2013 CMA Awards: Predicting the Nominees



On Tuesday country music newcomers Florida Georgia Line and Sheryl Crow will announce the nominees for the 47th annual CMA Awards live on Good Morning America. Keeping with ATC tradition, and my love for all things awards shows, I will be attempting to predict which artists will land nominations this year.

This year has been a rather interesting one for country music. We’ve had a good mixture of new and veteran artists top the charts and experience major breakthroughs. Newbies like Florida Georgia Line, Kacey Musgraves, and Kip Moore have all experienced loads of success. Meanwhile veterans like Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, and Kenny Chesney still have what it takes to compete and dominate the country charts. So who will make the short list as nominees this year? Here are my predictions in each category.

Entertainer of the Year

  • Jason Aldean
  • Luke Bryan
  • Kenny Chesney
  • Blake Shelton
  • Taylor Swift

 I believe four of last year’s five nominees will all be back for another shot at the night’s biggest award. Reigning champ Blake Shelton as well as Aldean, Chesney, and Swift will lock up their spots in this year’s race. Luke Bryan who is arguably the year’s biggest sensation will no doubt replace Brad Paisley to land his first Entertainer nomination. In fact, Luke will be hard to beat!

Female Vocalist of the Year

  • Kelly Clarkson
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Taylor Swift

2013 was unfortunately not a good year for female artists to top the charts. Only two women managed to have number one singles and they are Carrie Underwood (“Blown Away” and “Two Black Cadillacs”) and Miranda Lambert (“Mama’s Broken Heart”). Look for the winner to be one of those women, though sales data points to Underwood as the clear frontrunner. That said, the remaining three spots will go to two familiar faces in Clarkson and Swift, and one first timer as the only woman to have a number one album this year, Kacey Musgraves, will see her first nomination.

Male Vocalist of the Year

  • Jason Aldean
  • Luke Bryan
  • Eric Church
  • Brad Paisley
  • Blake Shelton 

This category won’t see much change from last year. In fact, I believe the only change will be replacing Keith Urban with Brad Paisley who found himself atop the charts multiple times this year. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kip Moore landed a spot here after coming out of the gates with three straight number one hits while Eric Church hasn’t done much on the charts this year. But ultimately look for the frontrunner to be Luke Bryan who is building momentum with his just released album Crash My Party as well as his win for Entertainer of the Year at this year’s ACM awards. 

Vocal Group of the Year

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

This is the one category that will see zero changes this year as all of last year’s five nominees will fill the category once again. After returning to the top of the charts with “Downtown” and their new album hitting number one, Lady Antebellum could stop Little Big Town from a repeat win. However, off the heels of “Tornado,” LBT could see a repeat this year.

Vocal Duo of the Year

  • The Civil Wars
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Love and Theft
  • Sugarland
  • Thompson Square

Somehow Big & Rich snuck into last year’s crop of nominees, but I don’t see them doing the same in 2013. Look to the most successful duo of the year, Florida Georgia Line, to replace them. Not only will they land their first nomination, but after multiple number one hits and a 3 times platinum single in “Cruise,” FGL will walk away with their first Vocal Duo trophy. The other four spots will all be occupied by four of the five nominees from last year.

New Artist of the Year

  • Brett Eldredge
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Brantley Gilbert
  • Kip Moore
  • Kacey Musgraves

This year’s New Artist race is yet another tough one to predict. There are plenty of newcomers that should land nominations here but there are only five slots. The only nominee I’m thinking will return for their second allowed nomination is Brantley Gilbert. Four other artists will hear their names called for the first time. The only woman to debut atop the albums chart this year, Kacey Musgraves, is a shoo-in for a nomination. Brett Eldredge could sneak in based off the successful number one single “Don’t Ya.” Meanwhile Kip Moore is riding a huge wave of three consecutive number one singles. Lastly, there hasn’t been anyone bigger than Florida Georgia Line this year so this is their award to lose.

Album of the Year

  • Based on a True Story – Blake Shelton
  • For the Good Times – Florida Georgia Line
  • Night Train – Jason Aldean
  • Red – Taylor Swift
  • Same Trailer, Different Park – Kacey Musgraves

This year’s Album of the Year category doesn’t have a clear frontrunner. In fact, it’s difficult to pick out five standout albums. Based on quality and not sales data, the best album of 2013 is Kacey Musgraves’ “Same Trailer, Different Park” which should garner a nomination here. The year’s best selling album so far is Blake Shelton’s “Based on a True Story” which leads me to believe he’ll show up here. Jason Aldean has seen great success with “Night Train” and will no doubt be included. “For the Good Times” from Florida Georgia Line has spent lots of time atop the albums chart that voters will be hard pressed to ignore it. Those same voters will find it hard to ignore the fact that “Red” from Taylor Swift sold over a million copies in its first week.

Single of the Year

  • “Cruise” – Florida Georgia Line
  • “Highway Don’t Care” – Tim McGraw featuring Taylor Swift and Keith Urban
  • “Merry Go Round” – Kacey Musgraves
  • “The Only Way I Know” – Jason Aldean with Luke Bryan and Eric Church
  • “Wagon Wheel” – Darius Rucker

I am pretty much taking a stab in the dark with this category. The only two songs I believe are locks to be included here are “Cruise” from Florida Georgia Line (which happens to be the most successful single this year) and “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker (which was stuck in everyone’s head this entire year). The other three songs I’ve chosen merely because they had success on the charts and in sales, but none of them have a chance to win. Look to Florida Georgia Line to win this one as well.

“Country Music’s Biggest Night” is set to happen live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 6. For the sixth year in a row the night will be hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood. I don’t know about y’all but I am excited to see what stops they pull out this year!



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5 responses to “2013 CMA Awards: Predicting the Nominees

  1. Franny

    Carrie Underwood deserves a nomination for Entertainer of the YEar, and Song/Single/Video for Blown Away! How can you keep her off the EOTY nomination after her massive tour and 4 number 1 singles off Blown Away? All 4 of her songs hit number 1- and Taylor’s album is PURE POP, not country. It just amazes me that people continue to snub Carrie for the CMAS every single year, no matter how successful she is or how hard she works. I really hope you are wrong. No offense.

    • As a Carrie fan (which might be hard to believe), I have always rooted for her to be recognized by the industry. However, I don’t see her getting an Entertainer nomination this year. Her best year was a few years ago when she was dominating the charts all by herself. Now she has competition from Taylor (yes, she’s gone the pop route but she is still considered a country artist) and Miranda. There’s usually only one spot for a woman in the Entertainer field and I don’t see voters choosing her over Swift, unfortunately.

    • Derrick Walker

      I have to agree with you! I never understood why Carrie gets snubbed by CMA! She’s NOT nominated for Entertainer of the Year! Some of the nominations have been announced already in the main categories and she only got Female Vocalist so far! Some more nominations will be announced!!!!

  2. Bud

    Taylor has the number 1 album (not Blake) and a number 1 hit as well so I dont know where you got your info.

    • When I wrote this article I was looking at data from the year 2013 alone. With that it shows Blake’s album is the top seller in 2013 so far (at that point). Taylor’s album was released late in 2012 which is when the bulk of her sales were counted; therefore, her album isn’t the best selling (so far) in 2013. And I don’t count “Highway Don’t Care” as a number one song for her as a solo artist seeing as she was only accompanying Tim McGraw.

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