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2010 CMA Awards: Staff Picks and Predictions

November 8, 2010 Tara Seetharam 30

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!

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CMA 2010: Female Trouble

September 3, 2010 Kevin John Coyne 85

It’s pretty rare that the CMA nominations garner much attention outside of the country music press, but the always excellent Whitney Pastorek at Entertainment Weekly has a lengthy article trying to rationalize the exclusion of Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift from the Entertainer category.

It’s amazing that in a year where a record was set for the most nominations by a female artist, there can still be a valid accusation of gender bias among the nominations. Women have been poorly represented in the Entertainer category for pretty much the entire history of the CMA Awards. Even when you include duos or groups with female members, there have never been more than two out of five nominees that are women.

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2010 CMA Nominations

September 1, 2010 Kevin John Coyne 125

Last month, I suggested an infusion of new blood at the CMA Awards. They’ve exceeded even my wildest expectations, rejecting the usual nominees in nearly every race. Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band, and Dierks Bentley have quite a bit to celebrate, but this year’s awards belong to Miranda Lambert, who earned a stunning nine nominations, a record for a female artist.

Let’s take a look at this year’s nominees:


  • Lady Antebellum
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Brad Paisley
  • Keith Urban
  • Zac Brown Band

Who’s In: Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Zac Brown Band

Who’s Out: Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Taylor Swift

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Picking the CMA Nominees: Female Vocalist of the Year

August 19, 2010 Kevin John Coyne 77

In the Entertainer and Male Vocalist races, I’ve been making the case for fresh blood. In those categories, the routine nominees are mostly past their peaks, and there’s room to let some rising stars in on the action.

Oh, to be able to make the same case for the Female Vocalist race. Let’s take a look at last year’s nominees:


  • Miranda Lambert
  • Martina McBride
  • Reba McEntire
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood

For the first time in this category’s history, I believe voters are facing a dilemma that plagued the Vocal Duo category for most of the nineties: there just aren’t enough worthy nominees to finish out the category.

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Picking the CMA Nominees: Male Vocalist of the Year

August 15, 2010 Kevin John Coyne 25

If turnover has been slow in the Entertainer category, it’s been nothing less than glacial in the Male Vocalist race. Over the past ten years, only eleven men have received nominations. Four of those eleven – Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill, Darius Rucker, and Josh Turner – have been nominated only once.

Now, Toby Keith and Tim McGraw were regularly invited to the party in the first half of the last decade, with four and three nominations, respectively. But the race has essentially been dominated by the same five men: Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, George Strait, and Keith Urban, who combine for forty nominations in just one decade.

The recent history has been pretty boring. After two consecutive wins by Alan Jackson, we’ve had three consecutive wins each by Keith Urban and reigning champ Brad Paisley.

Will there be a new winner this year, or even a new nominee? Should there be?

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Picking the CMA Nominees: Entertainer of the Year

July 30, 2010 Kevin John Coyne 49

As we did last year, it’s time to share our preferences for this year’s CMA Awards. Last year, Taylor Swift was the belle of the ball, winning four awards. Some long winning streaks came to an end, as Swift replaced both Kenny Chesney as Entertainer of the Year and Carrie Underwood as Female Vocalist of the Year. Lady Antebellum ended Rascal Flatts’ long run as top Vocal Group, and were the surprise winners of Single of the Year as well.

Once again. I’ve selected the five artists that I believe are most deserving of an Entertainer of the Year nomination. But first, let’s take a look at last year’s race:

Entertainer of the Year (2009)

  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley
  • George Strait
  • Taylor Swift
  • Keith Urban

Swift was victorious in her first nomination in this category. She competed against three previous winners: Kenny Chesney, who has gone 4 for 8 in this category; Keith Urban, who is 1 for 5; and the incomparable George Strait, who is 2 for 17. Brad Paisley lost for the fifth year, tying Kenny Rogers for the most nominations without a win.

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CMA Live Blog 2009

November 11, 2009 Kevin John Coyne 462

CMA AwardsWinners

Musician of the Year – Mac McAnally

Musical Event of the Year – “Start A Band”, Brad Paisley & Keith Urban

Music Video of the Year – “Love Story”, Taylor Swift

Single of the Year – “I Run To You”, Lady Antebellum

Song of the Year – “In Color”, Jamey Johnson, Lee Thomas Miller, James Otto

Vocal Group of the Year – Lady Antebellum

New Artist of the Year – Darius Rucker

Album of the Year – Fearless, Taylor Swift

Vocal Duo of the Year – Sugarland

Male Vocalist of the Year – Brad Paisley

Female Vocalist of the Year – Taylor Swift

Entertainer of the Year – Taylor Swift

– – –

11:05 DM: Final tally of CMA staff predictions: Leeann – 9, Dan – 7, Tara – 6, Kevin – 5 (not counting Video). Leeann triumphs again! Thanks for joining us, everyone!

11:04 KC: Artists who have won 4 CMA awards in one night: Johnny Cash. Merle Haggard. Vince Gill. Alison Krauss. Dixie Chicks. Taylor Swift.

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CMA Awards: Predictions and Personal Picks

November 8, 2009 Kevin John Coyne 83

The CMA Awards are upon us again, and I must say that this is the most underwhelming lineup I’ve ever seen, and I started watching the show back in 1991. We’ll be back to live blog the festivities on Wednesday night. In the meantime, enjoy our personal picks in each category, along with who we think will actually win.

brad-paisleyEntertainer of the Year

Should Win:
  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley – Leeann, Tara
  • George Strait
  • Taylor Swift – Kevin, Dan
  • Keith Urban
Will Win:
  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley – Kevin, Leeann, Tara
  • George Strait
  • Taylor Swift – Dan
  • Keith Urban
Kevin: Much like the field finally cleared for him in the Male Vocalist race two years ago, I expect that this is Paisley’s year to win with his sixth nomination. I think Taylor Swift deserves to win, though. There’s no getting around the fact that she’s the biggest thing out there right now.

Leeann: I won’t be shocked (or really even disappointed) if Taylor Swift picks it up, but I really feel it’s finally Brad’s year.

Dan: Swift is the face of the genre right now, and she’s putting out better-written material than many of the veterans in this category. It looks like a race between her and Paisley, and I think she may actually get it.

Tara: It wouldn’t be inappropriate for Swift to take this award, and I would much (understatement) prefer her to win this over the vocalist award. But to me, Paisley is the all-around entertainer, and I think it’s his year to be recognized.

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If It’s Comin’ from the Country , It’s Comin’ from the Heart

September 13, 2009 Leeann Ward 5

Country Universe reader, Sheldon, brought this clip to my attention. It’s Dolly Parton singing a song that was specially written for the opening of the 1988 CMA awards that she was hosting that year. Oh, how I wish the Association would have Dolly and Vince host the show someday. But alas, that’s beside the point. Enjoy this fun video.

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CMA Noms ’09

September 9, 2009 Dan Milliken 78


It’s that time of year again! For each category, we’ll look at who’s broken in since last year, who’s been booted out, plus some initial thoughts. As always, we invite you to share your own opinions in the comments. Without further ado:

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