Billboard has a year-end chart that's literally called the Top Country Artist chart, but choosing the winner of this 2017 Billboard Music Award is more complex.

Chris Stapleton topped the 2016 chart, with fellow nominees Blake Shelton (No. 2), Florida Georgia Line (No. 3), Keith Urban (No. 7) and Jason Aldean (No. 9) behind him. Remember however that these awards recognize productivity from March 2016 to March 2017 (approximately) and the "Tennessee Whiskey" singer had a B-I-G first three months of 2016 after success at the 2015 CMA Awards and 2016 Grammys.

He was "in between albums" to start this year, while stars like Urban, Shelton and Aldean were putting up No. 1 hits. The "A Guy With a Girl" singer also mixed a short tour in there, which plays a role in this category. The question is, did anyone close the gap to start 2017?

We say Florida Georgia Line did, and they will win Top Country Artist at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards on May 21. They have pop appeal the other frontrunners do not have, and since this is an analytics-based awards show, that will benefit them. Shelton too could win the award, but we're banking on the fact that FGL was invited to perform and Shelton was not as a hint.

The 2017 Billboard Music Awards air on ABC on Sunday May 21 at 8PM ET.

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