Official ACM Awards Predictions

On Sunday night, the 45th Academy of Country Music Awards will air live from Las Vegas on CBS at 8PM ET. For a record 12th year, Reba McEntire will host the ceremony from the MGM Grand Garden Arena and ATC will give you all the coverage you could ever want. We kicked off our ACMs coverage with our ACM Spotlight Series and now we’re making our official predictions as to who will walk away winners.
There are several big storylines that could unfold come Sunday night. Lady Antebellum leads the field with seven nominations, could they be the night’s big winner? Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, and Zac Brown all go in with six nominations. Can one of them steal a few from Lady A? And finally, for the first time in ACM history there are eight nominees in the Entertainer of the Year category. Can Carrie Underwood become the first woman to win back to back, or will Taylor Swift become the youngest winner of the coveted award? There’s plenty of hype surrounding this year’s awards and to make the picture a bit clearer, we’ll be making our final predictions.

Vocal Event of the Year
“Hillbilly Bone” – Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins
“Honky Tonk Stomp” – Brooks & Dunn featuring Billy Gibbons
“I Told You So” – Carrie Underwood featuring Randy Travis
“I’m Alive” – Kenny Chesney with Dave Matthews
“Seeing Stars” – Jack Ingram featuring Patty Griffin

Two of these songs can instantly be thrown out of the running and they are the Kenny Chesney/Dave Matthews and Jack Ingram/Patty Griffin tunes. After those three are removed, the race becomes more interesting because if the Academy wants to award the retiring Brooks & Dunn one last time, they could do it here. The ACMs could also choose the star power of “Hillbilly Bone” or they could take artistic merit into account and choose “I Told You So.” In the end, I think Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis will claim victory here.

Who Will Win: “I Told You So” – Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis
Who Should Win: “I Told You So” – Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis

Video of the Year
“Boots On” – Randy Houser
“Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum
“Welcome to the Future” – Brad Paisley
“White Liar” – Miranda Lambert
“You Belong With Me” – Taylor Swift

All five of these videos are fantastic and give life to the songs they represent. However, I think we can throw out the Randy Houser video even though it was a fairly cute video with the singing kid. This race could come down the Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift videos, but it’s hard to count out Paisley since he’s won this award four times.

Who Will Win: “You Belong With Me” – Taylor Swift
Who Should Win: “Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum

Song of the Year
“Cowboy Casanova” – Carrie Underwood (written by Mike Elizondo, Brett James, Carrie Underwood)
“Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum (written by Lady Antebellum, Josh Kear)
“People Are Crazy” – Billy Currington (written by Bobby Braddock, Troy Jones)
“White Liar” – Miranda Lambert (written by Natalie Hemby, Miranda Lambert)
“You Belong With Me” – Taylor Swift (written by Liz Rose, Taylor Swift)

This award is all about songwriting and this year’s lineup includes some of the year’s best songs. Though it was one of his best, Billy Currington’s “People Are Crazy” can be eliminated from the running since it’s failed to win any of the awards its been nominated for. It was a bit of a surprise, to me, to see Carrie Underwood’s hit nominated in this category but I don’t think it stands a chance at winning. It should come down to the Lady Antebellum and Miranda Lambert songs since they are the best in the category but don’t count out awards darling, Taylor Swift who could win based on how successful 2009 has been for her.

Who Will Win: “Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum (written by Lady Antebellum and Josh Kear)
Who Should Win: “Need You Now” – Lady Antebellm (written by Lady Antebellum and Josh Kear)

Single Record of the Year
“Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum
“People Are Crazy” – Billy Currington
“Red Light” – David Nail
“Toes” – Zac Brown Band
“White Liar” – Miranda Lambert

All of these songs hit number one with the exception of Nail’s “Red Light” which immediately dismisses any chance of a win for him, but great to see him nominated. He’s enjoyed plenty of nominations this year but Billy Currington will once again walk away empty handed. “Toes” and “White Liar” are two of the year’s biggest hits, but both weren’t as successful as “Need You Now.” The Lady Antebellum hit spent five weeks atop the country singles charts and has crossed over to the pop charts to become one of the biggest hits this year.

Who Will Win: “Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum
Who Should Win: “Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum

Album of the Year
American Saturday Night – Brad Paisley
Lady Antebellum – Lady Antebellum
Play On – Carrie Underwood
Revolution – Miranda Lambert
The Foundation – Zac Brown Band

Due to the ACMs unusual eligibility criteria, two albums that were released in 2008 are nominated, those being the Lady Antebellum and Zac Brown Band debut albums. Three of the five have been certified platinum with the other two being certified gold. I think this race is between the fantastic albums from Paisley and Lambert. Both have taken home this award before but I think ACM favorite, Miranda Lambert, will walk away with the win, making it four years in a row a female has won.

Who Will Win: Revolution  – Miranda Lambert
Who Should WinRevolution – Miranda Lambert

Top New Artist
Luke Bryan
Joey + Rory

It was a bit of a surprise to see Joey + Rory beat out Steel Magnolia for the third spot in this year’s Top New Artist race but I’m glad they’re getting a chance to win. With this award being fan voted, it’s easy to assume either Luke Bryan or Gloriana will be taking home this award. Since they’re on tour with Taylor Swift right now it’d be hard to beat Gloriana.

Who Will Win: Gloriana
Who Should Win: Luke Bryan

Top Vocal Duo
Brooks & Dunn
Joey + Rory
Montgomery Gentry
Steel Magnolia

For the first time in a looong time this category is filled with duos who have actually enjoyed some success in the past year. Immediately we can throw out Montgomery Gentry even though they’ve been nominated every year since 2001. We can also throw out Joey + Rory and Steel Magnolia since it’s a little to early in their careers for either of them to win. That leaves ACM favorite Brooks & Dunn and current superduo Sugarland. I would say it’s a lock for Sugarland to win but with Brooks & Dunn riding into the sunset this year, the ACMs could award them one last time.

Who Will Win: Sugarland
Who Should Win: Sugarland

Top Vocal Group of the Year
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Randy Rogers Band
Rascal Flatts
Zac Brown Band

This year is a three horse race between reigning Vocal Group of the Year Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum, and Zac Brown Band. Little Big Town and Randy Rogers Band, in my opinion, have no shot at winning this award but it’s good to see them nominated. With Lady Antebellum and Zac Brown Band having loads of success over the past year, it’s hard to see Rascal Flatts continuing their winning streak. Look to Lady Antebellum to win this award.

Who Will Win: Lady Antebellum
Who Should Win: Lady Antebellum

Top Female Vocalist
Miranda Lambert
Reba McEntire
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood
Lee Ann Womack

It’s great to see Reba and Lee Ann Womack nominated this year after both experienced career comebacks in 2009; however, I don’t think they’ll get enough votes to pull off the upset win here. That leaves the battle of the blondes as Lambert, Swift, and Underwood duke it out for a win. Carrie is looking for her fourth straight win here while Taylor and Miranda are still waiting for their first wins. If I were voting for this award, I’d be selecting Miranda Lambert to win for the first time. However, since she’s been the biggest thing in country music, I think Taylor Swift will win this award. Either way, Carrie’s reign will come to an end.

Who Will Win: Taylor Swift
Who Should Win: Miranda Lambert

Top Male Vocalist
Kenny Chesney
Brad Paisley
Darius Rucker
George Strait
Keith Urban

This year, Darius Rucker claimed the fifth spot in this category and even though he’s got momentum with a string of number ones it’s hard to see him winning. George Strait has had another solid year but it hasn’t been as big as some of the other nominees. That leaves Chesney, Paisley, and Urban to duke it out. Brad’s won the past three years straight and I think he’ll be the first to win four years in a row seeing as no one else has had enough success to push ahead of him.

Who Will Win: Brad Paisley
Who Should Win: Brad Paisley

Entertainer of the Year
Kenny Chesney
Toby Keith
Brad Paisley
George Strait
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood
Keith Urban
Zac Brown Band

Just like this year’s Oscar awards, the ACMs have expanded the nominees for Entertainer of the Year to eight nominees rather than the usual five. The move allowed for both Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood to be nominated which is a rarity to have two females nominated in the same year. It also allowed for unlikely nominees like Zac Brown Band and Toby Keith to join the list. Though there are eight nominees, it’s going to be a catfight between Swift and Underwood to win this fan voted award. She took home the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year trophy last year and it’s hard to think Taylor Swift won’t win this one too, becoming the youngest winner of the award.

Who Will Win: Taylor Swift
Who Should Win: Brad Paisley

There they are ATC’s predictions for this year’s ACM awards. Come back Sunday night after the awards show to see how we did and for a complete review of the show. Feel free to post your predictions in the comments section! I’m curious to see who you think will win.

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