Cole Swindell, Thomas Rhett Practicing Their Camera Faces for the ACM Awards
"I want it. I do," Swindell tells Taste of Country on location in Dallas, where he's preparing for the show. "I want to win it for me and my band, and the fans and all of you guys that have supported me. Country radio as well. I want to win it and have a chance to represent this format. That means a lot to me."
Still, he'd be happy for either Rhett or Sam Hunt if they happened to win. "There's three great nominees, and whoever wins it, honestly, it's gonna be great," Swindell says, adding that if he does not win, he's not sure what expression he ought to have on his face when the presenters call out someone else's name.
"What do you do when you really are disappointed that you didn't win, but you're happy for your friend?" he asks rhetorically. "We may have to practice something absolutely fake, like, 'Great!'"
Rhett agrees that if he does not claim the prize, he wants to make sure he's not caught on camera looking disappointed.
"You never wanna be that guy," he tells ToC. "I am honored to be in the category, and truthfully, if I don't win, it's fine. But obviously I would like to win. I'm a huge fan of Cole, huge fan of Sam. So it takes a little bit of the pressure off when you're buddies with those people. Hopefully when you see them at a party later and you've won, or they've won, it's not weird."
New Artist of the Year is one of two ACM Awards categories in which fans get to weigh in with their votes. This year's winner will be announced live during the broadcast on CBS on Sunday night (April 19).
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