Just three country artists are up for the Top Country Tour at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards. It's an award based on cold, hard facts and numbers and less clear interpretation.

Luke Bryan's Kill the Lights Tour, Kenny Chesney's Spread the Love Tour and the Dixie Chicks' DCX MMXVI World tour are in contention for the BBMA. All three sold about a million tickets and netted over $50 million. However, they did it with a varying number of shows.

Chesney enjoyed a touring blitz that included many stadiums in summer 2016. Bryan played stadiums as well and has stretched his Kill the Lights Tour into winter 2017. The Dixie Chicks also kept touring into the new year. Not measured is fan or critic reviews, the strength of opening acts or ingenuity on stage. The biggest pot of gold at the end will win the Billboard Award.

We think that's Luke Bryan in 2017. More shows over a longer period of time and less reliance on a legacy catalog make him the top tour of the last 12 months. The Kill the Lights Tour blended almost seamlessly into his Huntin', Fishin' and Lovin' Every Day Tour this spring, which will almost surely be chosen from the country tours of 2017. He is a force to be reckoned with on the road and always top of mind when one starts talking top tours.

This award likely won't make the May 21 ABC broadcast. Also, it's not clear why Garth Brooks wasn't nominated, as his tour was No. 1 between June 2015 and June 2016 and he didn't slow down.

See the 5 Hottest Country Tours of 2017

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