2012 CMA Awards Nominations: Out with the Old, In with the New

For the better part of the past 12 years the list of CMA Awards nominees has changed very little from year to year. You have the usual suspects like Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, and Martina McBride who seem to land nominations every year in their respective vocalist fields. It’s very rare for any of them to be left out of a category in favor of younger, “hipper” artists who are starting to fill their shoes. The 2012 list of CMA nominees shockingly finds three of those four left out in favor of new superstars who are ready to be the new faces of awards season.

Just like I had predicted Eric Church is this year’s leading nominee with five nominations. His smash hit “Springsteen” was nominated in the Single, Song, and Music Video category while his album, Chief, was nominated for Album. He scored his first nomination in the Male Vocalist category as well, which saw a rather shocking shakeup this year. As usual, I’ll run down the list of nominees in each category and share any snubs and flubs.

Entertainer of the Year

  • Jason Aldean
  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley
  • Blake Shelton
  • Taylor Swift

Going back at my earlier predictions, this is the only category that I correctly predicted all five nominees. I believe the CMA got it right with these five artists who have been the genre’s brightest stars within the past year. Of course, I would love to see a little variety like maybe throwing in Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, or Carrie Underwood, but I don’t have any major complaints here.

Male Vocalist of the Year

  • Jason Aldean
  • Luke Bryan
  • Eric Church
  • Blake Shelton
  • Keith Urban

No category saw a bigger shakeup then this one. Two of the genres biggest superstars were replaced with two of the genre’s newest superstars as Brad Paisley and Kenny Chesney were replaced by first time nominees Luke Bryan and Eric Church. Just like last year, Keith Urban somehow managed to make his way onto the short list yet again even though he has been fairly quiet this year. The absence of Brad and Kenny will make for a highly competitive race for the win between Aldean, Bryan, Church, and Shelton. This one is too close to call but personally I’d love to see one of the Georgia boys, Jason or Luke, snag the win.

Female Vocalist of the Year

  • Kelly Clarkson
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Martina McBride
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood

Woah. Woah. Woah. Kelly Clarkson is a CMA Female Vocalist of the Year nominee?! Not to say she isn’t a great vocalist or artist, but is she really country? Yes, I know, she had a top 25 hit with the remix of “Mr. Know It All,” but it was just that…a remix of a pop song. If all you have to do to get nominated is score a top 30 hit, then why not choose Jana Kramer who actually considers herself country? This is no doubt the biggest surprise to come out of today’s announcement. However, it doesn’t matter since that fifth spot is simply a filler. Look to Miranda or Carrie to nab the win come Nov. 1.

New Artist of the Year

  • Lee Brice
  • Brantley Gilbert
  • Hunter Hayes
  • Love and Theft
  • Thompson Square

This category is one that I totally butchered. The only nominee I correctly predicted is frontrunner Thompson Square. I am a little surprised to see Hunter Hayes and Love and Theft sneak in over Kip Moore and the Eli Young Band who scored number one hits this year. I am also a little surprised that, though he isn’t necessarily new, Eric Church didn’t land his second allowed nomination this year. Like I said I think Thompson Square has this one locked up but they’ll have stiff competition from Lee Brice and Brantley Gilbert.

Vocal Group of the Year

  • Eli Young Band
  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town
  • The Band Perry
  • Zac Brown Band

Out with the old, in with the new is definitely the case here as 6 time winner, Rascal Flatts, is left out of the running in 2012. Thankfully, based on their now number one single “Pontoon,” Little Big Town remains in this category while Eli Young Band lands their first nomination. As usual Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry, and Zac Brown Band are all nominated for yet another year. Look to Lady A to win for the third year in a row.

Vocal Duo of the Year

  • Big & Rich
  • Love and Theft
  • Sugarland
  • The Civil Wars
  • Thompson Square

This category I correctly guessed four of the five nominees, but didn’t think Big & Rich would be any where near the top of the short list. After being nominated for 13 consecutive years, veteran duo Montgomery Gentry was left out once again showing the shift towards newer artists. Come awards night there could be another shift towards the new as Thompson Square can end Sugarland’s six year reign.

Album of the Year

  • Chief – Eric Church
  • Four The Record – Miranda Lambert
  • Home – Dierks Bentley
  • Own the Night – Lady Antebellum
  • Tailgates and Tanlines – Luke Bryan

Oh the Carrie Underwood fans are probably blowing up every comment thread on every article that has been written about the nominations. The singer’s fourth album, Blown Away, was overlooked in this category in favor of Dierks Bentley’s latest album, Home. Meanwhile the other four nominated albums were clear favorites to land nods so there weren’t any surprises there. Come November 1st, it’ll either be Lambert taking home her second Album trophy or leading nominee Eric Church finally gaining recognition for an album that was overlooked by the Grammys and ACMs.

Single of the Year

  • “Dirt Road Anthem” – Jason Aldean
  • “God Gave Me You” – Blake Shelton
  • “Home” – Dierks Bentley
  • “Pontoon” – Little Big Town
  • “Springsteen” – Eric Church

An interesting list of songs this year! I thought one of the Eli Young Band’s number one singles would land a nomination in this category but obviously voters disagreed. I am over the moon excited for Little Big Town to earn their first nomination in this category for what arguably is the best single of the summer, “Pontoon.” I believe this is the best chance the group has to take home a CMA Award. However, the favorite and frontrunner will no doubt be the Church hit, “Springsteen.” I will definitely be pulling for LBT to take the win though.

Song of the Year

  • “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” – Eli Young Band (written by Will Hoge and Eric Pasley)
  • “God Gave Me You” – Blake Shelton (written by Dave Barnes)
  • “Home” – Dierks Bentley (written by Dan Wilson, Bret Beavers, and Dierks Bentley)
  • “Over You” – Miranda Lambert (written by Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton)
  • “Springsteen” – Eric Church (written by Eric Church, Ryan Tyndell, and Jeff Hyde)

I was fairly successful in predicting this category as I predicted three of the five songs correctly. The Dierks Bently and Eric Church songs were two of the most well written songs this past year and were no-brainers to be included. Since the CMA has a love affair with Mr. and Mrs. Shelton, I knew the Miranda Lambert tune would slide in. I knew one of the Eli Young Band singles would make it in but I predicted “Crazy Girl” over “Even If It Breaks Your Heart.” The surprise here is that the Blake Shelton hit landed a nomination. The favorite for this one will once again be “Springsteen.”

Musical Event of the Year

  • “Dixie Highway” – Alan Jackson featuring Zac Brown
  • “Feel Like A Rock Star” – Kenny Chesney (duet with Tim McGraw)
  • “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” – Willie Nelson with Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson, and Jamey Johnson
  • “Safe & Sound” – Taylor Swift (featuring The Civil Wars)
  • “Stuck on You” – Lionel Richie (with Darius Rucker)

Ummm…Snoop Dogg can now call himself a CMA award nominee….seriously?! What is this world coming to?! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive the CMA for that. Another thing I won’t be able to forgive? Leaving “Remind Me” off the list! The song was a number one smash for Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood and was probably considered among many to be the frontrunner to win this year. Without the Paisley/Underwood smash included, it leaves the door open for the Chesney/McGraw hit or the Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars tune to take home the award.

Music Video of the Year

  • “Come Over” – Kenny Chesney
  • “Over You” – Miranda Lambert
  • “Pontoon” – Little Big Town
  • “Red Solo Cup” – Toby Keith
  • “Springsteen” – Eric Church

Pontoon, Pontoon, Pontoon!!!!!! For the first time in their career, Little Big Town received nominations outside the Vocal Group, Horizon, and Musical Event categories and I am praying they take home at least one award this year. “Pontoon” is without a doubt one of the best singles of the year and the accompanying video has an excellent shot at winning this category. A recent video showing artists like Carrie Underwood, Thompson Square, Luke Bryan, Wynonna, and more singing the tune should generate enough momentum for the song during final round voting. If they group doesn’t win then look to Miranda or Eric to take this one home as well.

The 2012 CMA Awards will be handed out in Nashville on November 1 and will be hosted, for the fifth time, by nominees Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.



Filed under Awards Shows, Country News

4 responses to “2012 CMA Awards Nominations: Out with the Old, In with the New

  1. Eric

    The Snoop Dogg nomination can be easily forgiven if you take a look at who is with him in that event. You can’t get more country than Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, or Jamey Johnson.

  2. rowdyred

    No Chris Young in the male vocalist category…very disappointing.

  3. Chris

    Carrie’s Blown Away was certified platinum today and back at #1 country and #2 all genre on iTunes.

  4. CMC

    I thought Lady A deserved a spot in Entertainer of the Year, they had a hugely successful tour playing to over a million fans, platinum selling album, double platinum selling single in Just A Kiss. We Own The Night and Dancing Away With My Heart both certified gold selling singles. And the album so far produced 2 #1’s and a #2 single.

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