Eric Church has become the top contender at the upcoming 51st annual Academy of Country Music Awards having been nominated in five categories. He faces competition with the likes of Chris Stapleton and Little Big Town, who both have four nominations each.

Keith Urban and Eric ChurchKeith Urban and Eric Church teamed up for 'Raise 'Em Up'

Church is quite the country veteran by now, and while the chart position for his latest album 'Mr. Misunderstood' didn't quite match that of his previous two albums, it's still up for Album of the Year, with the title track up for Video of the Year. He'll be vying for the Entertainer and Male Vocalist slots too, while his duet with Keith Urban 'Raise 'Em Up' has been named in the Vocal Events.

More: Eric Church was a big hit last year too

Likewise, solo newcomer Chris Stapleton is providing quite the contest for Male Vocalist and Album ('Traveller'), with his recognisable Vocal Event being 'Hangover Tonight' with Gary Allan. He's also among the New Male Vocalist possibles, alongside Thomas Rhett, Brett Eldredge and Chris Janson. Eldredge is also competing for Male Vocalist of the Year with Dierks Bentley and Jason Aldean. Fighting Church for Entertainer of the Year is Aldean, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert and Garth Brooks. 

Chris StapletonNewcomer Chris Stapleton is the main solo competition

Lambert is, predictably, among the favorites for Female Vocalist with Kacey Musgraves, Carrie Underwood and Kelsea Ballerini, the latter of which is also among the New Female Vocalists with Cam. Speaking of which, new arrival Cam has been recognised for 'Burning House' as Single and Video of the Year, while Musgraves 'Biscuits' Video is also up there.

But, alas, the ACM Awards is a man's world, and it will be the likes of Rhett, Chris Young and Sam Hunt vying for the already mentioned Album category, with 'Tangled Up', 'I'm Comin' Over' and 'Montevallo' respectively. Single Record-wise, we're looking at Rhett''s Die A Happy Man', Janson's 'Buy Me A Boat', Young's 'I'm Comin' Over' and Hunt's 'Take Your Time', while Dierks Bentley's 'Riser' makes the video category.

Miranda LambertMiranda Lambert joins the scarce list of female nominations

More Vocal Events of the Year see such acts as Bryan's 'Home Alone Tonight' featuring Karen Fairchild and Lambert's 'Smokin' And Drinkin'' featuring Little Big Town. 

Little Big Town are indeed the most promising looking band at this year's awards, with nominations for Vocal Group of the Year, Single ('Girl Crush') and Video.

The Academy of Country Music Awards will air on April 3rd 2016 via CBS.

Little Big TownLittle Big Town have the most nominations for a group