year spot for their debut, the bro-country-mocking hit “Girl in a Country Song.”


Tae Dye, left, and Maddie Marlow, of the musical group Maddie & Tae, perform at the CMT Music Awards. (Wade Payne/Invision/AP, File)

On Wednesday morning, Marlow and Dye basked in their nominations — and were slightly in shock for this much recognition only a year after they released their first song. Still, they’re pleased to be part of the conversation as the industry recognizes the lack of women on country radio and sales charts.

“Tae and I have always loved all the guys in country music, but for so many years there were only a couple women that were speaking to us girls and making music from a female perspective,” Marlow told The Washington Post. “To have that many women in the categories and nominations, it definitely shows that things are changing.”

[Why it’s a big deal that Kelsea Ballerini had the No. 1 song in country music this week]

Speaking of newcomers, we can’t forget Sam Hunt. Nashville’s biggest rising star and likely pop crossover sensation also earned three nominations, including Song of the Year and Single of the Year for “Take Your Time”; that’s the No. 1 hit he recently performed on stage with Swift, who called him “the coolest new thing that country music has going on.”

Of course, Nashville veterans were well-represented: Little Big Town and Eric Church lead all artists with five noms each; Kenny Chesney had four; Lambert, a documented award show favorite, also landed four. Sorry, you won’t see recently-divorced power couple Lambert and Blake Shelton battle it out for Entertainer of the Year — only Lambert was nominated, alongside Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, Chesney and Church. Although it will be intriguing to see if they can keep their Vocalist of the Year streaks alive: They’re both nominated, and have won in their respective categories for the last five years.

Carrie Underwood (a double nominee) and Brad Paisley will co-host the show on Wednesday, Nov. 4 on ABC. Here’s a complete list of nominees:

Entertainer of the Year
Garth Brooks
Luke Bryan
Kenny Chesney
Eric Church
Miranda Lambert

Male Vocalist of the Year
Dierks Bentley
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Blake Shelton
Chris Stapleton

Female Vocalist of the Year
Kelsea Ballerini
Miranda Lambert
Kacey Musgraves
Carrie Underwood
Lee Ann Womack

Album of the Year
Jason Aldean, “Old Boots, New Dirt”
Kacey Musgraves, “Pageant Material”
Little Big Town, “Pain Killer”
Kenny Chesney, “The Big Revival”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”

New Artist of the Year
Kelsea Ballerini
Sam Hunt
Maddie & Tae
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton

Single of the Year
“American Kids” Kenny Chesney
“Girl Crush” Little Big Town
“I Don’t Dance” Lee Brice
“Take Your Time” Sam Hunt
“Talladega” Eric Church

Song of the Year
“American Kids” Kenny Chesney
“Girl Crush” Little Big Town
“Like a Cowboy” Randy Houser
“Like a Wrecking Ball” Eric Church
“Take Your Time” Sam Hunt

Vocal Group of the Year
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Rascal Flatts
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band

Vocal Duo of the Year
Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae
Thompson Square

Musical Event of the Year
“Django and Jimmie” Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard
“Lonely Tonight” Blake Shelton featuring Ashley Monroe
“Raise ‘Em Up” Keith Urban featuring Eric Church
“Smokin’ and Drinkin'” Miranda Lambert featuring Little Big Town
“Wild Child” Kenny Chesney with Grace Potter

Music Video of the Year
“Biscuits,” Kacey Musgraves
“Girl Crush” Little Big Town
“Girl in a Country Song” Maddie & Tae
“Little Red Wagon” Miranda Lambert
“Something in the Water” Carrie Underwood

Read more:

— Are country music award shows obsessed with Miranda Lambert? Look at the numbers

— How Taylor Swift really, truly said goodbye to country music at the ACM Award

— ‘Girl in a Country Song’ hits No. 1 mocking bro country. The bros aren’t laughing.