On Thursday (March 1), the Academy of Country Music revealed nominees for the 2018 ACM Awards. In a turn of events that won't surprise anyone who was watching this year's Grammy Awards ceremony, Chris Stapleton leads the pack with eight nominations; Thomas Rhett has six nods, and he's followed by Keith Urban and Shane McAnally, who each have five. However, the 2018 ACM Awards nominees list does include some surprises.

For example, while many country music fans likely expected Stapleton to be up for Song of the Year, they likely didn't expect the nomination to be for "Whiskey and You." While it's a great song, that track is from the country star's debut album, Traveller, which came out in 2015 and actually won the ACM for Album of the Year two years ago. Stapleton has released two albums since then, so it's a bit surprising to see that nomination go to a not-as-current song.

Album of the Year is set to be an interesting category in 2018, too, as there are a couple of dark horses in the running. Old Dominion and Jon Pardi are both pleasant surprises in that category's nominations list. Lanco, meanwhile, are an up-and-coming group running against long-standing acts such as Little Big Town and Lady Antebellum for Vocal Group of the Year. The band behind "Born to Love You" and "Greatest Love Story" is also featured in the nominations list for New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year.

Flip through the photo gallery below to learn more about these and other surprises from this year's 2018 ACM Awards nominations list.

The 2018 ACM Awards will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 15, and will air at 8PM EST on CBS. Reba McEntire will host the event.

The Boot will be staying up late covering the most buzzed-about winners, fashion and moments at the 2018 ACM Award Ceremony. Readers can watch along with us by checking back to TheBoot.com for the latest ACMs headlines, liking The Boot on Facebook and following The Boot on Twitter

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