The show, held during the annual Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, was brought under fire, when Ell was the only female listed among 13 nominees. The singer's former boyfriend, and recent Dancing With the Stars Mirrorball Trophy winner, Bobby Bones, threatened to host a concert of only female artists at the same time, in response to the nominations.
"There are 13 acts up for 'new faces' and one woman," Bones wrote on Instagram. "Just 1. This is just in the voting. Not even the final list. Our industry is at times amazing. At other times (like this instance) full caveman mode. WFT."
Although the criteria for the New Faces Show, which states that nominees must have had at least one Top 25 single, likely made many of the rising female artists ineligible, Ell isn't at all discouraged by the male-dominated state of country music.
"When that ballot came out, I guess that's a representation of what's happening on country radio right now," Ell told PopCulture.com. "But I firmly believe that everything is cyclical, even the country music industry. I mean, you look at pop radio 10 years ago, and there weren't a lot of women on pop radio, and now there are tons of women all over pop radio. And so, I feel like country music is similar, actually. They are just sometimes a little bit behind cyclically. I feel like the women are coming back, and we just gotta fight and work a little bit harder."
Not unlike her fellow female artists, Ell has certainly worked hard to earn her place in country music.
"It's been so crazy," Ell said. "We're on track to play about 235 shows this year, which is just insane. I've been able to travel with my idols this year, including Brad Paisley and Sugarland and Keith Urban, and I'm on my first headlining club tour at the moment, which has just been so amazing. To see fans walk into venues, who have listened to my record, and who are singing along to my whole show, and we can play a whole set – it's just been an awesome way to finish off the year."
The New Faces Show is credited with helping to launch the careers of dozens of artists, including Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, Cole Swindell, Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire and more. The CRS New Faces of Country Music Show will be held on Friday, Feb. 15 at the Omni in downtown Nashville. The event is closed to the public.
Photo Credit: Getty images/Jason Kempin