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Blake Shelton Out as ACM Awards Host, Dierks Bentley In?

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Luke Bryan will return to host the 2016 ACM Awards, but Blake Shelton will not. A promo video for the 51st annual awards breaks the news of Shelton’s departure while teasing who Bryan’s on-stage buddy may be next April.

Clue No. 1: The white fluffy dog on the far side of the bar Bryan is leaning against during his “breakup” phone call. It looks an awful lot like Dierks Bentley’s famous friend Jake.

Clue No. 2: That voice. It sounds familiar. OK, it sounds exactly like Dierks Bentley.

Clue No. 3: The drink. “Tip that on back, I’m sure you’ll find your answer,” the bartender says. We don’t care what’s in the glass, but we do know “Tip It On Back” was a big hit for Bentley in 2012.

The video was released on Entertainment Tonight’s YouTube channel on Monday afternoon. It’s something of a shock to learn Shelton is stepping down as co-host after five years. He passes a torch passed to him by Reba McEntire. 2016 will be Bryan’s third year as host of the ACM Awards.

If it is indeed Bentley joining Bryan, it’d be his first major television hosting gig, and his first major television role aside from performances. The 40-year-old debuted with “What Was I Thinkin’” in 2003 and even though he enjoyed many radio hits during the first seven years of his career, songs from the “Home” album and especially the “Riser” album have brought him to a new level and bigger stages. He’s riding a string of three straight No. 1 hits, including “Drunk On a Plane” from 2014.

See 10 Sexy Luke Bryan Pics … Oh, Go Ahead!

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Next: Top 5 Moments of the 2015 ACM Awards

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