2010 CMA Awards: Staff Picks and Predictions

When the nominees were announced in August for the 44th annual CMA Awards, they sparked a firestorm of headlines —and thoughtful commentary by critics and fans alike— thanks to the CMA voters’ surprisingly bold moves. It’s all about change this year, as the voters revamped the ballot with a slew of fresh faces in almost all of the big categories.

How will it all play out? We’ll know for sure on Wednesday at 8pm Eastern, but before Gwenyth Paltrow throws on her cowboy boots, check out our staff picks and predictions and join the discussion in the comments below. And be sure to drop by Wednesday night for all of the CU live blog madness!

Entertainer of the Year

Should Win:

  • Lady Antebellum
  • Miranda Lambert – Kevin
  • Brad Paisley
  • Keith Urban
  • Zac Brown Band – Leeann, Dan, Tara

Kevin:  Among the five nominees, Miranda Lambert has best represented the genre this year.

Leeann: I’m torn between Lambert and the Zac Brown Band as most deserving this year. I recently saw Lambert’s show and wasn’t incredibly impressed, however. While I have not yet attended a ZBB show, theirs is one of the few spots that I look forward to at awards shows these days. Moreover, I’m impressed by how much of a following they had even before they made any mainstream records.

Dan: Of these five, Zac Brown Band had the second-most success this year (after Lady A) and made the second-best music (after Lambert), so that’s pretty good standing. And I feel like giving this award to a grassroots act would be a good way for the industry to greet the future.

Tara: I’m consistently impressed by Zac Brown Band’s live performances, and it would be really refreshing to see them win – so I’ll go with them. (But I’m still disappointed that the first year my head and heart align on Carrie Underwood deserving an EOTY award, I can’t support her. I’m holding out for 2012…)

Will Win:

  • Lady Antebellum
  • Miranda Lambert – Tara
  • Brad Paisley – Kevin, Leeann, Dan
  • Keith Urban
  • Zac Brown Band

Kevin: I’ve probably learned nothing from last year’s Swift sweep by going with Paisley again, but he’s the only nominee of veteran stature who hasn’t won yet.

Leeann: I can’t imagine that Paisley won’t finally win this one.

Dan: I was going to guess Lady A, since they’re sort of 2010’s “flavor of the year” the way Taylor Swift was 2009’s. But when I think about it, Swift’s ascent was greater and more gradual, and she stood in contrast to the rest of her nominee pool (four male veterans) in a way Lady A don’t with theirs (in which they’re one of three new competitors). So, Paisley.

Tara: I have no rationale. My gut says Lambert.

Male Vocalist of the Year

Should Win:

  • Dierks Bentley – Kevin, Leeann, Dan, Tara
  • Brad Paisley
  • Blake Shelton
  • George Strait
  • Keith Urban

Kevin: Bentley made the best music this year.

Leeann: Bentley may not have the best technical voice out of these nominees, but he has the most interesting and distinctive of them, which is always something that I gravitate toward. Also, I agree with Kevin that he’s made the best music this year.

Dan: Shelton and Bentley are the only ones in this pool who made significant career strides this year – Shelton at radio, and Bentley creatively. Since I’m backing someone else in the Album category, this is where I’d like to see Bentley recognized for following his muse.

Tara: I guess Up on the Ridge is as good a reason as any to fall off the Brad-for-MVOTY bandwagon. He’s a close second for me, though.

Will Win:

  • Dierks Bentley – Kevin, Dan
  • Brad Paisley – Leeann, Tara
  • Blake Shelton
  • George Strait
  • Keith Urban

Kevin: I can see the roots album giving Bentley an edge. Then again, Paisley could just repeat again, or Shelton may suddenly have deep support among voters. I say, Bentley by a nose.

Leeann: I think that voters will reflexively give this one to Paisley again.

Dan: I’ll ditto Kevin.

Tara: I can’t really see Paisley losing this one, but I think if he does lose to Bentley, it’ll be a telling moment.

Female Vocalist of the Year

Should Win:

  • Miranda Lambert – Kevin, Leeann, Dan
  • Martina McBride
  • Reba McEntire
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood – Tara

Kevin: Underwood and McEntire are the women who made my favorite singles from the eligibility period, but Lambert’s the only one who hasn’t won this award.  She’s not overdue, but she’s due.

Leeann: Kevin’s right that Lambert is due to win this award now, not to mention that she’s my favorite female singer out of the bunch.

Dan: Lambert still isn’t at Underwood’s sales level, much less Swift’s, and I don’t see her catching up before traditional music sales die out altogether. Doesn’t matter, though: her habit of making creative music will sustain her regardless of industry conditions, and will elevate the genre in the long run. It’s time to look ahead.

Tara: I’m 50/50 on Lambert and Underwood. I’m not sure how to balance Lambert’s long overdue mega-year against Underwood’s continuous stream of solid success, ambassadorship and artistic growth. I’ll be happy either way, but personal investment’s got me in Underwood’s camp.

Will Win:

  • Miranda Lambert – Kevin, Dan, Tara
  • Martina McBride
  • Reba McEntire
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood- Leeann

Kevin: I’d be shocked if Lambert lost, and can’t even make a guess as to who she’d lose to, should she somehow lose.

Leeann: It’s between Lambert and Underwood, but I give Underwood the edge, especially since it’s somewhat surprising that she didn’t get an Entertainer nomination. Although Lambert has gained popularity in the past year, Underwood is still one of the two biggest females in the business and I refuse to predict that Swift will win the award.

Dan: Lambert’s had enough mainstream success this year to give tasteful voters an excuse to give her some props.

Tara: The voters love them some Lambert this year, and I think of all her nominations, this is the one she’s got in the bag.

Vocal Duo of the Year

Should Win:

  • Brooks & Dunn
  • Joey + Rory – Kevin, Leeann, Dan, Tara
  • Montgomery Gentry
  • Steel Magnolia
  • Sugarland

Kevin: I’m assuming “Stuck Like Glue” was after the eligibility period, so I think actually making some music over the year is important. Joey + Rory are the only duo I like who have yet to win.

Leeann: I simply like them the most, but I know they don’t have a chance.

Dan: I mean, why not? Nobody on this ballot has done much but tour.

Tara: I’m not very excited about any of these acts right now, to be honest. It would just be heartwarming to see Joey + Rory pick this one up.

Will Win:

  • Brooks & Dunn – Kevin, Dan
  • Joey + Rory
  • Montgomery Gentry
  • Steel Magnolia
  • Sugarland – Leeann, Tara

Kevin: Sugarland’s year off helped guarantee a B&D victory lap, which would probably have happened anyway.

Leeann: It’s between Brooks & Dunn and Sugarland. I should just pick B&D because of their retirement, but I’m still going with Sugarland because of their popularity.

Dan: Brooks & Dunn, unless voters ignore the eligibility period and stick with Sugarland.

Tara: Isn’t the Brooks & Dunn retirement thing kind of old news by now, or am I just out of touch?

Vocal Group of the Year

Should Win:

  • Lady Antebellum – Tara
  • Little Big Town
  • Rascal Flatts
  • The Band Perry
  • Zac Brown Band – Kevin, Leeann, Dan

Kevin: Let’s start getting some variety in this category, instead of having Lady A own it for five years.

Leeann: They’re the only group that I like right now.

Dan: I’ll probably be rooting for Little Big Town come ACM season, but for now…

Tara: I don’t want Lady A to own this for five years, either, but I do think they deserve to win this year. At least in my opinion, their huge success on the charts and with album sales can be attributed much to their ability to (I know, I know – I’m a broken record) hone in on specific emotion and deliver it in a way that people can really connect with. There’s some meat (and a heck of a lot of potential) behind their success that tends to go unnoticed.

Will Win:

  • Lady Antebellum – Kevin, Leeann, Dan, Tara
  • Little Big Town
  • Rascal Flatts
  • The Band Perry
  • Zac Brown Band

Kevin: Lady A and Zac BB are both very popular with voters, but I’m thinking that this is the only race where voters can reward Lady A for dominating at retail this year.

Leeann: Ditto to Kevin.

Dan: New Artist will be ZBB’s consolation prize.

Tara: …And I think the voters will agree with my pick, if not for the same reasons.

New Artist of the Year

Should Win:

  • Luke Bryan
  • Easton Corbin
  • Jerrod Niemann
  • Chris Young – Leeann
  • Zac Brown Band – Kevin, Dan, Tara

Kevin: ZBB is in another league, which makes me wish they still called this the Horizon Award.

Leeann: It’s weird to see ZBB here considering their nominations elsewhere, so I think that Chris Young has the most potential of the remaining nominees.

Dan: I’d love to see Young take this, but ZBB can’t be denied.

Tara: This is a great line-up, but there’s no question that ZBB deserves this win.

Will Win:

  • Luke Bryan
  • Easton Corbin
  • Jerrod Niemann
  • Chris Young
  • Zac Brown Band – Kevin, Leeann, Dan, Tara

Kevin: ZBB is nominated for Entertainer of the Year, much like Ricky Skaggs was when he won Horizon in 1982. (Skaggs also won Male Vocalist, which means I may have to rethink my pick for Vocal Group, too.)

Leeann: Kevin’s argument is too compelling not to follow. Also, they are the most popular of the nominees, therefore, probably the most deserving.

Dan: Everyone here but Niemann has had a significant breakthrough. With ZBB in the mix, though, it’s no contest.

Tara: It’s a funky set-up to have ZBB nominated for both the top and bottom (figuratively) prizes, and I think this one will play out exactly the way Kevin explained it.

Album of the Year

Should Win:

  • Dierks Bentley, Up on the RidgeLeeann
  • Lady Antebellum, Need You Now
  • Miranda Lambert, Revolution – Dan, Tara
  • George Strait, Twang
  • Carrie Underwood, Play OnKevin

Kevin: I have all five of these albums, and Underwood’s is the one that I listen to the most, with Strait a not-too-close second. In 2010, of course, “listening to an album” really means “how many songs do I pull off the album and put on a play list,” which has Underwood ahead by three tracks.

Leeann: If I follow Kevin’s test, Bently wins with Lambert as a close second. Bentley’s is, hands down, my favorite album of these choices. I’d love to see something this different from the mainstream win.

Dan: Also employing Kevin’s test, I flip-flop Leeann’s first and second choices. Only about two thirds of Revolution click for me a year later, but those two thirds have helped redefined what I thought modern country could be (still flipping about “Me and Your Cigarettes”), and the stray third at least tried.

Tara: I’m not going to follow Kevin’s test: I don’t play Revolution quite as much as three of the other albums on here, but I feel it’s the most deserving. It’s sharp, smart and an excellent example of an artist taking her potential by the horns.

Will Win:

  • Dierks Bentley, Up on the Ridge
  • Lady Antebellum, Need You Now
  • Miranda Lambert, RevolutionKevin, Leeann, Dan, Tara
  • George Strait, Twang
  • Carrie Underwood, Play On

Kevin: I really do think Lambert will sweep. I think she should’ve won for her last album, which wasn’t even nominated, but I’m not going to complain about an ambitious album getting the prize.

Leeann: I’m guessing either Lambert or Underwood. Although Lambert has the better album, Underwood has the slight edge because it sold better. I wouldn’t be especially surprised if Lady A takes it though.

Dan: Seems to me like a toss-up between Lady A’s commercial favorite and Lambert’s critical one. Lambert?

Tara: This is Lambert’s to lose, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if Lady A (or maybe Bentley?) snatched it.

Single of the Year

Should Win:

  • Easton Corbin, “A Little More Country Than That”
  • Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”
  • Miranda Lambert, “The House That Built Me” – Kevin, Leeann, Dan, Tara
  • Miranda Lambert, “White Liar”
  • Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins, “Hillbilly Bone”

Kevin: It’s the big chunk of meat in a category of mashed potatoes and candied apples.

Leeann: Kevin just made me really hungry, therefore, kind of distracted. It’s a good thing that my choice doesn’t need justification then.

Dan: “Need You Now” had the biggest impact, of course, but “The House That Built Me” was no slouch either – four weeks at #1 – and was arguably the riskiest, most rewarding release. Also of note: she sang it real pretty.

Tara: “Need You Now” and “The House That Built Me” are performed equally well, but “House” is the better-written song. I’ll go with “House” on the basis of that, but I do think country music will be represented justly either way. Both songs resonate with pure, compelling sentiment.

Will Win:

  • Easton Corbin, “A Little More Country Than That”
  • Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now” – Dan, Tara
  • Miranda Lambert, “The House That Built Me” – Kevin, Leeann
  • Miranda Lambert, “White Liar”
  • Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins, “Hillbilly Bone”

Kevin: I think Lady A would have a better shot if they hadn’t won last year for “I Run to You.”

Leeann: It’s simply the clear winner.

Dan: Again, somewhat for diversity’s sake, I’ll guess that many voters have already forgotten about “I Run to You” – I certainly have – and will use this category to recognize the biggest hit, while they use Song to recognize the best one.

Tara: I’m jumping on Dan’s train…

Song of the Year

Should Win:

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

Kevin: Overall, I think that “Need You Now” is a better Single than Song, and that “The House That Built Me” is a better Song than Single, but “House” is better than “Need” on both counts.

Leeann: I’m just being repetative now. It’s the best single and song of the year.

Dan: It’s the deepest-cutting of the five and the most unique.

Tara: “The House That Built Me” is, quite simply, beautifully written.

Will Win:

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

Kevin: Here’s where they can honor “Need You Now” without shortchanging Lambert.

Leeann: I just see “House” sweeping in all possible categories.

Dan: They often manage to pick the actual best song of the five, especially when that song is also the most “serious.”

Tara: This just seems way to obvious; I don’t see how the voters could bypass the most clearly deserving song.

Musical Event of the Year

Should Win:

  • Dierks Bentley featuring Jamey Johnson & Miranda Lambert, “Bad Angel” – Tara
  • Kenny Chesney with Dave Matthews, “I’m Alive”
  • Alan Jackson with Lee Ann Womack, “‘Til the End” – Leeann, Dan
  • Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins, “Hillbilly Bone” – Kevin
  • Zac Brown Band featuring Kid Rock, “Can’t You See”

Kevin: I don’t find any of these five songs particularly compelling, so I’ll go with the two artists who are longest overdue for some CMA love.

Leeann: I’m not big on any of these either, but the Jackson/Womack collaboration is the one I like the most if I have to choose.

Dan: I’d be fine with either “Til the End” or “Bad Angel”. Whatevs.

Tara: The Jackson/Womack song falls squarely within my typical taste, but “Bad Angel” gets under my skin – in a good way. It’s just a really cool record.

Will Win:

  • Dierks Bentley featuring Jamey Johnson & Miranda Lambert, “Bad Angel”
  • Kenny Chesney with Dave Matthews, “I’m Alive”
  • Alan Jackson with Lee Ann Womack, “‘Til the End”
  • Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins, “Hillbilly Bone”- Kevin, Leeann, Dan, Tara
  • Zac Brown Band featuring Kid Rock, “Can’t You See”

Kevin: Its presence in the Single category makes “Hillbilly Bone” the most likely winner.

Leeann: It’s the most mainstream of all the choices.

Dan: “Bad Angel” could play a welcome spoiler, since all three of the artists behind it command a lot of respect right now. I still see this going to the hit, though.

Tara: I’m predicting the big boys will win this one. It’s a decent song, but it makes me laugh that it gets as much love as it does – I mean, this is the song that has Adkins admitting that he’s “always wanted to sing a bone song”…!

Music Video of the Year

Should Win:

  • Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”
  • Miranda Lambert, “The House That Built Me”
  • Miranda Lambert, “White Liar” – Kevin, Dan, Tara
  • Brad Paisley, “Water”
  • Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins, “Hillbilly Bone”

Kevin: Lambert made the two best clips, with the humor of “Liar” outpacing the literalism of “House.”

Dan: The “House” video is beautifully conceived and directed, but somehow the “White Liar” one just sticks out more. Maybe it’s because “White Liar” is a thinner song, so the video has more of a chance to establish its own identity.

Tara: The “White Liar” video is the brightest and most creative of the bunch.

Will Win:

  • Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”
  • Miranda Lambert, “The House That Built Me”
  • Miranda Lambert, “White Liar” – Kevin, Dan, Tara
  • Brad Paisley, “Water”
  • Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins, “Hillbilly Bone”

Kevin: I think “White Liar” has won all the video awards this year, so I guess it will win again.

Dan: This is the logical place to reward the other Lambert single the CMA liked this year.

Tara: One of Lambert’s videos will win for sure. My best guess is “White Liar” since it’s won before, like Kevin said.

Musician of the Year

Should Win:

  • Paul Franklin (steel guitar) – Kevin, Leeann, Dan, Tara
  • Dann Huff (guitar)
  • Brent Mason (guitar)
  • Mac McAnally (guitar)
  • Randy Scruggs (guitar)

Kevin: Paul Franklin is the nominee I’m rooting for the most this year. Give the man, and the steel guitar, some long overdue recognition!

Leeann: It’s the steel guitar for heaven’s sake! It should be a no-brainer, even though it’s clearly not.

Dan: I won’t pretend I know what’s going on. I’m just going to root for the guy who hasn’t won yet until he finally does.

Tara: How can you pass up the steel guitar?

Will Win:

  • Paul Franklin (steel guitar)
  • Dann Huff (guitar)
  • Brent Mason (guitar)
  • Mac McAnally (guitar) – Kevin, Leeann, Dan, Tara
  • Randy Scruggs (guitar)

Kevin: Mac McAnally won the last two years, so I guess he’s the favorite. Did I mention that Franklin is 0-for-17 going into this year’s ceremony?

Leeann: I suppose its a habit to give it to McAnally at this point. So, why should I be so bold as to predict anyone else?

Dan: No justice!

Tara: Just going off of pattern here.

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30 Comments on 2010 CMA Awards: Staff Picks and Predictions

  1. Good predictions. I don’t think ZBB should be allowed to be nominated in the Best New Artist category after they were nominated for it last year. Plus, this EOTY nod is far too premature for Lady A, ZBB, and Miranda. I’m still bitter about Carrie not getting that nod, and the fact that the CMAs gave Lady A a slot but not Tim (the guy they OPENED for on tour) is ridiculous.

    Just my mini-rant on this year’s awards. I’m way too upset with this ballot to even care. In all fairness, as much as I like Miranda, she doesn’t deserve two nods in the Music Video, Song, and Single category. It doesn’t seem right, nor does it seem fair to any other artists. I don’t think “White Liar” should’ve earned any nods, because “House” was the one that Lambert really grew on more than any other.
    I’ll DVR the show and fast-forward through the presenters throwing the trophies to Miranda from the stage to the audience, seeing as it’s a pretty simple guess that she’ll win everything.

  2. The only reason for me to watch this year is that Brad and Carrie are hosting again.

  3. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar // November 8, 2010 at 10:19 pm //

    Yeah, I thought that article was super interesting. And kind of funny. Everyone just sounds so genuinely confused.

  4. An award should be given to one who has earned it and is the best of the bunch, not one who is due. Otherwise, what’s the point of the award?

  5. Lady A for EotY is interesting…just saw them here in a mid-sized theater, and while they put on a good show, they’re not in the league with the other acts that are playing huge venues. ZBB just played Red Rocks…big difference from the Fillmore here in Denver.

  6. Great addtion as usual, guys!

    I’ll chime in and add I was very dissapointed and surprised by many of the nominations.

    It almost seems to me that the CMA voters realized the public was tired of the same artists winning awards and sweeping the categories for the sake of enormous popularity (Taylor Swift’s Female Vocalist win is a prime example).

    Taylor (and several other country artists) received the same complaints from viewers- many of whom were very vocal about wanting to see newer artists get a chance and other artists have an fair chance at a win, even if they don’t measure up to their peers in sales or popularity.

    I’m thinking the CMA’s may have taken some of this criticism into account, thus resulting in changes that are refreshing to some- and mind-boggling to others.

    As most people have said, I think some of the nominations are justified- but most are ridculous, and seem to be the CMA’s way of bringing in big changes- but not for the better.

    I think the true downfall of awards shows truly started in 2009 with the “Swift Sweep,” but that’s just me.

    My picks:

    Entertainer: I’m no Paisley fan, but he deserves this most out of all the nominees. He’s had consistent success for 10 years, and has a strong presence in more areas of entertainment than most of his peers in the category.

    I’ve scratched my head over the ZZB & Lady A love. They’re certaintly both talented, but considering their still a relatively new act that hasn’t yet solidified their place in mainstream culture, I can’t back either for the win.

    Keith Urban is also extremely talented- but I continue to be baffled as to why the CMA’s continue to nominate him every year. Keith’s music has never broken outside the mold of country music, thus making him more of an unknown to those outside country music. Considering the other nominees have a stronger hold in this area, I can’t seem him being the one rewarded.

    Miranda made an outstanding album and is a strong live performer- but her profile isn’t strong enough outside of those factors for her to win.

    Male: Paisley. If the CMA’s are going to carry out the flavor of surprising viewers this year, Bently has a chance though.

    Female: Underwood has been my favorite female for years, and I still think none of her peers match her consistency as a live performer, so I have a soft spot for her as an incredible talent.
    That said, I have grown to love and respect Lambert and her music the more I see and hear of her, and I certaintly wouldn’t be disappointed (or surprised) if she took this.

    Her and Underwood have been vocal about their mutual friendship and enjoyment of each other as artists, so I’d be happy if they are supportive of each other.

    Thankfully Taylor has zero chance this year.

    Vocal Duo: Brooks & Dunn shouldn’t win this based on success, but it’s obvious the CMA’s want to give them their swan song, as the ACM’s did earlier this year.

    Vocal Group: I’m a huge Flatts fan, so it pains me to see Lady A get the recogntion they never did. But Lady A will win, no doubt. I’ll be thrilled if they don’t sweep.

    Single/Song: Lambert should win, and I wish “Need You Now” hadn’t been such a smash, so the categories could be wide open for her. A song like this deserves any and all recogntion.

    I liked “Need You Now” when it first came out, but it was overplayed and lost a bit of its appeal because of the changes for pop radio and effort to make it more mainstream. I think NYN had its day, and got recogntion from the academy- but it’s not a strong enough song to stand up against “House.”

    Video: Miranda’s “White Liar” deserves to win, hands-down.

    I’ll probably watch some of the performances, and am interested to see the opening. But the disappointment over the nominees has me the least excited for this awards show, and it ruins some of the importance of the show to me.

  7. Michael A.No Gravatar // November 8, 2010 at 11:53 pm //

    I don’t know, K. I think Rascal Flatts got a lot of recognition. Weren’t they awarded Vocal Group of the Year five or six times?

    I’m not sure what to think of “The House that Built Me” anymore. I liked it, sure. But I feel like it wouldn’t have had all of this love showered on it if it were released 15 or 20 years ago. A reflection on the current state of affairs in the industry more than anything, I suppose, but it seems like an album cut from a Pam Tillis CD ca. 1995. I may appreciate it again in a few years. But for now, radio has killed it for me. It was overplayed and frankly, I turn the station when it comes on. Blasphemy, I know. :)

  8. I am really surprised you all think Miranda Lambert or ZBB should win. I don’t even think they should have been nominated in the first place, along with Lady Antebellum.
    Hoping Carrie wins female vocalist!!!

  9. I’m so disgusted with the whole CMA attitude on nominations, you don’t even want to hear more from me. Big changes need to be made so the fiasco of 2009 never happens again – change criteria, names of awards – anything more to reflect deserving of award rather flavor of the month but little talent, etc. 2010 is only going to be a repeat of who the media is shoving down our throats at the moment – listen to public and fans – not your own personal likes!

  10. I have to say that I love Lady Antebellum and it sucks that they’ve been thrown into all the controversy about Entertainer of the Year this year. I personally think it’ll come down to them, Miranda or Brad and it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top. I’ve seen four of the five nominees in concert this year and I don’t think ZBB should win because their show was the worst of the 10 concerts I’ve attended this year. I personally loved both the Lady A shows I’ve been to as well as Brad’s tour. I’m thinking that since they’ve had a big year this year that the CMA will go with Lady A, but I’m noticing more people are predicting something different. It should be interesting to see who wins and the backlash that will come afterwards.

  11. How involved do artists are in the decision-making process of which nominations to campaign for? I’m assuming there’s some form of campaigning or lobbying going on behind the scenes by the label. Do they get a say on whether a vocalist award or an entertainer award is aimed for?

  12. I surprised myself by picking Lady Antebellum for Vocal Group of the Year. Their sales are hard to top, and their massive crossover smash “Need You Now” is one single that I think may rank as a potential classic.

    I’m rooting for Miranda in just about every category she’s nominated in, but I fully expect Brad Paisley to unfairly beat her out for Entertainer of the Year.

  13. It’s wierd K how you can say Keith Urban is not known outside the country mold and wondering why they keep nominating him. He is one of the best live entertainers ever..that’s why.. and that’s what the award is for…not how many of his songs crossed over to Pop. BTW, he’s had a few that did cross over. But you are a huge RFs fan, so that explains your comment. They are the Pop trio if ever there were any and you can’t always count on Gary singing that great live. How many Grammy’s have they won now?? Keith’s won 3.

  14. Oh yeah, Brad will probably get it this year since everyone is saying it’s his turn, but I too don’t understand that comment. I didn’t know they took turns. I think this year will be his last chance to get it though. I think the academy set it up for him to win it this year. JMO!

  15. Paul DennisNo Gravatar // November 9, 2010 at 10:55 am //

    Grammy are not indicative of anything, relative to the CMA awards – I don’t know the exact correlation between country category Grammy awards and the CMAs and ACMs but it isn’t all that high since Grammy voters are typically not that keen on country music.

    I think it is likely that Brad will win this year, but not a lock – Brad could be like Randy Travis, winning many awards but never the CMA’s big award.

    I’ve not seen Brad or Keith perform live but several friends who have seen Brad and Keith perform tell me that Brad is the better showman. These same friends have also seen Carrie Underwood (not nominated this year in the category) and Miranda Lambert live and tell me that both Carrie and Miranda are amateurs compared to either Keith or Brad

    Chris Young and Zac Brown Band really are not new artists so Easton Corbin should win this one – mshould but probably won’t

    The rest of the categories I don’t really have a strong preference. I assume the recent Zac Brown and Jamey Johnson albums fall outside the cutoff period since they are the two best albums (from Nashville-based artists) I’ve heard this year, by far with Teea Goans debut album a distant third and the rest essentially nowhere

  16. I should say that I’m also rooting for Paisley for Entertainer. So, my blurb should have said that I’m torn between the three.

    I’m also confused by the comment that Urban isn’t really known outside of country music, especially since I think his music has significantly strayed from it at least in the last couple of years.

  17. Urban is certainly well enough known outside of country – my mother, who doesn’t know who George Strait or Reba is, expressed her desire to ‘tap that’. Sometimes I hate my family.

    That being said, I’d be surprised if any of these manage to, well, surprise me.

  18. i myself am getting tired of these cma/acm shows and nominees.

    the only male vocalist there is is George Strait.
    Brad can’t sing a note. I can listen to George for hours. He’s unbeatable in my world. These newcomers don’t nor will they ever measure up to King George.

  19. Why wasn’t Living for the Night not nominated in song? It is very well written and emotional.

  20. If anyone but Brad or Keith win EOTY it will be a shame. Miranda had numerous concerts CANCELED because they couldn’t sell tickets. How is that indicative of EOTY? Lady A OPENED for Tim and he wasn’t even nominated. This block voting thing is getting ridiculous and people need to start thinking about who EARNED the nominations/awards (whether they are due or already have won) and stop trying to “spread the wealth” so to speak. BTW-I still think that Jason Aldean was snubbed along with the Tim and Carrie snubs.

  21. Well Paul…I’ve seen Brad and Keith as well. There is no comparison who the better showman is to me and that would be Keith! Brad is just the industry’s little darling who sings in the same monotone range on all his songs. I know alot of people love him and he is funny….but he just doesn’t excite or mesmerize me in concert like Keith does..not in the least. Brad can do a one liner good but when it comes to that sexy charisma on stage and singing live, give me Keith. His songs become something totally different live. I really feel though that Entertainer should be between Keith & Brad and not the others. Jason Aldean for sure should have been nominated instead of the 3 others, even Dierks Bentley. If Keith doesn’t get MV, and I’m sure he won’t, I’d like to see Blake or Dierks get it.

  22. i’m hoping KU wins Male Vocalist .. Defying Gravity just hit over 1 mill sold and everything in that album is great .. and what a great stage presence he has on tour .. KU gives it all .. beyond that .. I’m hoping for Miranda to sweep .. absolutely loved everything she did. I do love Dierks Up On the Ridge though .. since getting it I just can’t stop playing … so good!

  23. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar // November 9, 2010 at 2:43 pm //

    I’m with Leeann – I’m rooting for Brad as well. He probably deserves it more than ZBB, though it would be refreshing to see ZBB win, as I noted.

  24. I’ve procrastinated even looking at the ballot until just now, and it’s weird. On the one hand, I really loved “Revolution” and “Up on the Ridge” and would like to see Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley recognized with some wins for their artistic chance-taking and growth. Each of them and their respective projects are all over this ballot sheet, so I *should* be enthused.

    Instead, I’m bored.

    What this ballot sheet has shown me is that those are the *only* albums that caught and sustained my interest at all. I gave King George props for “Twang” because several songs were out of his normal comfort zone (“Easy as You Go” was one of my favorite recordings I heard in all of 2009), but it’s been months since I’ve played the disc.

    I’m rooting for Joey + Rory, because I genuinely like them and their two albums (neither of which was released during the eligibility period). Lady Antebellum seem likable enough and I found myself incapable of getting “Need You Now” out of my head for months at a time earlier this year, but I haven’t been compelled to buy either of their albums. Otherwise, there’s not a duo or group that interests me.

    As for Zac Brown Band…I just don’t get it. I can’t think of a more vapid album in recent memory, to be honest, than “The Foundation.” I know they’ve got a reputation for putting on a fun live show, but I will never understand how they’ve gotten so many people to drink their Kool-Aid. They’re respectable musicians, but the whole album tries to pass off the mundane as profound and the uninspired as clever. More power to ’em if they win big, but all it will mean to me is that I really am that far removed from today’s country scene.

  25. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar // November 9, 2010 at 6:40 pm //

    “I can’t think of a more vapid album in recent memory, to be honest, than “The Foundation.”

    I’m with you, in all honesty. I haven’t given their new album the same attention yet, but I haven’t heard many songs of theirs that tap a fresh theme or even feature fresh lyrical phrasing, and that’s kept me from fully embracing them. That said, if we must have shallow music, I’m glad they can at least play it well.

    It helps that they seem to be improving: “As She’s Walking Away” does have a fairly unique theme and is easily one of the year’s best singles, if you ask me – leagues above what we got with “Chicken Fried.”

  26. I’m more into their musicality and even melodies than necessarily their lyrics, though I definitely wouldn’t call the whole album vapid at all.

  27. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar // November 9, 2010 at 9:33 pm //

    Psul wrote: “Grammy are not indicative of anything, relative to the CMA awards – I don’t know the exact correlation between country category Grammy awards and the CMAs and ACMs but it isn’t all that high since Grammy voters are typically not that keen on country music.”

    This is a statement you repeat a lot about the Grammys and it’s simply untrue. There are limits to how many categories that a member can vote in. Voters who don’t care about country music use their votes in categories that they do care about, and since most Grammy members earned voting rights from writing/singing/production credits, some less commercially successful or less mainstream music gets on to the final ballot.

    If anything, I think the Grammy voters in the country categories care so much about country music that they don’t consider commercial viability and popular relevance enough when filling out their ballots.

  28. Paul DennisNo Gravatar // November 9, 2010 at 10:33 pm //

    So what is the correlation, Kevin ?

  29. It’s been a big year for Miranda Lambert. And I’m betting she’s gonna take home a lot tonight. What I’m looking forward to though are the performances. Kid Rock and Dave Matthews rock my world!

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