2013 ACM Awards: Staff Picks and Predictions


The stars are converging on Las Vegas this weekend as the industry gears up for this year’s ACM Awards.  We at Country Universe have been busily poring over this year’s list of nominees, picking and predicting the winners while getting ready for all the live-blogging madness Sunday night.

This year Luke Bryan replaces Reba McEntire as Blake Shelton’s co-host, and we have a roster of live performers that includes everyone from Eric Church and Hunter Hayes to Kelly Clarkson and Jewel.  On top of that, Shania Twain will return to present at the ACM Awards for the first time in a decade, and we look forward to a historic collaboration between George Strait and Garth Brooks as the two modern genre legends pay tribute to the late ACM executive producer Dick Clark.

Who would you most like to see emerge victorious at this year’s ACM Awards?  Share your picks and predictions in the comments section below.  Tune in to the live telecast tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern/ 7:00 Central on CBS, and be sure to drop by Country Universe for our live blog.  Meanwhile, our friends at Engine 145 will be hosting a live blog of their own, so feel free to pay them a visit as well.

Entertainer of the Yeartaylor-swift-2012-acm-awards-press-room-01

Should Win:

  • Jason Aldean – Kevin
  • Luke Bryan
  • Miranda Lambert – Tara
  • Blake Shelton – Dan
  • Taylor Swift – Jonathan, Ben, Leeann

Will Win:

  • Jason Aldean – Tara, Kevin
  • Luke Bryan
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Blake Shelton – Leeann
  • Taylor Swift – Jonathan, Ben, Dan

Leeann:  As far as I know, Taylor Swift had the highest tickets sales in 2012, so she remains a force to be reckoned with.  I, however, wouldn’t be surprised to if Blake Shelton won based on his high profile due to The Voice.  Then again, I also wouldn’t be too surprised to see Jason Aldean win based on the fact that he sold out Madison Square Garden in under 10 minutes.  I can’t imagine.

Kevin:  I’m going out on a bit of limb here by picking Aldean as the likely winner, but seeing him sell out Madison Square Garden in ten minutes indicates to me that his fan base is quite motivated.  I really think that Swift is going to suffer among the industry voters for going blatantly pop, and I suspect it will be enough to push them into Aldean’s camp.  Carrie Underwood, of course, is the real Entertainer of the Year. She’s just not nominated.

Jonathan:  It’s impossible, really, to envision Swift, the biggest star in this line-up by several orders of magnitude, losing an award that’s partially fan-voted.  And, even though I don’t think her Red era scans as country as any meaningful way, she’d get my vote, too, as the most compelling entertainer of the lot.  Though it’s worth mentioning that, had she been nominated, Carrie Underwood would’ve been my pick.

Tara:  Let’s try a little positivity – here’s what I still love: “Fly Over States,” the Pistol Annies, and Swift’s drive.  But frankly, I’m not comfortable with any of these artists – based on their current output and presence – representing our industry as EOTY, and that’s quite frustrating.

Ben:  Carrie Underwood would have been my choice without reservation had she been nominated.  But with her out of running, I’d have to shrug it over to either Aldean or Swift, and while neither of them are making music that feels country to me, Swift’s material has generally been more interesting.  Sadly, I still have to second Tara’s closing sentence, as I can’t wholeheartedly endorse any one of these five artists as the face of country music in 2013.

Dan:  So let’s see:  Swift is in full Top 40 mode, Lambert released her three weakest singles back-to-back (pre-“Mama’s Broken Heart”), Aldean and Bryan have totally burrowed into their respective formulae, and Blake Shelton’s best contribution is TV goofery.  I guess I’d be least put off by the goofery being rewarded, but yeah.

Male Vocalist of the YearEric Church

Should Win:

  • Jason Aldean
  • Luke Bryan
  • Eric Church – Jonathan, Tara, Ben, Dan, Kevin
  • Toby Keith – Leeann
  • Blake Shelton

Will Win:

  • Jason Aldean
  • Luke Bryan
  • Eric Church
  • Toby Keith
  • Blake Shelton – Jonathan, Tara, Ben, Leeann, Dan, Kevin

Jonathan:  Take a Mulligan on this one, ACMs:  Gary Allan, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Darius Rucker, Chris Young.  There, now was that really so hard?

Leeann:  Toby Keith has the best voice of these men, but I have no doubt that Blake Shelton will win it, since this is his time.

Kevin:  I don’t see a way around a Shelton win, though I think Church would have a shot if he wasn’t also nominated for Album, giving voters an easy way to honor both Church and Shelton on the same ballot.

Ben:  Everyone here has a shot except Toby Keith.  From a critic’s perspective, Eric Church is a shoo-in per usual, but I expect the ACM will continue handing unearned trophies to the musically underachieving Blake Shelton.

Dan:  Church please, but I’d be fine if this category ended up rewarding Aldean or Bryan for their success. Just want to see some mix-up.

Tara:  Same ole.

Female Vocalist of the YearCarrie-Underwood-Blown-Away-Tour

Should Win:

  • Miranda Lambert
  • Martina McBride
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood – Jonathan, Tara, Ben, Leeann, Dan, Kevin

Will Win:

  • Miranda Lambert – Tara, Ben, Leeann, Dan
  • Martina McBride
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood – Jonathan, Kevin

Kevin:  Sheer power of wishful thinking?  Perhaps.  But to ignore Carrie Underwood’s stellar year artistically and commercially would be a sin.

Ben:  If there were ever a year in which Carrie Underwood deserved the Female Vocalist trophy, this would be it.  Unfortunately, Underwood’s lack of nominations

in the Entertainer and Single categories suggest that Miranda Lambert remains the current favorite.

Jonathan:  Even if I’ve been slightly disappointed by Underwood’s choices of singles during the eligibility period, I stand by what I said in our CMA picks and predictions last fall:  Whatever substantial limitations she may still have as an artist, Underwood is currently doing what is far and away her career-best work, and I’d like to see her rewarded for that.

Dan:  Or, to ape Jonathan’s mathematical approach from a few award shows back:  “Blown Away” + “Two Black Cadillacs” > “Over You” + “Fastest Girl in Town.”

Tara:  Based on vision, creativity and voice, this is a no-brainer.  I have a hard time picturing anyone dethroning the Lamberts, though.

Leeann:  I honestly won’t be upset if Miranda Lambert wins, because she’s got my favorite voice of the group, but I think Carrie Underwood actually deserves the award.  I’ve been liking her voice more these days and she’s just about always on target for live performances.

 Vocal Duo of the Yearflorida georgia line

Should Win:

  • Big & Rich
  • Florida Georgia Line – Ben? Dan?
  • Love and Theft
  • Sugarland
  • Thompson Square – Tara?

Will Win:

  • Big & Rich
  • Florida Georgia Line – Jonathan, Tara, Ben, Dan
  • Love and Theft
  • Sugarland
  • Thompson Square – Leeann, Kevin

Kevin:  Since they won the CMA’s, I’m assuming Thompson Square will follow up with an ACM.  My preference would be completely eliminating the category.

Leeann:  Sugarland hasn’t done anything in the last year and I have absolutely no interest in the others in this category, so my random guess leans toward Thompson Square.

Ben:  Of all these nominees’ recent output, “Cruise” seems to be the hit with the most staying power, so I imagine Florida Georgia Line will be this year’s stand-in while Sugarland remains MIA. Our vocal duos seriously need to step it up.

Jonathan:  I just can’t with this.

Dan:  I love “Cruise,” and even I’m going to be kind of depressed when this happens.

Tara:  Have we ever needed new Sugarland music more?

Vocal Group of the Yearlittle big town tornado

Should Win:

  •  The Band Perry
  • Eli Young Band
  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town – Tara, Ben, Leeann, Dan, Kevin
  • Zac Brown Band – Jonathan

Will Win:

  • The Band Perry
  • Eli Young Band
  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town – Jonathan, Tara, Ben, Leeann, Dan, Kevin
  • Zac Brown Band

Jonathan:  So, how’s about we just reallocate the obviously superfluous Vocal Duo trophy to recognize two of the acts nominated in this category?  I am honestly fine with four of the five possible outcomes, but LBT is on a years-overdue roll that looks to continue here.

Leeann:  I think Little Big Town finally has a chance of winning this.

Ben:  I believe Little Big Town has this one in the bag, and I’m perfectly happy with that.  They already won Vocal Group at last November’s CMAs, and with a top-selling album and a number-one hit falling within the current eligibility period, the case is much stronger for an LBT victory at the ACMs.  I don’t see how they can lose.

Tara:  I’m with Jonathan – there are four possible deserved victories here. But Little Big Town stole my heart with Tornado, and I’m digging their time in the spotlight, even if it’s ridiculously overdue.

Dan:  Being real:  Their CMA victory for “Pontoon” and “Pontoon” alone was a little silly.  This one will be based on “Pontoon” plus another #1 hit plus an almost-Platinum album, and that’s delicious.

Kevin:  Now we’re all just going to predict Little Big Town after being burned for not doing so at the CMAs and the Grammys!

New Artist of the YearBrantley Gilbert

Should Win:

  • Florida Georgia Line – Dan
  • Brantley Gilbert
  • Jana Kramer – Ben, Leeann

Will Win:

  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Brantley Gilbert – Jonathan, Tara, Ben, Dan, Kevin
  • Jana Kramer

Kevin:  Brantley Gilbert seems popular.  None of them seem award-worthy. Sorry to cop out again, but if I was a voter, I’d leave this category blank, too.

Leeann:  I have no idea who will win, but Jana Kramer is the only one I can remotely stand.

Ben:  All three nominees had solid successes this past year, but Kramer is the one I see as having the most potential.  But fan-voted categories are not based on potential, so Gilbert’s strong internet fan base will likely power-vote him to victory.

Jonathan:  Kramer is the Death Is Not An Option choice, I guess, but I am not at all invested in any of these three acts.

Dan:  FGL are the only ones here who have done anything I actually enjoy, so I’ll gamble on them despite their unbearable first album.

Tara:  Dude, where’s Kip Moore?

Album of the YearChief

Should Win:

  • Carrie Underwood, Blown Away – Tara, Ben, Kevin
  • Eric Church, Chief – Leeann, Dan
  • Taylor Swift, Red
  • Luke Bryan, Tailgates & Tanlines
  • Little Big Town, Tornado – Jonathan

Will Win:

  • Carrie Underwood, Blown Away – Ben
  • Eric Church, Chief – Jonathan, Leeann, Dan, Kevin
  • Taylor Swift, Red
  • Luke Bryan, Tailgates & Tanlines
  • Little Big Town, Tornado – Tara

Leeann:  Eric Church is no longer the underdog and Chief is my favorite nominated album.

Kevin:  With Miranda Lambert not nominated, I’m guessing Eric Church will fill their “honor the cool one in the Album slot” criteria.  Underwood made the best album.

Ben:  Bryan’s album is too uneven, and I don’t feel Swift’s album has any business being nominated at a country awards show.  Any one of the remaining three would make a worthy winner, but I’m hoping and tentatively (read: stubbornly) predicting that voters will recognize Underwood’s recent artistic growth with her second win in this category.

Tara:  I’m going out on a limb with both of these choices.  Blown Away isn’t technically a better album than Chief, but I’d really like to see it get some love, if only to continue to pump creativity and ambition into the Underwood team.  I think there’s a chance that Little Big Town’s heightened profile will give them some legs in this category, though, and I’m cool with that.

Jonathan:  The Church and Little Big Town sets have the best balance between ambition and actual quality of these five albums, and either would be a richly deserving winner.  The bloated Red can be whittled-down to a flat-out brilliant 7-song EP, but even then it’s still a pop record that probably shouldn’t be nominated here on principle.  Church’s CMA win and his overall nomination tally make him the presumptive front-runner, but there isn’t an outcome here that I’d find surprising.

Single Record of the Year

Should Win:LBT pontoon

  • Eli Young Band, “Even If It Breaks Your Heart”
  • Miranda Lambert, “Over You”
  • Little Big Town, “Pontoon” – Kevin
  • Eric Church, “Springsteen” – Tara, Ben, Leeann, Jonathan, Dan
  • Hunter Hayes, “Wanted”

Will Win:

  • Eli Young Band, “Even If It Breaks Your Heart”
  • Miranda Lambert, “Over You” – Leeann
  • Little Big Town, “Pontoon” – Jonathan, Tara, Ben, Kevin
  • Eric Church, “Springsteen”
  • Hunter Hayes, “Wanted” – Dan

Leeann:  The CMAs make me hesitate to bet against the Miranda Lambert single, but I vote for “Springsteen.”

Jonathan:  It’s great that he can play so many instruments and all, but Hayes is being grossly over-recognized during the current awards cycle:  I prefer rewarding actual merit to rewarding the potential for merit at some point in the future.  “Springsteen” is the best-produced track here, though the production is also the best attribute of “Pontoon,” which seems like the more likely winner.

Ben:  Quality lyrics with a cool Jay Joyce production gives “Springsteen” an edge in my opinion, but this award could go to any of the five.  My gut prediction is Little Big Town’s “Pontoon” (which incidentally also boasts a cool Jay Joyce production).

Tara:  I could see a surprise win for “Over You” or even for the better (think about that one for a sec) “Wanted,” but my guess is that “Pontoon” will get one last hoorah.

Dan:  It’s going to come down to “Pontoon” and “Wanted,” and just to be different, I’ll guess that the ACM go for the more recent of the two big hits.

Kevin:  “Pontoon” and “Wanted” are career records.   The former was also a career-reviving record, so I give it the edge.

Song of the Yeareli young band even if it breaks your heart

Should Win:

  • “A Woman Like You” – Phil Barton, Johnny Bulford, & Jon Stone (Performed by Lee Brice)
  • “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” – Will Hoge & Eric Paslay (Performed by Eli Young Band) – Jonathan, Tara, Dan, Kevin
  • “Over You” – Miranda Lambert & Blake Shelton (Performed by Miranda Lambert)
  • “Springsteen” – Eric Church, Jeff Hynde, & Ryan Tyndell (Performed by Eric Church) – Ben, Leeann
  • “Wanted” – Hunter Hayes & Troy Vergas (Performed by Hunter Hayes)

Will Win:

  • “A Woman Like You” – Phil Barton, Johnny Bulford, & Jon Stone (Performed by Lee Brice)
  • “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” – Will Hoge & Eric Paslay (Performed by Eli Young Band)
  • “Over You” – Miranda Lambert & Blake Shelton (Performed by Miranda Lambert) – Jonathan, Tara, Ben, Leeann, Dan, Kevin
  • “Springsteen” – Eric Church, Jeff Hynde, & Ryan Tyndell (Performed by Eric Church)

Jonathan:  “Springsteen” and “Even if It Breaks Your Heart” have been relegated to the status of also-rans throughout the past year’s worth of country awards.  There’s no reason to expect that to change here even though they are, yet again, the best songs nominated.  Thankfully, this is the last major songwriting award Lambert and Shelton will receive for what is far and away the worst-written song in either of their respective catalogues.

Ben:  “Springsteen” and “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” are the only two worthy nominees in this field, the former of which has my heart.  But who am I kidding?  “Over You” will win, and I will be bracing myself for one final round of fan-gloating on my review of the song.

Kevin:  My preference is “Even if it Breaks Your Heart,” if only because it works as well as a song as it does as a t-shirt.  “Over You” has the star power, but again, the title sums up my feelings about both stars and their strangely popular song.

Leeann:  Again, I won’t bet against “Over You,” but I think “Springsteen” or “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” are the best of these choices.

Tara:  I hope I’m wrong.

Dan:  :-/

Songwriter of the YearAlready presented off-camera; Dallas Davidson wonDallasDavidson

Should Win:

  • Rodney Clawson
  • Dallas Davidson
  • Josh Kear
  • Luke Laird
  • Shane McAnally – Ben, Leeann, Dan

Will Win:  

  • Rodney Clawson
  • Dallas Davidson – Ben, Leeann, Dan
  • Josh Kear
  • Luke Laird
  • Shane McAnally

Leeann:  Since Dallas Davidson is part of The Peach Pickers machine, I expect him to win, but I like Shane McAnally’s work with Kacey Musgraves, Ashley Monroe, Lady Antebellum, Chris Young, etc.

Ben:  I’d love to support Josh Kear for having written “Blown Away,” but Shane McAnally’s fantastic work with Kacey Musgraves puts him over the edge.  Still, I’m expecting that the Peach Picker will pull of a repeat victory in this category.

Video of the YearM_LittleBigTownTornadoVid630_103112

Should Win:

  • Eric Church, “Creepin'” – Ben
  • Kacey Musgraves – “Merry Go ‘Round”
  • Little Big Town, “Tornado” – Jonathan, Dan
  • Hunter Hayes, “Wanted”
  • Taylor Swift, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” – Kevin
  • Zac Brown Band, “The Wind”

Will Win:

  • Eric Church, “Creepin'”
  • Kacey Musgraves, “Merry Go ‘Round”
  • Little Big Town, “Tornado” – Dan, Kevin
  • Hunter Hayes, “Wanted” – Jonathan
  • Taylor Swift, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” – Ben
  • Zac Brown Band, “The Wind”

Kevin:  Little Big Town’s clip seems the most “artsy,” but I do have to say that the Swift clip wins in my book.  It’s almost like she’s conceding how ridiculous the song and her entire public persona are.

Jonathan:  Hayes is being promoted so heavily that he’s going to have to win something, and this award is always the safest place for voters to recognize an artist that they feel obligated to vote for.  As much as I love the idea of Mike Judge winning, the animation and the music from the video for “The Wind” just don’t work together.  The stylish and not overly literal video for “Tornado” would get my vote, though I do like the videos for “Creepin’” and “Merry Go ‘Round” too.

Ben:  Church’s “Creepin’” video has a lot of energy and character to it, much like the song itself, but I’m smelling a Swift victory here.

Dan:  No clue, but isn’t it cool when Kim and Phil flash those death glares at the innocent townspeople?


Vocal Event of the Yearkelly-clarkson-dont-rush-400x400

Should Win:

  • Kelly Clarkson featuring Vince Gill, “Don’t Rush” – Jonathan, Tara, Ben, Leeann, Dan, Kevin
  • Rascal Flatts featuring Natasha Bedingfield, “Easy”
  • Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw, “Feel Like a Rock Star”
  • David Nail featuring Sarah Buxton, “Let It Rain”
  • Jason Aldean featuring Luke Bryan and Eric Church, “The Only Way I Know”

Will Win:

  • Kelly Clarkson featuring Vince Gill, “Don’t Rush” – Jonathan, Tara, Ben
  • Rascal Flatts featuring Natasha Bedingfield, “Easy”
  • Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw,” Feel Like a Rock Star” – Leeann, Kevin
  • David Nail featuring Sarah Buxton, “Let It Rain”
  • Jason Aldean featuring Luke Bryan and Eric Church, “The Only Way I Know” – Dan

Dan:  “Easy” was released in June 2011, off an album from November 2010.  Lol.

Jonathan:  So… Kelly Clarkson is about to have more ACM Awards than Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, and Pam Tillis.  I adore her, but that’s all kinds of wrong.

Kevin:  Because Vince Gill.

Ben:  I rarely support nominees that are not proper duets, but “Don’t Rush” is easily the class of the field.  Plus it’s always nice to see our old friend Vince get a new mantle decoration.

Tara:  Easy choice – just wish it had ended up being a more memorable collaboration.


  1. Leannne- you are incorrect about Taylor’s touring stats in 2012. She did not tour in 2012 as that was her writing year for her new pop album. Maybe you got confused as it was Carrie’s tour that did really well in 2012: she was named the top grossing female country touring artist of 2012. CARRIE- not Taylor.

    It makes me sad that people are not researching the actual data before voting. This exains Carrie Underwoid’s snub for EOTY. The ACM voters clearly did not do their research before checking Taylor’s box over Carrie’s.

    Taylor toured a total of 2 weeks in Australia in March 2012 and that is it. She put out a pop album and her big country single- The pop bubblegum mess We Are Never Getting Back Together- bombed on country radio in 2012- peaking at 13.

    Her album sales to teen pop fans are massive- but she is not selling to country fans. She is selling to teen pop fans. She does not deserve EOTY when she did not tour, flopped on country radio, and released a purely pop album.

  2. Would you people just LEAVE Taylor alone and stop saying she SHOULDN’T be nominated for Album. 1.2 million albums in one week, they aren’t going to ignore that. What are you all smoking to think she wouldn’t have at least been nominated with those numbers. You entire prediction list makes you look like a bunch of obsessed carrie stans when you say stuff like that. The way you all drool over her is just sickening.

  3. Love Carrie Underwood! So sad that she’s not getting more recognition from her peers! At least she has a really successful tour, 6 Grammys and 17 #1 singles! :) #CountryQueen

  4. “At least she has a really successful tour, 6 Grammys and 17 #1 singles!”

    So carrie won 6 grammy’s and had 17 #1 singles just this year. WOW she is great. Now I understand why they are drooling over her here. Write her in for EOTY with those stats. My apologies, I didn’t know she had been that successful this year. How could they ignore that I mean shes like the most successful female country artist like EVER!

  5. I will never understand why Carrie is NOT nominated for Entertainer!

    I really hope she win Female vocalist!

    She was the Top touring female country singer, was the most played female singer in country radio, was the only woman to spend 3 weeks at #1 in country radio! She have a platinum album, a platinum single and a 2 times platinum single!

    And all that in COUNTRY MUSIC!

  6. Shiela, none of us are saying that Red is a bad album, but it is a pop album that’s primarily geared toward the pop market, so some of us feel it has little to do with country music. If you disagree and feel that it does warrant a nomination, we respect that opinion.

    We spoke such of Carrie Underwood because many of us think she has made some of her career-best music this past year. We respect her for it, and think she deserves to be recognized for it. If we thought she had made poor music, I’m sure any of us would have said so (and Jonathan did acknowledge her artistic limitations), so I don’t think we’re necessarily presenting ourselves as obsessed Carrie Underwood fans. If you don’t share our appreciation for Carrie Underwood, that’s perfectly fine.

  7. Someone needs to bring a bullhorn to the ceremony and scream “CARRIE UNDERWOOD” before Shania Twain reads the name off of the EOTY envelope.

  8. Nice reply Ben. Keepin it classy.

    I agree that none of the EOTY options are great, but I would be most happy with Blake. imo his music has been consistently passable (more than I can say for the other nominees) and he’s really entertaining on the voice.

  9. “I agree that none of the EOTY options are great, but I would be most happy with Blake. imo his music has been consistently passable (more than I can say for the other nominees) and he’s really entertaining on the voice.”

    …if by “passable”, you mean the music you’d pass on before all others, then I agree completely.

  10. Uh, you guys are missing two of the nominees for Vocal Event. David Nail’s “Let It Rain” with Sarah Buxton is nominated (though it, like “Easy”, came out in 2011) and so is “The Only Way I Know” by Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Eric Church.

    I’m pulling for Jason for Entertainer. His My Kinda Party tour actually outsold Taylor’s world tour and he’s set all kinds of records with something like 80 consecutive sold out shows. He deserves it the most, IMO.

  11. Really hoping Carrie gets some love, just not getting my hopes up. I really love the Blown Away album. I’m excited for LBT they deserve it. Really appreciate CU’s opinions and reviews. You always keep it real, even if its not what we want to hear! :)

  12. I went ahead and added “Let It Rain” and “The Only Way I Know” to the Vocal Event list. For some reason they were left off early nominee lists, so they didn’t make it onto our list either.

  13. I seriously don’t get how they determine the eligibility period. HOW is an album that came out in the Summer of 2011 (Almost TWO years ago!) being considered for album of the year? What is so hard about saying anything released in the calendar year 2012 is considered for the 2013 ACMs? That’s just too logical, I guess.

    I’m also in full support of Florida-Georgia Line winning the Duo of the Year. I KNOW their music isn’t particularly country or innovative in anyway. But for some reason, I’m okay with that from them. I think it’s because, despite it’s shortcomings, it still seems authentic. Like, I can just imagine talking to them about their music and the two of them saying something like, “Yeah bro, it’s like kinda country, kinda rock, kinda hip hop…We’re just some fun dudes so we wanted to make some fun music.” I’m strangely addicted to their album.

  14. I agree with the thought that a nod for “Blown Away” for top album would only encourage Underwood and her team to keep taking chances as they move onward and upward artistically. As for the reason I believe she was not nominated for EOTY, it’s simple: She’d win again.

  15. I don’t even feel like watching the show this year. Carrie being snubbed is terrible and she doesn’t deserve it. I really wish they had a “write-in” for EOTY. I like Miranda but she has not headlined a tour as far as I know. Swift didn’t even tour last year and she really isn’t country as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been to three of Carrie’s concerts and will be going again in May. If Carrie can’t win, I’d rather see anyone but Swift get the win and I know I’m not the only one. Carrie will get the love and support from her fans who know she IS the EOTY.

  16. To Shiela:

    Carrie Underwood had 3 number one country singles this past year: Good Girl, Blown Away and Two Black Cadillacs. She’s the only female artist who managed to spend multiple weeks at #1 on the Country Airplay chart in 2012.

    Underwood is also Country Music’s TOP FEMALE TOURING ARTIST OF 2012 according to Pollstar. The first leg of her Blown Away Tour grossed 29.2 million dollars.

    Blown Away, the song, has won Best Country Song at the Grammy’s and has also earned Carrie a Grammy for ‘Best Country Vocal Performance’.

    Good Girl is a platinum single and Blown Away is a 2X platinum single.

    Thank you and have a really nice day Shiela.

  17. I feel like I should work at Country Universe – we have a lot of the same opinions. So glad to see I’m not the only sick of see Miranda and Blake win undeserved awards and Carrie being ignored by the industry and Scott Borchetta using his money to buy Taylor every award she has ever gotten. It’s funny if you think about it, people started giving Miranda awards because they were sick of Carrie winning everything, but now Miranda has been winning awards longer…

  18. Since EOTY is fan voted, CU will not be nominated…it isn’t even close. I am still of the opinion that an award of this prestige should NEVER be fan voted…and I would love if CU won it every year…switch it back to the way it was!

  19. To liveasong:

    Thank you.

    To Shiela:

    Your sarcasm is not appreciated. Look at your own artist’s stats before you start shooting off your mouth. It’s obvious to anyone who can read that Carrie had a better year in COUNTRY music in 2012.

    To the CMA nomination voters:

    You blew it.

  20. Alley, I apologize for my mistake. It must’ve come from Taylor being on Bilboard’s 2012 Top 40 Money Makers list. And while I’m acknowledging mistakes, I notice that I was also confused about who won the Single Record of the Year at the CMAs.

  21. Song and single of the year really disgust me. I can’t get over the fact that “Drinkin’ Man”, “Cost of Livin'”, “Neon” and “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” were all passed over for songs like “Over You” and “Wanted”. Heck, I’d even accept “Postcard From Paris”, “The Wind” or “El Cerrito Place” over them. I can see something obscure from a Corb Lund, Shooter Jennings or Wade Hayes getting passed over. But material from King George, Alan Jackson, Chris Young and Ronnie Dunn all getting passed over? That makes these categories loose credulity in my eyes.

  22. I’d also like to credit Tyler Farr’s ballad debut “Hello Goodbye”. That was another single, albeit from an artist of lesser status, that was unfairly snubbed in both categories. How can such thinly written, pedestrian material like “Over You” and “Wanted” beat out clearly better work? I may be a little winded in my post on this, but I’m really upset at the musical works that were excluded from both categories.

    This is like putting a third grade watercolor I drew in art class against the work of a professional painter, there not even in the same class. I guess everything is subjective in modern country and only opinion. Is popularity the only objective measure left. Well, popularity and baby-faced good looks. Is there no standard by which we can measure quality now in country music according to the mainstream? Am I the next Bob Ross or Poblo Picasso because I can find a collective of people to tell validate my self hype?

    Also, can we just quit with the disingenuous names of these two categories. Can we just change the names of the them to “Most Attractive or Cool Mainstream Pop Song by Industry Executive Approved Artist” and “Most Attractive or Cool Mainstream Pop Song Written for Hip Industry Approved Artist?”

  23. Let’s be real here: the largest Single/Song snub was Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away”. I mean, hell! The song won the GRAMMY AWARD for Best Country Song but couldn’t even get a nomination at the ACMs? Idiots.

  24. “So carrie won 6 grammy’s and had 17 #1 singles just this year. WOW she is great. Now I understand why they are drooling over her here. Write her in for EOTY with those stats. My apologies, I didn’t know she had been that successful this year. How could they ignore that I mean shes like the most successful female country artist like EVER!”

    So glad you finally came around! Nice to see you understanding the hype. We have another new Carrie fan, ladies & gents!!! Yay!

  25. Wow. This entire ballot elicited nothing but “Don’t know, don’t care” reactions from me from top to bottom. I’m tuning in, but just for the Garth Brooks/George Strait duet. I imagine I’ll be grossly dissatisfied with the other two hours, 55 minutes.


  26. My predictions:
    Entertainer of the year: Taylor Swift/Blake Shelton
    Male Vocalist of the year: Blake Shelton
    Female Vocalist of the year: Carrie Underwood
    Vocal Duo of the year: Thompson Square
    Vocal Group of the year: Little Big Town
    New Artist of the year: Brantley Gilbert
    Album of the year: Carrie Underwood – Blown Away
    Single Record of the year: Little Big Town – Pontoon
    Song of the year: Eric Church – Springsteen
    Vocal Event of the year: Kenny Chesney w/ Tim McGraw – Feels Like a Rockstar

  27. I understand that Carrie fans are upset about her not getting nominated for EOTY. She should have been nominated in that category. I agree. Yet, I am fascinated at how die-hard Carrie fans seem to think she is soooo overlooked. She is not underrated and has never been underrated. She has always gotten tons of attention from the awards,the press, and the public. She wins stuff. There are artists who are truly overlooked and not recognized by the industry the way they should be:(Gary Allan, Chris Young). But (like Taylor Swift), Carrie is not one who has been cheated of praise or attention. Tonight, she is going to win female vocalist and perhaps something else. She has always been recognized by the industry. I understand that we are talking about EOTY, but Carrie fans seem to feel as though she is the most snubbed artist on the planet. She’s not. She’s great and she’s gotten a lot in her still fairly young career.
    She will become an even bigger superstar in the next few years. Like Reba and Dolly, she will become an all around brand name. She’s in that category. For me there is something about her music that sounds incredibly safe. And I feel that too much of her production sounds like pop or late eighties or nineties guitar rock. But I seem to be the only one who thinks that. She is beloved and a huge superstar, and had a great year so she should have gotten the EOTY nod.

    I also don’t understand all the hate for Blake and Miranda. While I agree that Blake chooses terrible material to go along with his awesome voice, and that Miranda releases the wrong songs from her records, you can’t deny their (particularly her) talent. In Miranda’s case, she is a real artist with a very interesting catalogue. Whether or not you like her music or not, there is no denying that she is a serious artist who does interesting stuff. Her Pistol Annies side thing is very important to the genre. (Side note: I still don’t understand why “Boys from the South” was not released and a hit.)

    As I’ve posted here before, I think that Miranda is expected to be perfectly polished, mature, fresh, original, cutting edge-yet mainstream, and always moving the genre forward. I think what we saw with her last album is her artistic confusion regarding radio/mainstream pressures and artistic vision. Other artists are always given a pass for their potential to grow as artists. Miranda set the bar high for herself so that when she releases something that is not extraordinary, she is overly criticized. Even songs that I didn’t particularly like, such as “Fastest Girl…” or “Baggage Claim” did have a uniqueness and were an attempt at something different. If we can cut other artists some slack, then we should cut her some slack too. I mean if we can let Little Big Town get away with “Pontoon,” then we can let Miranda have “Over You” gain her some more fame.

  28. I watch this award show for the performances. It seems the Reba camp has been pushing the awards lately and even though I like some of the songs on Taylor’s Red, I go by the reaction of country radio who have only played “Begin Again”. That being said it would be a travesty for this pop album to win country album of the year. Since I think Blake will win Entertainer again (from CMAS), I think Luke will win male vocalist. I really hope Carrie wins female but probably Miranda will win again. I’m looking forward to George and Garth!

  29. Martin, Carrie’s albums have been safe, 80’s rock etc but that is why this album actually showed some creative drive. I loved “Blown Away” and “Two Black Cadillacs”, but I also love “Wine After Whiskey”, “There’s Good in Goodbye”, “God Bless Hometowns” and “Do you think about Me”. I was very shocked and disappointed that she chose “See You Again” as the next single. It’s definitely a 80’s bland, repetitious boring song. You could tell just from the A.Idol performance that the contestants were bored. She, on the other hand, perfectly sang it. But gosh, is it her that can’t figure out what is a good song? or her record label?

  30. Vicki,

    I have tried to get more into Carrie’s music and I agree that “Wine After Whiskey” is really good. I know that I’m going to get lynched for this posting. But she has not done one thing either musically or in interviews that has surprised me. There is a conservativeness/up-tightness to what she does that leaves me cold. Even when she is in top form and belting out something live, I feel that she is still not cutting loose. I know at the end of the day, it simply comes down to personal taste. But I just feel like there is a manufactured quality to her music that I just can’t get into. However, many people whose views I respect, adore her. So I keep thinking maybe I’m missing something.

  31. Everything always turns into a Carrie/Taylor debate.

    Wether it be a year end list, award predictions, a review, an iPod check, it ALWAYS becomes an Underwood vs Swift argument.

    Don’t even get me started on the Miranda fans…

  32. I’m rooting for either ZBB or BP in the group – never cared for LBT – and I’ll watch the women’s college basketball semi-final games tonight. I’m not even going to record the ACM show.

    But the future could be bright with newer artists like the Striking Matches duo (Sarah Zimmermann & Justin Davis), Kristen Kelly, Ashley Monroe, Maggie Rose and Kacey Musgraves and my second favorite group, Blue Sky Riders (Georgia Middleman, Gary Burr & Kenny Loggins). The Eagles are still #1.

  33. Martin,
    I agree with you on Miranda. Then again, I like a lot of her current album too, even if the singles haven’t been the best from it. But again, I like “Baggage Claim” and “Mama’s Broken Heart”, so “Over You” and “Fastest Girl in Town” (which I actually don’t hate) are the only disappointing singles from the album for me. I’ll have to say that I enjoy “Pontoon” much more than “Over You” though.

  34. @Jonathan Keefe
    Can I ask which tracks you would consider making Taylor’s brilliant EP? I want to know if we are on the same train of thought.

  35. Leeann, I loved Pontoon until the local country radio station played it month, after month, after month, then I would turn the station every time it came on as I was so sick of it. “Tornado” is sure awesome!

  36. I just read the comments and felt the need to leave my own.

    Everyone who is saying that Carrie didn’t get nominated because she would win because it’s fan voted and is getting snubbed because of it needs to take a look at Taylor’s fan base. She wins practically every fan voted award and possibly has one of the biggest, consistent fan bases (outside of Justin Beiber) then she shouldn’t be nominated either.

    As a Swift fan from the start of her career, I agree that she is no longer country. She knows it too. Her record label pushes the country market because people like her because they remember her from seven years ago. Out of the 14 songs on that album, there are maybe half that I feel have a country fit to them. But no one can deny that this is lyrically and musically her best album yet and she will undoubtably be just as successful with it as she was with Fearless in other award shows. That album, by the way, is the most awarded album in country music and I wouldn’t be surprised if Red didn’t become one of the most awarded albums ever.

    As for the eligiblity period for voting which started in summer of 2011, Taylor was still on the USA leg of her Speak Now World Tour, selling out stadiums and arenas including two nights at Madison Square Garden. She launched a second fragrance at that time to and “Mean” was #1 on country radio. Proceed to 2012 when she sold out Australia and New Zealand, which included the top grossing stop of the 110+ shows. She wrote and recorded her new album, she did the movie The Lorax, she also put Red out which sold over a million in the first week.

    Now, as a Swift fan, do I think she deserves it? Not really – she didn’t do as much when she’s won it in the past years. Do I think she’ll win it – probably. Will she win it again? Of course.

  37. @ Gator:

    On my iPod, I’ve condensed Red to this playlist: “State of Grace,” “Starlight,” “Treacherous,” “All Too Well,” “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “Holy Ground,” and “Begin Again.”

    It ends up with an effective but not heavy-handed narrative arc, cuts the songs on which she repeats similar themes to diminishing returns, includes a couple of the recurring lyrical motifs that she does really well, and keeps what I think are the best-produced and best-written tracks.

  38. And just for a second take, this’d be my Red EP (since I think we can all agree it needs some trimmin’):

    “State of Grace”
    “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
    “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”
    “Holy Ground”
    “Everything Has Changed”

    I think the album’s got great uptempo/full-on pop sense; the ballads I find mostly dreary. “Red” and “We Are Never Ever…” have their respective annoyances, but I think they also demonstrate some of her strengths and important aspects of her identity, so I can’t exclude them.

  39. I’m a huge Carrie fan, and yes, she did deserve more nominations.

    However, there is a long history of successful artists with great stats being ignored, so it doesn’t surprise me in the least.

    That said, I think Carrie is releasing the best music of her career right now, and it’s artistically better than what most of the males are releasing right now.

    Yes, she deserves to be recognized, but this won’t be the first or last time a superstar has been shut out from the big categories. No matter what happens, she’ll still have the fan support and big numbers at the end of the day. The impact of the music and growth of the artist matters far more than a few awards, and Carrie is moving in the right direction.

  40. “Everything always turns into a Carrie/Taylor debate.

    Wether it be a year end list, award predictions, a review, an iPod check, it ALWAYS becomes an Underwood vs Swift argument.

    Don’t even get me started on the Miranda fans…”

    What are you talking about? I’ve only seen one comment on something being Taylor vs. Carrie, and that’s from Shiela. This has been very tame.

    It’s evident that Carrie’s snubbings are extremely unfair this year at the ACMs. Nothing’s a war like what you’re making it out to be.

  41. I’d agree with your list Jonathan, but “State of Grace” has definite been a slow grower on me. With that said, I do find “22” oddly appealing. Besides that, I view “We Are Never..” and “Stay Stay Stay” as novel for when I am in the mood, and I think “Red” is possibly the worse song in her repertoire. It just irritates me and makes me cringe at how terrible it is lyrically.

    I will also add that I think Carrie Underwood condensing her album down to about 7 or 8 tracks would have made another excellent EP from an overall good album. Actually same with Miranda’s last album too. Maybe the acts should start making shorter CDs in general?

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