As has become tradition, the ACM Awards for New Female Artist of the Year and New Male Artist of the Year have been handed out ahead of this year's ceremony, with the 2020 honors going to Gabby Barrett and Jimmie Allen, respectively. Barrett and Allen were separately surprised with the honors by show co-host Keith Urban, who delivered the news via video call.
Barrett got her news while sitting at a table with a card in front of her that opened to reveal a video message from Urban. "Gabby, it's Keith Urban here with some might fine news," he said as Barrett exclaimed, "Oh no." "I need to let you know that Gabby Barett, you are the winner of the ACM Best New Female Artist of the Year. Congratulations Gabby, very very happy for you." "Oh my gosh!" the "I Hope" singer declared after letting out a scream. "Now I know why you told me to put on my makeup and get dressed," she told the person filming, kicking her legs and adding, "I'm wearing sweatpants!"
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"Ahhh ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? ACM New Female Artist of the Year!! This feels like a dream," the new mom shared in a statement. "God is so good, and I’m really blessed to be a part of this Country music community. A million thank you’s to my husband, my family, my fans, my team for all of your support and to the ACMs for this incredible honor."
Allen was in the studio when he was handed a tablet with his message from Urban. "I hope you're feeling good, you're about to feel a whole lot better," the Australian star told him. "Because Jimmie Allen, I'm here to let you know that you are the winner of the ACM Best New Male Artist of the Year." Allen immediately threw down the video card and declared, "Stop playing bro!" before getting up out of his chair and making the same exclamation again.
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In a post on his own Instagram, the "Best Shot" singer wrote that he wished his father, who died in September 2019, was there to experience the moment. "I wanna say Thank You [acmawards] and to everyone that took the time to vote for me," he continued before thanking his fans and his team. "It means so much to win this award. I’m thankful for every single person that has streamed/purchased my music, bought tickets to a show and purchased my merchandise. Thank you to my team for working so hard and working along side me to push boundaries and create music and opportunities that don’t just benefit me, but will help create avenues for other artists as well. This is special. I hardly ever celebrate but im gonna sit back and really take this in. Im thankful for the opportunities that I’ve been given to be in a position to win this award."
Thanks to their wins, both Allen and Barrett will now be performing at the upcoming ceremony, which airs Sunday, April 18 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.