ACM Spotlight Series: Top Female Vocalist

Due to the lack of diversity among the winners of the Top Vocal Duo and Top Vocal Group of the Year categories, we will skip those two categories and jump right into the top vocalist awards. Today’s Spotlight Series will focus on the Top Female Vocalist category. Many of the decade’s top female artists have walked away with the award and we’ll look back at the past ten winners and nominees, starting with this year’s crop of talented women.

2009
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Reba McEntire
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Lee Ann Womack
It’s nice to see veterans Reba and Lee Ann Womack included in this year’s nominees since they’ve experienced great years. However, it’ll be the battle of the blondes as the ACM could crown Miranda Lambert or Taylor Swift for the first time or choose Carrie Underwood for the fourth year in a row. Last fall, the CMA chose Taylor Swift so the ACM’s could follow even though Underwood and Lambert both have more nominations than Swift. It’ll be interesting to see the outcome come awards night.
2008
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Heidi Newfield
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Lee Ann Womack
It was a big surprise to see Heidi Newfield not only get a nomination in this category, but also be the night’s leading nominee. However, Carrie Underwood continued her dominance in 2008 thus deserving her third straight Top Female Vocalist of the Year award, something only Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire, Faith Hill, and Martina McBride have done.
2007
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Martina McBride
  • LeAnn Rimes
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood
For the second year in a row, Carrie Underwood secured the Top Female Vocalist of the Year beating out veterans McBride and Rimes and newcomers Swift and Lambert.
2006
  • Sara Evans
  • Faith Hill
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Martina McBride
  • Carrie Underwood
After losing in her first year nominated to Sara Evans the previous year, Carrie Underwood won her first ACM Top Female Vocalist of the Year award. Underwood also walked away with Video of the Year (for “Before He Cheats”) and Album of the Year (for Some Hearts).
2005
  • Sara Evans
  • Martina McBride
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Gretchen Wilson
  • Lee Ann Womack
After bursting onto the scene with her debut album, it was hard to not think Carrie Underwood would win this award in her first year nominated. However, in a bit of an upset, the Academy selected Sara Evans to win her first trophy in this category.
2004
  • Terri Clark
  • Sara Evans
  • Martina McBride
  • Gretchen Wilson
  • Lee Ann Womack
After having one of the biggest hits of the year, it was no surprise to see Gretchen Wilson pick up both Top Female Vocalist and Top New Female Vocalist in the same year, which have been her only ACM wins to date.

2003

  • Terri Clark
  • Sara Evans
  • Patty Loveless
  • Martina McBride
  • Shania Twain

For the third year in a row, Martina McBride was crowned Top Female Vocalist of the Year. She was the favorite going in and walked away with the win.

2002
  • Terri Clark
  • Faith Hill
  • Martina McBride
  • Shania Twain
  • Lee Ann Womack
It’s hard to call favorites like Faith Hill and Shania Twain category fillers, but there was no chance Martina McBride wouldn’t claim her second Top Female Vocalist trophy at the 2003 ceremony.
2001
  • Sara Evans
  • Faith Hill
  • Martina McBride
  • Lee Ann Womack
  • Trisha Yearwood
After four straight nominations and four straight losses, Martina McBride finally broke through to win her first ACM Top Female Vocalist award, beating out favorite Faith Hill to win. This win would be the first of her three straight victories, cementing her as one of the best female artists in country music history.
2000
  • Sara Evans
  • Faith Hill
  • Martina McBride
  • Jo Dee Messina
  • Lee Ann Womack
Earlier in the night, Lee Ann Womack claimed three wins with her smash hit “I Hope You Dance” and seemed like the favorite to win in this category for the first time. However, Womack couldn’t stop Faith Hill from winning her third consecutive Top Female Vocalist of the Year trophy.

1999

  • Faith Hill
  • Martina McBride
  • Jo Dee Messina
  • Shania Twain
  • Chely Wright
It was the battle of the superstars as Faith Hill and Shania Twain had to slug it out for the win. It was Faith Hill, though, that won this battle but that same night Shania Twain took home the Entertainer of the Year award.
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