Talkin’ About the CMA Awards: The Nominees

With the CMA awards only a few weeks away, All Things Country will disect each and every category to offer our analysis of the nominees as well as who we feel got snubbed. Along with that, we will be offering who we think are the frontrunners in each category. So keep reading to find out what we’re saying about this year’s CMA nominees.
Let’s get started!

Entertainer of the Year
Lady Antebellum
Miranda Lambert
Brad Paisley
Keith Urban
Zac Brown Band
In an interesting twist the CMA’s threw in three first time nominees in Lady A, Lambert, and Zac Brown Band as well as veterans Paisley and Urban. For the first time since 2001, Kenny Chesney is not in the running for the night’s biggest prize. So, that means the CMA could choose to award one of the three first time nominees, or award Brad Paisley his first win in this category after six nominations, or award Keith Urban a second Entertainer trophy. Awards night could come down to two artists in the big categories and those are Miranda Lambert and Lady Antebellum. I’m going to look to one of them to take home this prize.

Frontrunner: Miranda Lambert or Lady Antebellum
Dark Horse: Brad Paisley
Snubbed: Carrie Underwood is the reigning 2-time ACM Entertainer of the Year and she can’t secure a nomination for the CMA Entertainer category? This should’ve been Carrie’s year to land a nomination.

Female Vocalist of the Year
Miranda Lambert
Martina McBride

Reba McEntire

Taylor Swift

Carrie Underwood

Once again the same five women are nominated in this category as last year. However, this is by far Miranda Lambert’s award to lose. With a highly critically acclaimed album, two multi-nominated singles, and the ACM for Top Female Vocalist, Miranda Lambert should already be readying her acceptance speech because no one has had the success and recognition that she’s received this year.

Frontrunner: Miranda Lambert
Dark Horse: Carrie Underwood
Snubbed: No one; there aren’t any other female artists who made a big enough impact to be considered for this award

Male Vocalist of the Year
Dierks Bentley
Brad Paisley
Blake Shelton
George Strait
Keith Urban

This year’s nominees include two new nominees that weren’t included last year (Bentley and Shelton) as well as three returning nominees in Paisley, Strait, and Urban. After having one of the best years of his career, Blake Shelton secures his first nomination in this category while Dierks Bentley returns for a second time. Come awards night, look to Brad Paisley to win a fourth straight Male Vocalist trophy.

Frontrunner: Brad Paisley
Dark Horse: Blake Shelton
Snubbed: Jason Aldean has been a huge hit at radio and retail this year and had a run of 3 straight number one singles yet he was once again overlooked for a nomination in this category.

New Artist of the Year
Luke Bryan
Easton Corbin
Jerrod Niemann
Chris Young
Zac Brown Band

Once again this is a male dominated category that includes four artists who are receiving their first CMA nominations of their careers and a returning nominee who is almost guaranteed to walk away with the trophy. After having career breakthrough years, Bryan, Corbin, Niemann, and Young are all enjoying their first CMA nominations while the Zac Brown Band secured multiple nominations this year, including Entertainer of the Year.

Frontrunner: Zac Brown Band
Dark Horse: Easton Corbin
Snubbed: No other new artists have had the great year at radio and in retail than the five nominess in this category.

Vocal Group of the Year
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Rascal Flatts
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band

Once again the nominees in this category have all had decent success at radio and in sales. This year’s new nominee is The Band Perry who secure a nomination after having just two singles shipped to radio and without the release of a full-length studio album. The remaining four groups are all returning nominees and include the reigning Vocal Group, Lady Antebellum who are a sure lock to take home their second Vocal Group trophy.

Frontrunner: Lady Antebellum
Dark Horse: Zac Brown Band
Snubbed: Once again, no other groups have made enough of an impact to be included among these five nominees.

Vocal Duo of the Year
Brooks & Dunn
Joey + Rory
Montgomery Gentry
Steel Magnolia
Sugarland

Shocker! All five nominees are all active duos and have made an appearance on the charts in the past year. This year’s new nominees include Joey + Rory and Steel Magnolia as well as returning veterans Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry, and Sugarland. With Brooks & Dunn riding into the sunset of retirement, they are considered the frontrunners for this award. However, with Sugarland returning to the charts with their new single “Stuck Like Glue,” they’ve increased their chances at pulling off an upset.

Frontrunner: Brooks & Dunn
Dark Horse: Sugarland
Snubbed: None

Single of the Year
“A Little More Country Than That” – Easton Corbin
“Hillbilly Bone” – Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins
“Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum

“The House That Built Me” – Miranda Lambert

“White Liar” – Miranda Lambert
This year’s single nominees all spent some time at number one on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart with the Lady A and the Miranda Lambert singles spending several weeks in the top spot. Every year, the CMA seems to throw in a surprise nominee and this year that title belongs to “Hillbilly Bone.” It was also a surprise to see “A Little More Country Than That” receive a nomination in this category, but it was Easton Corbin’s fantastic single. It’ll come down to Miranda Lambert’s “The House that Built Me” and Lady Antebellum’s monster hit, “Need You Now.” Considering this award is based on success and sales, I’m considering “Need You Now” as the favorite.

Frontrunner: “Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum
Dark Horse: “The House That Built Me” – Miranda Lambert
Snubbed: “Temporary Home” by Carrie Underwood was one of the most emotional and poignant singles of the past year and should’ve been included among the nominees.

Album of the Year
Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
Play On – Carrie Underwood
Revolution – Miranda Lambert
Twang – George Strait
Up on the Ridge – Dierks Bentley

This year’s Album of the Year nominees include the best selling album of 2010, the most critically acclaimed album of 2010, and three of the year’s top sellers. Before the nominations were announced, it was painfully clear that this award would come down to Lady A’s massive seller and Miranda Lambert’s masterpiece for the title, leaving the Underwood, Strait, and Bentley albums behind. The CMA’s has a rocky past when it comes to choosing a winner in this category. They either choose the biggest seller or, sometimes, they choose the best quality album. The Lady A and Lambert records fit those descriptions so it’ll be interesting to see who’ll win. However, with 9 nominations this year, I think Miranda Lambert’s Revolution is the frontrunner.

Frontrunner: Revolution – Miranda Lambert
Dark Horse: Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
Snubbed: Doesn’t matter because no album besides the Lambert and Lady A albums has a chance at winning.

Song of the Year
“A Little More Country Than That” – Rory Lee Feek, Don Poythress, and Wynn Varble
“Need You Now” – Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Josh Kear
“The House That Built Me” – Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin
“Toes” – Zac Brown, Wyatt Durrette, John Driskell Hopkins, and Shawn Mullins
“White Liar” – Natalie Hemby and Miranda Lambert

Four of this year’s Single of the Year nominees are also included in the Song of the Year category as well as the inclusion of “Toes.” As with the Single category, this will come down to “Need You Now” and “The House That Built Me” which are the two best written songs in this category (assuming voters back “House” and not “White Liar”). This award is all about the songwriting and the current frontrunner is the brilliant masterpiece, “The House That Built Me.” Look to Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin to be making an acceptance speech come awards night.

Frontrunner: “The House That Built Me” – Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin
Dark Horse: “Need You Now” – Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Josh Kear

Snubbed: “Temporary Home” should’ve been included in this category as well.

Musical Event of the Year
“Bad Angel” – Dierks Bentley featuring Miranda Lambert and Jamey Johnson
“Can’t You See” – Zac Brown Band featuring Kid Rock
“Hillbilly Bone” – Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins
“I’m Alive” – Kenny Chesney with Dave Matthews
“Till the End” – Alan Jackson with Lee Ann Womack

In a category that’s filled with two singles that performed very well on the charts and three critical darlings, it’ll be interesting to see who can pull off the win. Earlier this year, it was Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins’ “Hillbilly Bone” that took home the ACM award for this category and they are the clear frontrunners to win the CMA as well. However, with Miranda Lambert receiving 9 nominations, the CMA could choose to award “Bad Angel.”

Frontrunner: Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins, “Hillbilly Bone”
Dark Horse: Dierks Bentley featuring Miranda Lambert and Jamey Johnson, “Bad Angel”
Snubbed: Were there any other collaborations in country music this year??

Music Video of the Year
“Hillbilly Bone” – Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins
“Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum
“The House That Built Me” – Miranda Lambert
“Water” – Brad Paisley
“White Liar” – Miranda Lambert

First of all, it’s a rarity for an artist to have two competing videos in this category like Miranda Lambert has this year. Lambert’s “White Liar” took home the ACM for Video of the Year earlier this year, but might not garner the same recognition from the CMA because they could go with the bittersweet “The House That Built Me.” Clearly, this award will come down between Miranda’s “House” and Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now.” In fact, the entire night could turn out to be a battle between Miranda Lambert and Lady Antebellum because they are nominated in each of the big categories including Entertainer of the Year.

Frontrunner: Miranda Lambert, “The House That Built Me”
Dark Horse: Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”
Snubbed: Carrie Underwood, “Temporary Home”

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Talkin’ About the CMA Awards: The Nominees

  1. I'm still sitting over here trying to figure out how 2 opening acts and another who isn't filling the arenas that Urban and Paisley do got nominated-confused at to what on earth the criteria is these days? I'm not necessarily a fan of Underwood, but in all fairness, she was a definite snub-she had the numbers. I am fans of all the acts nominated, so this isn't an attempt to bash anyone.

  2. Um…Justin Moore for New Artist was a huge snub. #1 "Small Town USA" and two huge hits after that as well ("Backwoods" and one that is still on the charts "How I Got To Be This Way"). It's a crowded category but definitely a head scratcher on that one.

  3. I don't think the Entertainer race should be all about touring. Entertainer is all about who represented country music the best in the previous year. To fomulate who has done so, the CMA takes in account sales, chart success, appearances, and touring which allows acts that haven't had a headlining tour to sneak in. This year has been all about Lady Antebellum and Miranda Lambert, both have represented country music fantastically with Lady A crossing over to the pop genre and bringing new fans to country. So, to me, it wasn't a surprise to see them nominated. Personally, I think Carrie had a better year than both Keith Urban and Zac Brown Band and should've been included instead of one of them. However, it's an extreme rarity to have two females be nominated in the same year (yes, it's a shame) so based on that fact, I support their decision to select Miranda over Carrie because Miranda's had a fantastic year and has represented country at the highest level.As far as the New Artist category, yes Justin Moore could've been included had one of the five nominees not had such good years. Easton Corbin was the first solo male artist to have his debut single go to number one since Dierks Bentley did it in 2003. Chris Young has a string of number one hits going, as well as Luke Bryan (who took home the ACM's Top New Artist award). Jerrod Niemann had his album debut at number one and saw his single, "Lover, Lover," hit number one. Zac Brown Band has four number ones under their belt as well as a slew of previous CMA and ACM nominations including Entertainer of the Year from both organizations. Justin would've been a lock for a nomination in any other year, but this year the five nominees had bigger breakthroughs.

  4. With all due respect, carrie's success this past year is more well rounded. It covers album sales, public appearances, no.1 singles as well as touring. Miranda has a massive hit and that's about it. The female vocalist award rightfully belongs to carrie underwood especially since the EOTY snub.But yeah miranda will likely be the one to walk away with it, once again proving that the CMAs aren't solely awarding artists based on merit, there's always this hidden agenda and politics at play.

  5. Carrie also had her Holiday Special last year (within eligibility) as well as performed at CNN Heroes Special, American Idol performances, performed the National Anthem. And as has been mentioned, she's had several number #1 singles, as well as a the numbers selling albums and tour sales. To say she hasn't represented country music superbly would be ridiculous.

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