In honor of college basketball’s craziest month, I created a bracket with 16 of the hottest acts in country music. I seeded them based on the strength of their current “season,” which ran from the ACM Awards in April 2016 to the Grammy Awards in February 2017.
After thousands of votes were cast in Round 1, eight stars emerged victorious: Dierks Bentley, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Kelsea Ballerini, Thomas Rhett, Eric Church and Dolly Parton.
Now they are pitted against each other in a winner-takes-all format.
A few interesting factoids before you vote in the Great 8 Round.
- 7 of the 8 winners in the Super 16 Round were underdogs, according to their seeds.
- Dolly Parton defeated Luke Bryan by 11 votes—so every vote counts.
- The biggest margin of victory was Kelsea Ballerini, who defeated Sturgill Simpson by more than 2,000 votes.
Garth Brooks courtesy CMA; Dierks Bentley courtesy The Greenroom PR; Carrie Underwood by Koury Angelo/Schmidt Relations; Miranda Lambert by Randee St. Nicholas/Sony Music Nashville; Keith Urban courtesy PFA Media; Little Big Town by Matthew Welch/Sandbox Entertainment; Blake Shelton by Brian Bowen Smith/NBC; Maren Morris by LeAnn Mueller/Sony Music; Sturgill Simpson by Reto Sterchi/Sacks & Co.; Kelsea Ballerini courtesy Black River Entertainment; Thomas Rhett by John Shearer/The Greenroom PR; Jason Aldean by James Minchin/The Greenroom PR; Eric Church by John Peets/EB Media; Chris Stapleton courtesy UMG Nashville; Luke Bryan courtesy Schmidt Relations; Dolly Parton by Quantrell Colbert/NBC