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Biggest Country Music Surprises of 2016

2016 has been quite a year of change in country music, and it seems like it’s just been one surprise after another.

We’ve seen radio and marketplace trends shift in some truly unexpected ways that feel long overdue, and there have also been a couple of truly¬†jaw-dropping moments — one involving an iconic country singer, and the other featuring a stunning (and controversial) performance on a very special television broadcast.

One of country’s most beloved stars dropped a very unexpected announcement in 2016, while another artist who’s been quiet for a while came roaring back into the spotlight in a way nobody could have predicted. 2016 saw a towering figure in music pass away seemingly out of nowhere, while another star who was lost to the genre came back home to country music — but not in the way we might have anticipated.

One star’s birthday prompted one of the biggest surprises of 2016 in country music, and in another instance, disappointed fans banded together and fought back against a shocking decision they felt was unfair, and ultimately triumphed.

Click through the gallery above to see the biggest surprises in country music in 2016, and remember a year in which change has been the only thing we can count on.

See the Best Albums of 2016

The Most Unforgettable Moments of 2016

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NEXT: Top Songs of 2016

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