CMA Nominations-Missing Persons Report

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September 11, 2008

With great perception, the Country Music Association made a fair number of strong choices for the 42nd annual awards on November 12. But what award show would be complete without complaints about who was, and was not, nominated?

Although my views on the ballot are more negative than in past years, I noted the bright spot of Miranda Lambert’s Single of the Year nods last night, and congratulate artists like Sugarland, Josh Turner and Trace Adkins who combined critical acclaim with sales success in just the right blend to snag nominations.

But I’m deeply hurt by a number of exclusions. Gary Allan and Dierks Bentley would’ve fit perfectly in the Male Vocalist category. Leann Rimes’ video “Nothin’ Better to Do” was an intelligent, unique piece that warranted at least a nomination.  “Good Time” instead of “Small Town Southern Man?”  And by gosh, Carrie Underwood was placed in the wrong category-Album instead of Entertainer.

But the one that keeps me awake at night is the absence of Trisha Yearwood from the Female Vocalist of the Year race. In a frigid radio environment, she still managed three Top 25 singles, including the Vocal Event-nominated “Another Try.” Her album was heralded as one of the best in the genre by multiple country music experts. And she maintained exposure by releasing a cookbook, touring occasionally (even with Garth) and acting as one of the most eloquent ambassadors ever in country music. Oh, and she co-hosted The View. Although the lack of a nomination will not truly influence her Hall of Fame-ready career, it would’ve been richly deserving and recognition for another fine year.

So folks, who was robbed?

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  1. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    You’re cracking me up! I love the hyperbole in this post!

    Okay, so what’s kept me up at night, is also the omission of Trisha Yearwood. She was much more active than Martina and should have gotten recognition. I also agree about Dierks. He has one of the most interesting voices of the male artists today. Then there’s LeAnn. She should have been recognized for video or female vocalist–both, really.

    I’ll think of more.

  2. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Essentially, I just said what Blake said.

  3. Lynn DouglasNo Gravatar says:

    In any discussion of who was erroneously left out, it’s important to remember that the eligibility period for the CMAs spans from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008. Everything must have been first released during the eligibility period.

  4. Matt BNo Gravatar says:

    Lynn,

    That’s why “Nothin’ Better To Do” probably wasn’t included. But that doesn’t explain why Trisha Yearwood wasn’t nominated. It’s sad that she isn’t. Leeann, one question, though: what’s up with spelling LeAnn’s name Leanne? ;)

  5. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    To make you happy, Matt, I’ve changed it. I’m bad at spelling proper nouns.

  6. J.R. JourneyNo Gravatar says:

    MIA for a CMA nod? Sugarland in the Album category for ‘Love On The Inside’ – was it eligible? If so, it deserved the nod and the win IMO.

    Reba AND Trisha Yearwood in the Female Vocalists list …

    That’s all …

  7. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t think Sugarland’s album was eligible. It was released after July 1, 2008.

  8. Blake BoldtNo Gravatar says:

    Love on the Inside, the deluxe edition, arrived July 22, so it was three weeks late.

    Leeann, it’s perfectly OK to agree with me.

    The song “Nothin’ Better to Do” was released before the eligibility period, but songs are still considered if they have reached their chart peak (it reached #14 in December) during the period. I believe the video wasn’t available until July or August.

    My female slate would’ve been Carrie, Miranda, Alison, Leann and Trisha, but Taylor was just too successful to ignore. Plus, Martina has a larger corporate backing than indie-label Trisha.

  9. J.R. JourneyNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for the heads-up guys. I was too lazy to research the eligibility period.

  10. JonathanNo Gravatar says:

    In light of the tone of the previous thread, I suppose it’s also possible to take a positive outlook on the M.I.A. nominees: Many were predicting multiple nominations for the likes of Taylor Swift (in Single and Song of the Year) and Rascal Flatts (Entertainer, Album of the Year). I can’t say that I’m disappointed in the least that those didn’t materialize.

    But I think Blake covered the biggest snub this year: Trisha Yearwood absolutely deserved a place in the Female Vocalist and Album of the Year line-ups.

    I’m guessing that a smaller label like Big Machine simply didn’t have the clout to pull off major nominations for more than one of its acts. And if the “FYC” banner ads that were running on the Billboard and Radio and Records websites over the past two months are any indication, it’s clear that they put their money behind Swift… and it didn’t pay off. When it comes time for consideration for this year’s Grammy awards, I certainly hope that the PR folks at Big Machine make better choices.

    Dierks Bentley, Gary Allan, LeAnn Rimes, and Ashton Shepherd all would’ve made my own ballot this year, but I considered all of them longer-shots to make it in for real. On the other hand, while I’m not shocked that Yearwood was almost completely shut-out, it’s a decision that seems hard to justify.

    Though I didn’t care for the project at all, I will say that I was surprised by the lack of nominations for Reba McEntire and her Duets album, considering that she made the Female Vocalist line-up last year when her only eligible material was the first six weeks of “Because of You”‘s run.

  11. Blake BoldtNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for the positivity, Jonathan. Please know that it was difficult for me.

    I would’ve loved for HHPOL to be in the Album race, but it simply didn’t do well enough commercially, although it was much more gratifying than the five nominees.

    I think you note a fact that’s been lost in all this conversation. The label politics involved almost assuredly kept Yearwood off the ballet, and I wholeheartedly agree that they backed Swift. I believe that Yearwood will be nommed for the Grammys and Swift will be shut out. Different voting crowd.

    All four of those artists had fine years. Bentley & Allan are victims of the wealth of male artists (and the association’s fear of change), Rimes is on Curb and I don’t see her being nommed until she’s with another label and Shepherd is a head-scratching omission.

    I’m sure the voters felt Reba was rewarded last year for Duets, regardless of eligibility periods. I wasn’t as surprised.

  12. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I was surprised about Reba, since Martina got a nomination. At least Reba had “Every Other Weekend.”

    Yeah, the politics is frustrating. I wish it could be changed.

  13. Jim O says:

    Whilst James Otto is a fine artist, he is not a “new” artist as far as I am concerned having released a moderately successful album back in 2004.

    I would have Ashton Shepherd in his place.

  14. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    The fact that Shepherd isn’t there makes me sad. I’m glad to see James there though. While I’m not fond of any of the other artists in the category, I probably can’t deny their right to the spots.

  15. I agree with the Yearwood and Rimes comments. Gary Allan, Dierks Bentley and Josh Turner were worthy of acknowledgment too. Overall, a boring list. When are the Grammys again?

  16. Lynn DouglasNo Gravatar says:

    I would have loved to see Ashton on there (talent-wise), but I’m not particularly surprised she’s not. She had a lot of buzz, but it kind of died a slow death after her album was released. I’ve heard very little about her since then. She’s touring with Sugarland right now, so maybe that will pick up. I can see her sharing fans with Jennifer Nettles (similar voices).

  17. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I would’ve liked to see Ashton Shepherd in the Horizon category but she just isn’t very popular. And of course Trisha for Female Vocalist would’ve been right.

  18. Matt BNo Gravatar says:

    Jim O,

    I hate to say it but James Otto’s album for Mercury Records was deemed a colossal failure. It was only a success in that it had one Top 40 single and was released.

  19. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I have to agree with Matt here on Otto.

  20. vpNo Gravatar says:

    maybe in thier eyes a comeback means new cause it seems thier whole nominating regiment is out of wack in all categories.

  21. MichaelNo Gravatar says:

    Reba should have been nominated in the Female Category, like I posted in another blog. I mean she sold over a million copies of her album. Female artist related only Reba, Carrie and Taylor accomplished the million seller mark. So where is Reba’s nomination, politics suck when it comes to the CMA committee. The fans still and always will love Reba- A Country Icon! We love you Reba, keep going strong, maybe next year that will give you the credit you so deserve!

  22. Erik NorthNo Gravatar says:

    If anyone got robbed by the CMAs, it would be Trisha Yearwood. Just because she is not as hyped up as a lot of others doesn’t mean she is any good. She keeps trying to make quality albums year after year.

    And to be honest, I think this is a trend of the CMAs (and almost every other country music-related awards show) ignoring Trisha that goes back now eight years that is frustrating at best, and a scandal at worst.

  23. CarrieRocksNo Gravatar says:

    I love you Country Universe. lol You have a great perspective on how things really are… and I agree with everything you said.

    I think Carrie Underwood deserved album of the year– but she also deserved a nomination for Entertainer…She had a great year and sold out almost all her headlining shows- pluse she co-headlined with keith. A woman deserves to be nominated at least — even if they don’t win this year.

    Before fans of other artists shoot me down– let me clarify. I don’t expect Carrie to win this award for several years- if ever. But I do think she deserved a nomination.. she earned that.

    Trisha Yearwood was robbed, and so was Leanne Rimes. Both deserved nominations for female vocalist this year- over Martina and Taylor Swift. Taylor had the sales and hype- but not the vocal skills. She is no vocalist– and never will be. Trisha and LEanne put out great singles and albums- and while they did not have a strong of a year as Carrie did- they merited a nomination, anyway. Carrie deserves to win Female vocalist this year for sure- but I am also a trisha and leanne fan. Love martina- but this was not her year.

    Why is George strait in there yet again? Do they just check off his name automatically for every award, every year, and never consider that this might not have been his year? Don’t get me wrong- He ia amazing- the King- but sometimes you have to broaden your horizons and vote for someone new for once– who maybe had a stronger year over all, like Carrie.

    Poor Rascal Flats– they deserved an Entertainer nomination over George and Sugarland for sure.

    Sugarland is good- but I am so sick of Stay I want to throw up. Enough already. Move on to a different song!

    thank you.

  24. CarrieRocksNo Gravatar says:

    PS— Note to Trisha Yearwood– leave Big Machine Records immediately– and Do not Pass Go, Do not Collect 100$. The day that a record label backs an 18 year old teenybopper who is not even “country”, much less a vocalist– over someone as INCREDIBLE as Trisha Yearwood, is the day hell has froze over. And it has.

    So move on to a label that appreciates your amazing talent and doesn’t back the wrong horse. In this race- my money is on the older seasoned mare, not the young cocky colt.

    Did you guys see the ads Taylor’s label put out for Entertainer of the Year? She also put out an ad for Album of the year when her album was not eligible for consideration, since it was released outside the CMA eligibility dates. lol I laughed so hard I spilled my coffee all over the desk. She is very arrogant to include her name for EOTY when she is an opening act. lol wow. Talk about being overly aggressive to the point of nausea.

  25. J.R. JourneyNo Gravatar says:

    CarrieRocks said “In this race- my money is on the older seasoned mare, not the young cocky colt. ”

    Mine too – but it seems the consensus is centered on the colt. Sad state of affairs indeed.

  26. ZachNo Gravatar says:

    my main problem is Female Vocalist Of The Year.
    I like that Carrie, Miranda, and Alison were nominated.
    Swift is okay for me (I’d have replaced her with Trisha on my ballot.. but I really dont mind)
    My main problem is Martina’s nom., I love Martina but she has done nothing great over the eligbality period. Reba should be in Martina’s spot. and the albums of the year really left off a few great ones: “Family,” “Heaven, Heartache, And The Power Of Love,” and “Reba Duets”! (and possibly “Raising Sand” >.<
    thats pretty much it.

  27. TaylorNo Gravatar says:

    Has anyone forgot about Sara Evans? She had a great year, And it seems the CMA’s had forgot about her as well (they have not given Sara an award sense 2001). I think its time for her to collect an award!

  28. RainbowNo Gravatar says:

    What did Sara do this year that’s so special?

  29. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I was wondering the same thing. I didn’t think she had had an especially good year.

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