Sam Hunt, Thomas Rhett and Cole Swindell are all in the running for New Artist of the Year at the upcoming ACM Awards, and Justin Moore knows exactly who he is pulling for to take home the coveted trophy.

“I’ll tell you who I want to win: Thomas Rhett. We are really, really good friends,” Moore tells CMT of his labelmate and former collaborator and touring partner. "I don’t really know the other guys. And I’m not saying they don’t deserve it. They do. But personally, I’m pulling for T.R.

"He’s in a different lane right now than most people, and he’s making that work," Moore continues. "More importantly, he’s just a really good person, and I have a lot of respect for him.”

Rhett certainly has proven himself to be a versatile artist, and worthy of the ACM Award. The singer, who admits that he is "obsessed" with Bruno Mars, says he hopes to push the boundaries with his upcoming new album.

“It’s going to be very different,” Rhett says. “There’s definitely going to be aspects of the second album that are going to correlate with the first album, but we’re going to push it farther, really production-wise and lyrically and melodically.”

Moore, who won the in the same category last year, says that taking home the award was an experience he will never forget.

“First and foremost, it feels great when they call your name,” he says. “It was an incredible night for me so many reasons. It was great for me to experience that and for my friends and family and fans, too. I don’t think it will have any bearing on the trajectory of my career, but for me personally, it was huge.”

The "This Kind of Town" singer, who went several years without being nominated, was in the middle of some controversy in 2014, when fans wondered why he was in the New Artist category after he had been achieving success for so many years. Moore, however, was just thrilled with the recognition.

“It’s really exciting for us to finally get this monkey off our back,” he said last year. “I feel like forever I was the coach who could win games, but not the big one.”

The 2015 ACM Awards will air live from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on April 19 at 8PM ET on CBS.

See a Childhood Photo of Thomas Rhett!

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