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 the Great 8 Round, four stars emerged victorious: Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Thomas Rhett and Dolly Parton.
A few interesting factoids from the previous Great 8 Round before you vote in the Fab 4 Round.
- Carrie Underwood defeated Dierks Bentley by more than 1,000 votes.
- Blake Shelton mounted a huge comeback win over Keith Urban, who was winning by more than 400 votes on March 13. Blake’s margin of victory was less than 100 votes.
- Both Dolly Parton and Thomas Rhett dispatched of opponents Eric Church and Kelsea Ballerini, respectively, by more than 500 votes each.
- Sooners and Volunteers. The Fab 4 Round consists of two artists from Oklahoma (Carrie and Blake) and two artists from Tennessee (TR and Dolly).
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