2007 CMA Awards: Predictions & Personal Picks

Here are my predictions and personal picks for the 2006 CMA Awards, which airs live on ABC at 8 Eastern/7 Central on Wednesday, Nov. 7. Feel free to disagree in the comments, and don’t forget to chime in on our “My Favorite CMA Moment” contest before the show begins!

Country Universe will be live-blogging the show tomorrow night. See ya then!

2007 CMA Awards: Predictions & Personal Picks


  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley
  • Rascal Flatts
  • George Strait
  • Keith Urban

Prediction: Kenny Chesney. I wouldn’t call him a slam dunk, but Chesney’s huge ticket sales and continued success at radio and retail, coupled with the CMA being reluctant to honor Rascal Flatts outside of the Vocal Group category, make me think he’ll win his third trophy in four years here. I wouldn’t count out George Strait, given his strength across the ballot, but he hasn’t won since 1990, not even when he came back to win big in at the 1996-1998 awards in other major categories.

Personal Pick: Keith Urban. I think Paisley deserves it for his improvement on the road and domination of radio, but Urban’s fantastic album and electrifying stage presence would get him my vote.

Male Vocalist

  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley
  • George Strait
  • Josh Turner
  • Keith Urban

Prediction: Brad Paisley. Once again, he’s the top nominee, and this is the place that voters are most likely to honor him. He won the ACM trophy earlier this year, and this is his seventh nomination, so he’s long overdue. His biggest threat? My guess would be George Strait, who ties him in nominations and has won five times before, most recently in 1998.

Personal Pick: Josh Turner. I have a lot of affection for Strait and for Urban, but with eight wins between them, I’m hoping that Turner gets this. He’s simply the best singer among the three who have yet to win this award.

Female Vocalist

  • Alison Krauss
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Martina McBride
  • Reba McEntire
  • Carrie Underwood

Prediction: Carrie Underwood. The competition is stiffer this year for last year’s winner, with a resurgent Reba McEntire having stunning success with her duets project, and a lot of grassroots support for Miranda Lambert, who made a better album than just about everybody on the CMA ballot, not just those in this category. Still, Underwood’s success is so far ahead of every other nominee, and her base of support so strong, that I’d be shocked if she doesn’t win.

Personal Pick: Alison Krauss. How amazing is this woman? She’s having strong commercial success without any radio support, and is so in demand as a collaborator that she’s splitting her time between Vince Gill, Robert Plant and John Waite. Krauss has emerged as the genre’s most unlikely ambassador, the Emmylou Harris of her generation. For “Jacob’s Dream” alone, she should get this award.

Vocal Duo

  • Big & Rich
  • Brooks & Dunn
  • Montgomery Gentry
  • Sugarland
  • The Wreckers

Prediction: Sugarland. With “Stay” pushing an already-strong album back up the charts, and Brooks & Dunn having a low profile most of this year, I really believe the torch will be passed in this category. For one year, at least. Big & Rich have a shot at this, too. If Brooks & Dunn manage to pull off another win, it will be the biggest disappointment of the night, not to mention a tremendous injustice.

Personal Pick: Sugarland. I’m still not as big a fan of their second album as I am of their first, but they’re the only act of the five that seems to be demonstrating artistic growth. Plus I just like Jennifer Nettles. That lady can sing.

Vocal Group

  • Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas
  • Dixie Chicks
  • Emerson Drive
  • Little Big Town
  • Rascal Flatts

Prediction: Rascal Flatts. They’ve got to give them something, even if it means that they’ll become the second-most honored group in history, behind only The Statler Brothers.

Personal Pick: Dixie Chicks. Between the tour, the documentary and the Grammys, they had quite a high profile during the eligibility period, working an album that was better than anything else released last year. Plus, I really, really like them, so they’ll be my personal pick in just about any year.

Horizon Award

  • Jason Aldean
  • Rodney Atkins
  • Little Big Town
  • Kellie Pickler
  • Taylor Swift

Prediction: Taylor Swift. I think the CMA will follow the money trail and give the biggest-selling new artist her due. Kellie Pickler might have an edge, being the only act on a major label, but I seriously doubt that there is enough support throughout the CMA to push her across the finish line.

Personal Pick: Rodney Atkins. As my personal tastes go, it’s a tough call between Atkins and Aldean, but I think the former made a better second album, so I’ll go with him.


  • Dierks Bentley, Long Trip Alone
  • Vince Gill, These Days
  • Brad Paisley, 5th Gear
  • George Strait, It Just Comes Natural
  • Keith Urban, Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy Thing

Prediction: Vince Gill. I’m thinking that at least one Hall of Fame inductee will get to speak on the telecast after all. Don’t be shocked if he uses his time to honor the other inductees instead of himself.

Personal Pick: Vince Gill. It shouldn’t always fall on the Grammys to honor great work by veteran artists, and while I also loved the Bentley and Urban albums, I think Gill deserves the trophy for his ambitious four-CD set of all-new material.


  • “Anyway” – Martina McBride
  • “Before He Cheats” – Carrie Underwood
  • “Lost in This Moment” – Big & Rich
  • “Ticks” – Brad Paisley
  • “Wrapped” – George Strait

Prediction: Carrie Underwood. This is the frothiest set of nominees in years, and I think that the mega-hit “Before He Cheats” will win, but keep an eye on “Anyway.” It’s the only option for voters wanting to pick something a bit deeper.

Personal Pick: Carrie Underwood. It’s a friggin’ great single, y’all, and she sang the hell out of it. I have affection for “Anyway”, but the production is too big at the end for my tastes.


  • ”Anyway” – Martina McBride/Brad Warren/Brett Warren
  • “Before He Cheats” – Josh Kear/Chris Tompkins
  • “Give it Away” – Bill Anderson/Buddy Cannon/Jamey Johnson
  • “Lost in This Moment” – John Rich/Keith Anderson/Rodney Clawson
  • “Stupid Boy” – Dave Berg/Deanna Bryant/Sarah Buxton

Prediction: “Anyway” – Martina McBride/Brad Warren/Brett Warren.
McBride wrote a beautiful song with the Warren Brothers, borrowed as it was from Mother Teresa via Hallmark. Also, Bill Anderson and Buddy Cannon’s presence on “Give it Away” make it a serious contender, slight as the song itself is.

Personal Pick: “Anyway” – Martina McBride/Brad Warren/Brett Warren.
It’s a tough call for me between “Anyway” and “Stupid Boy”, but I think there’s a lot of truth in McBride’s song and it’s really grown on me over time.

Musical Event

  • “Because of You” – Reba McEntire & Kelly Clarkson
  • “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” – Tracy Lawrence, Kenny Chesney & Tim McGraw
  • “Hey Good Lookin’ (Live)” – Jimmy Buffett, George Strait & Alan Jackson
  • “Missing You” – Alison Krauss & John Waite
  • “The Reason Why” – Vince Gill & Alison Krauss

Prediction: Reba McEntire & Kelly Clarkson. This is the logical place to acknowledge Reba’s extraordinary comeback, though they could also tip their hat to Tracy Lawrence’s return to the top of the charts. McEntire’s the safe bet, though.

Personal Pick: Alison Krauss & John Waite. Love the original, love the remake. I’m also fond of “The Reason Why”, but since that’s just a harmony guest spot, I’ll go with the full collaboration.

Music Video

  • “Anyway” – Martina McBride
  • “Before He Cheats” – Carrie Underwood
  • “Moments” – Emerson Drive
  • “Online” – Brad Paisley
  • “You Save Me” – Kenny Chesney

Prediction: Carrie Underwood. Brad’s a favorite in this category, and wouldn’t be a shocking winner. But I think that Underwood’s iconic clip for “Before He Cheats” will win.

Personal Pick: Martina McBride. I thought the concept was clever and well-executed. It’s the only video of the five that I actually stop and watch.


  1. George Strait deserves male vocalist of the year. He is in a league of his own when it comes to pure vocals. While the others may be good singers, George Strait is one of the master vocalists of our time, in any genre. There’s no reason he shouldn’t win this award every year. I also believe his album should win album of the year. The entire album is full of songs that have the potential to be #1 singles. The quality and quantity of the songs on “It Just Comes Natural” are far above any songs I have heard this year on any country album. George Strait is a phenom in country music and should be honored as such.

  2. I love Josh Turner and if the Male Vocalist category were just a matter of vocal quality, I’d probably give him this one. However, the CMA obviously also takes into account chart stuff, sales, touring, etc., and given all that, I’d sooner give it to Keith again (for also being a talented and distinct vocalist and taking what I consider a sizable commercial risk in releasing such an unconventional album) or Brad (who is, as you said, quite deserving of some props in this category).

  3. I have to agree on Vocal Duo, this seems to be Sugarland’s year…but I do not agree about vocal event. Tracy Lawrence with Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw is one of the most played songs of the year and it deserved to win, especially after all of the troubles that it has had. I also agree about the Dixie Chicks, but as we all know that will never happen but I can wish but if not them I would love for LBT to win because they have had a great year and just released a great album this week.

  4. Strongly disagree with the duo. Saw all of the noms this year in concert except for the Wreckers and B&D are heads and shoulders above the rest. I can see Sugarland winning it in a year or so since they have improved quite a bit since I saw them last year, but still have a ways to go yet to be at the same level of professionalism. Think B&D have done a lot of behind the scene things this year to give them the prize once again.

  5. I wish the industry would just leave the money out it and go for the pure talent…….if that miracle happened I believe Keith Urban would surely get EOTY! I’ve read so many great reviews of his shows and I attended one in June and it was outstanding. I know so many love Brad Paisley, but he is just boring to me. Haven’t really gotten into Josh Turner’s voice…..not crazy about that deep voice. I do like Keith’s and George’s voices a lot! I just have to say….I’m totally sick of Kenny Chesney all the way around. To me, he is way overrated and he puts on variety shows instead of concerts. Without all those other acts, I don’t think he would sell all those tickets. But that’s just my opinion. Just like I use to like Kenny until he is shoved down your throats just like they are doing with Carrie U. even though I think she actually can sing.


    Prediction: Kenny Chesney or Brad Paisley. Kenny’s had a big year, which three songs that have spent at least three weeks at #1 each. Plus, he’s won this award for a few years now. Brad Paisley has also had a big year though. He has also brought in a few #1 this year. Personally, I’m going to have to hope Brad wins, because after hearing Kenny’s latest boring hits (especially Shiftwork, which has such a terrible melody that I can’t even listen to the song), I simply can’t give him my vote. Brad has been the most entertaining person this year.

    Personal Pick: Brad Paisley. Despite the fact that I really like Keith Urban’s album, Brad has released two entertaining singles, and all three of his singles cover different, interesting topics. And I can’t forget to mention his stellar guitar work. Like I said before, he is the most entertaining.


    Prediction: Brad Paisley. I think I’ve said everything I need to say about Brad Paisley.

    Personal Pick: Keith Urban. I hadn’t really taken much notice to Keith Urban until I got his latest album. It turned me into a fan. What can I say?


    Prediction: Carrie Underwood. There’s no denying it: Carrie has a massive year. I think this success will win her the award again.

    Personal Pick: Carrie Underwood. Carrie continually brings out songs that I like. From Jesus Take The Wheel, to Before He Cheats, to So Small, I can’t help but like what she’s doing. I also like Because Of You, and I hope Reba takes this award if Carrie doesn’t.


    Prediction: Sugarland. Based on the fact that Brooks & Dunn have won this award over and over and over again, I think they could come away with it again, but I have to agree that Brooks & Dunn haven’t been the most exciting duo lately, and Sugarland continually release interesting material. Want To and Stay are stunning, and Jennifer’s voice is amazing, so I agree with Kevin that it would be an injustice for Sugarland to not take this award.

    Personal Pick: Sugarland. I guess I just stated why I think Sugarland should take this award. I also like Big & Rich but I haven’t liked their latest music as much. I prefered old hits such as Live This Life, 8th Of November, and some of their left-of-center, original songs. I haven’t heard their entire third album yet though, so I can’t say for certain how I feel.


    Prediction: Rascal Flatts. Rascal Flatts is another act that has been huge lately, so I have to believe that they will steal this award again.

    Personal Pick: Emerson Drive. I have been exposed to Emerson Drive constantly through my fairly short time loving country music, and their smash hit “Moments” is one of my fav. songs. That’s why I hope they take this award, even though they likely have no chance in getting it. Other than that, I like Rascal Flatts, and won’t be disappointed if they win again.


    Prediction: Rodney Atkins. Rodney Atkins has delivered several different topics to viewers effectively and interestingly. As awkward as that sentence was, I believe it. He’s had a big year at radio. I do think Taylor Swift has a shot at this one though.

    Personal Pick: Rodney Atkins. Rodney Atkins hasn’t disappointed me with any of his singles, and continues to be diverse and unique. I hope he wins. I would have sai8d Jason Aldean, but his latest album has been disappointing.


    Prediction: Brad Paisley. Although I haven’t heard 5th Gear, I’ve heard all three singles, and I’ve heard good things about it. I don’t think it’s a sure thing, but I think he could win this one.

    Personal Pick: Dierks Bentley. I’ve always liked Dirks Bentley. I’ve liked song like What Was I Thinkin’, Lot Of Leavin’, and Settle For A Slowdown, but Every Mile A Memory is the song that really won me over. In fact, this album won me over. My second place choice would have to be Keith Urban. I really like his album, with my only complaint being that almost all of the songs are about love. Country albums usually have a lot of love songs, but it seems more obvious on this album. But I like it anyway.


    Prediction: Carrie Underwood. What can I say? This is a huge hit, a crossover hit, and it is amazing!

    Personal Pick: Carrie Underwood. Same comment as above.


    Prediction: Martina McBride or George Strait. Martina’s single is very inspiring, George’s is very interesting. I can’t decide between the two, and both were successful at radio.

    Personal Pick: Martina McBride. I’ve never been a fan of George Strait, which has to do with the fact that I’m from the next generation of country music and don’t have the same traditionalist tastes, and although Give It Away is one of the few songs of his that I actually like, I have to hope Martina wins this award. It’s inspirational, and naturally, she can sing some higher notes.


    Prediction: Tracy Lawrence. There’s not a lot I can say other than I just have a feeling on this one. And it was successful on radio. The biggest competition would be Reba and Kelly, who I hope win this instead.

    Personal Pick: Reba McEntire w/ Kelly Clarkson. I’m kind of a shallow music listener in that the songs with the best tunes (in my opinion), are my favorites. I really love the tune of this song, and the way it sounds, so I hope it wins.


    Prediction: Brad Paisley. This is one of the best music videos. Ever. I like videos that have a story to them, and aren’t just a concert video or have a white background, and this one has an interesting story and some humor. Carrie Underwood is probably the biggest competition.

    Personal Pick: Emerson Drive. As I’ve said, Moments is one of my fav. songs, and it is sung amazingly well and is packed with emotion. The video is simple and effective, and I hope it wins.

  7. I adore you for your love of the Chicks. I’m with you all the way on that. For entertainer of the year, I’m rooting for Keith Urban. The reviews of his concerts are amazing, and he doesn’t seem to rely on cheap tricks, silly cover songs or gimmicks. His honesty and guitar playing carry him through. That said, I don’t think he’s country…but who is anymore?

    Also for female…I will vote for Alison Krauss or Miranda Lambert over Carrie or Reba anyday. That may just be personal taste though…I seem to be the only one who can’t stand Sugarland, so what do I know?

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