Lipscomb alumnus Thomas Rhett wins Male Vocalist of the Year at ACM Awards, fellow alumna Kelsea Ballerini also performed

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Lipscomb University alumnus and rising country music star, Thomas Rhett, won Male Vocalist of the Year at the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards on April 2.

Rhett, along with fellow Lipscomb alumna Kelsea Ballerini, performed at the ceremony which was held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I don’t have a whole lot of words, except everyone in this category are my idols. Everyone in this category shaped the artist that I am,” Rhett said about fellow country stars Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Jason Aldean and Chris Stapleton in his acceptance speech.

“Thank you so much to the ACM, this is the most amazing award that I have ever received in my whole existence. Thank you to the Lord for putting me in this situation to be up here tonight, this is a very humbling experience.”

Rhett was also won Song of the Year for “Die a Happy Man,” which was a tribute love song for his wife Lauren. Through this honor, Rhett garnered two trophies, winning one as an artist and the other as a songwriter.

“Winning song of the year was very special because first and foremost, I’m a songwriter and I think that’s the coolest award I could’ve been given as a songwriter,” Rhett later said in a press conference. “And male vocalist, I still don’t know what to say fully. I am still processing that one because everyone in that category are people that I respect and look up to more than anybody else in the world.”

During the award show, Rhett joined Grammy-winning country artist Maren Morris, who received the ACM for New Female Artist of the Year, on stage to sing his latest single “Craving You.”

Rhett has won several ACM and Country Music Association awards after the release of his second album, Tangled Up, which features his hit-singles “Die A Happy Man,” “T-Shirt,” “Star of the Show,” “Vacation” and “American Spirit.” He is currently headlining a tour called the Home Team Tour 2017, and in March, revealed that “Craving You,” would be the lead single of his third studio album.   


Ballerini, who attended Lipscomb from 2011-2013 and won New Female Vocalist of the Year at last year’s ACM awards, was nominated for two ACM’s this year including Female Vocalist of the Year and Video of the Year for “Peter Pan.”

During the show, the Grammy-nominated star performed her fourth single “Yeah Boy” off her debut full-length album The First Time, which has hit No. 7 on Billboard Country Airplay. Ballerini’s first three singles: “Love Me Like You Mean It,” “Dibs,” and “Peter Pan” have all hit No. 1 early this year.

“I wear a lot of glitter, I have bass drops and programmed beats in my songs and performances, but ya know what, I write, sing and LOVE country music and am so happy and humbled to be a part of such a beautiful night honoring it,” said Ballerini, on her Instagram account.

Following Sunday’s ACM Awards, Ballerini also premiered her newest single “High School” during a pre-taped concert that was available at On Demand for Xfinity TV. The new song will be part of Ballerini’s sophomore album that will be released later this year.

A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, Ballerini received a nomination for Best New Artist at the 2017 Grammy Awards. She also headlined her own First Time tour as well as joined Rhett on his Home Team Tour this spring. Ballerini was also recently named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 music list as No. 2, won the Rising Star honor at Billboard’s Women in Music event in December 2015, and won Best New Country Artist at the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards.

For more information about the ACM Awards, visit:

- Photo credit: Academy of Country Music.