Luke Bryan and Carrie Underwood Among Finalists for “Billboard” Milestone Award

Arista Nashville/AMA/Dick Clark/ABCLuke Bryan and Carrie Underwood are among the finalists for this year’s Billboard Milestone Award, which will be handed out at this year’s Billboard Music Awards May 18 in Las Vegas.

The Milestone Award is presented to an “innovative artist” who’s achieved a notable milestone this year on the charts.  Fans will determine who takes home the trophy, with voting open now at The six finalists will be cut down to three, who will be announced on April 21. Then, voting will continue through the first two hours of the Billboard Music Awards telecast on ABC, and the winner will be revealed during the last hour of the show.

There are six finalists in total: the other three are British pop star Ellie Goulding, pop/rock acts OneRepublic and Imagine Dragons and R&B star John Legend. Here are the chart milestones that each has achieved in the past year:

–Luke Bryan’s album Crash My Party scored the biggest sales week for a country album by a male artist since 2004.

–Carrie Underwood scored her 18th top 10 hit on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart.

–Imagine Dragons’ hit “Radioactive” set the record for the longest run ever on the Billboard Hot 100.

–OneRepublic scored their highest-charting album to date with Native, and “Counting Stars” was the group’s first-ever #1 on the Billboard Radio Songs chart.

–Nearly ten years into his career, John Legend’s “All of Me” became his biggest hit to date, reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

–Ellie Goulding scored two #1 dance hits with “I Need Your Love” and “Burn.”

Tune into the Billboard Music Awards May 18 on ABC, starting at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Rascal Flatts’ Joe Don Rooney Expecting Third Child in Late Summer

CMACongratulations to Rascal FlattsJoe Don Rooney and his wife, Tiffany Fallon, who are expecting their third child later this summer.

The couple, who already have a son named Jagger and a daughter named Raquel, tell People, ““We are so thrilled and feel so blessed to bring another little angel into our world.  Jagger and Rocky are very excited too. They’re going to make a great ‘big brother-big sister duo’ as the Rooney circus continues.”

Joe Don’s band mate Jay DeMarcus sent his well-wishes via social media. He tweeted, “Congrats to my brother @JoeDonRooney I’m proud to be an uncle again!!! @Tiffallon love you guys!!!”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Taylor Swift Makes Five-Hour Visit to Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island

Photo Credit: Sarah BarlowTaylor Swift made a surprise visit to Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, RI Monday. According to the hospital’s Facebook page, Taylor and her father visited with the patients for five hours.  And she even played a song for the kids.

According to Rhode Island TV station WPRI, Taylor’s visit is one of the longest celebrity visits in Hasbro Children’s Hospital’s history.

She also recently visited patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockBrett Eldredge hails from which Illinois town? ANSWER: Paris.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Dan + Shay Want Fans to Hit Repeat on Their Debut Album, “Where It All Began”

Warner Music NashvilleNew duo Dan + Shay release their debut album, Where It All Began, this week, a little more than a year after the duo, made up of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney, first started writing songs together.  The guys wrote every song on the album

Shay tells ABC News Radio, “We honestly feel like this album for us is just the perfect intro to us as a band to the world.”

Dan + Shay were greatly inspired by Rascal Flatts‘ 2006 album Me and My Gang, while making their debut project.

Speaking of that Flatts album, Dan says, “Front to back, I mean, every song’s awesome, and that’s what we want. We want people to turn it on and then by the end of the last song they’re ready to repeat the whole thing.”

Where It All Began features Dan + Shay’s debut hit, “19 You + Me,” which is now a hit at country radio. They’re up for Vocal Duo of the Year at the ACM Awards this Sunday night at 8 ET on CBS.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockLuke Bryan will appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Thursday and CBS’s The Talk on Friday to promote the 49th Annual ACM Awards, airing Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

Brett Eldredge performs his latest hit, “Beat of the Music,” Tuesday night on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Frankie Ballard will perform his #1 hit, “Helluva Life,” on NBC’s Today Wednesday during the 10 a.m. hour in all time zones.

Zac Brown Band added a second show at Boston’s Fenway Park for June 27 after their first concert date there, June 28, sold out within minutes of going on sale.

Kellie Pickler appears as a guest co-host on ABC’s The Chew Tuesday.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Carrie Underwood Says Goodbye to “How I Met Your Mother”

Arista NashvilleCarrie Underwood made her acting debut on How I Met Your Mother back in 2010, and she made sure to tune in for the show’s series finale Monday night on CBS.

She tweeted Monday afternoon, “I feel like 5 of my friends are moving away & I’ll never seen them. Been a great 9 seasons!”

Carrie will have the chance to make some new friends when the How I Met Your Mother spinoff, How I Met Your Dad, premieres later this year on CBS.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

New Artist Nominee Justin Moore Is All Smiles Going into This Sunday’s ACM Awards

Valory Music Co.Justin Moore has been going to the ACM Awards in Las Vegas for years now, but this time he’s headed out there as a first-time nominee in the New Artist of the Year category. Justin’s wife, Kate, is especially excited for this trip to Sin City.

Justin explains to ABC News Radio with a laugh, “I’m gonna go out there in a good mood now.  No, that’s what my wife keeps saying. She goes,  ‘Yes! You’re gonna be happy!’”

Justin relies on Kate to make sure he doesn’t get in too much trouble during his down time in Las Vegas.

“My wife generally goes with me, which is a lot of fun,” Justin says, “and I have a babysitter, obviously. So, she knows I don’t do nothing too stupid.”

This year, Justin and Kate are turning the ACM Awards trip into a vacation for their friends, too.

He says, “We’re gonna take two of our couple friends with us and kinda make it a little trip, so it’ll be a good time.

Justin is nominated for New Artist of the Year along with Kip Moore and Brett Eldredge. Voting is open at The 49th Annual ACM Awards air Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Jerrod Niemann Launches Free the Music USA Charity to Promote Music Education

Sea Gayle/AristaJerrod Niemann has established the Free the Music USA nonprofit charity to help get used musical instruments into the hands of children in need. The organization will also make various donations to other music-based charities throughout the year.

As part of his fundraising efforts, Jerrod recently became a stock contractor with Back Seat Buckers, the bull ownership program of the Professional Bull Riders organization. Jerrod’s bull, which he named “High Noon” after his just-released album, could earn $100,000 in competition this year. He’s donating any money made from this endeavor to Free the Music USA.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Josh Thompson’s New Album, “Turn It Up,” Designed to Get Concert Crowds on Their Feet

Show Dog/UniversalJosh Thompson has been performing songs from his new album, Turn It Up, as an opening act on Justin Moore‘s Off the Beaten Path tour all year long. In fact, the new project was made with his live show in mind.

“The live portion of what I do is so important, and it really makes sense to cut a record not only that’s great lyrically, vibe-y musically, but that translates live,” Josh tells ABC News Radio. “You want people to react and wanna have a good time and jump up and down and pump their fist. So, that’s what this record’s all about.”

Turn It Up is out Tuesday featuring Josh’s recent single, “Cold Beer with Your Name on It.” Go to to see where he’s playing next.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio