Kenny Chesney's Not a Fan of ACM's Fan-Voted Entertainer Award

2008 ACM Entertainer of

the Year Kenny Chesney has gone on record to protest this year’s change that made the category fan-voted:

“The entertainer of the year trophy is supposed to represent heart and passion and an amazing amount of sacrifice, commitment and focus,” he said. “That’s the way Garth won it four times, that’s the way I won it, that’s the way (George) Strait won it, Reba (McEntire), Alabama all those years. That’s what it’s supposed to represent.”

He said his complaint is directed at the industry, not the fans — and that the method amounted to “complete disrespect” of the artists, saying the academy turned the award “into a sweepstakes to see who can push people’s buttons the hardest on the Internet.”

I think he makes a good point. Thoughts?


  1. Well, it’s not like Chesney speaks out all too often. So, I’m thinking it must feel a little embarrassing for him to win the ward this way when it’s typically an industry award. He’s not niave enough to ignore the fact that his peers have pretty much already discounted the integrity of the award. So, he probably felt he needed to speak to that. I’m sure those who voted for him will be miffed, but everyone knows that Chesney cares about his fans, so an argument in that direction would be moot. Interesting, nonetheless.

  2. I would argue, however, that it’s likely that the industry did have some say in the final results of the award. Usually, the RF boys seem to have the loudest and most dedicated fans on the internet. So, all logic would predict that their fans would push “the most buttons” for this award. Yet, Kenny won in the end.

  3. I’m glad that he said that, because I completely agree. They were talking about this quote on the radio station I listen too, and the dj said that they got at least four emails this weekend telling them to vote for Rascal Flats. It kind of turned it into a campaign to see who could get the most people to vote for them, rather than then just letting the fans pick without being influenced by email, etc. I’m pretty sure the industy had some say as well, because on the voting website it said that it was a combination if fan votes and industry.

  4. I agree with Kenny. In an internet voting contest, who is going to win – George Strait or Rascal Flatts? The age, wealth and tech-saavy of the fans matters in a contest like this, which takes it out of being a fair and believable contest.

    Speaking of Rascal Flatts, they REALLY wanted to win this. They tried offering a free mp3 for people who voted for them. When the Academy found out, they subtracted those votes. After hearing about Kenny’s comment, they reiterated that fan-voting was the only way to go. I wonder why? ;)

  5. This is a bit hypocritical though, because at last week’s Kenny Chesney concert in Baltimore, in between each musical act, a commercial was aired on the big screen telling fans to vote for Kenny for ACM Entertainer of the Year.

  6. I don’t have faith anymore in any of these award shows! Keith Urban, to me, is the real entertainer. He will always have to be in Kenny Chesney’s shadow because he’s Australian. Keith has way more talent than Kenny. JMO!

  7. I’ve always thought in a similar way in how starters for sports All-Star teams are selected. They are also selected by the fans and most of the time, one can vote many many times. Its a popularity contest, not a real measure of a persons success in their field. However, I recognize that nowadays, its bad business to take power out of the fan’s hands and that while the award may be marginalized a small bit, the value of giving the fans the power to select it is better for the industry. Awards only mean something if the fans recognize them as legit and the best way to ensure that is to allow fan input and make them care. All this being said, the Entertainer of the Year award means little to me, as I usually prefer the artists with smaller tours or the artists opening for the Kenny Chesney’s or Keith Urbans.

  8. yeah, why on earth should the folks that go to the shows and buy the music be entitled to have an opinion and voting power on who’s been entertaining them best? what a completely weird concept that is!

    anyway, nice example of truely original thinking from someone who was thinking that any woman could be thinking that his tractor is sexy.

    it is only a rumour that he dedicated this award to the sperm that actually made it that night when his parents had that now famous sex resulting….. isn’t it?

  9. Tom,

    I don’t think Kenny has a problem with fans being able to vote for an award. I think his problem has more to do with the fact that any one person could have voted a thousand times if he/she felt inclined to do so. The fan voted award would seem more valid if a person could only vote once, such as in the case of political elections.

  10. leeann,

    do you think that Reba, Garth, George Strait or the guys from Alabama (Kenny Chesney brought them up) would have been so worried and insecure about their standing at the time? competition was fierce too, back then.

    most probably, there would have been as many potential multi-voters in his fan-base as in those of the other nominees. but i believe that the vast majority of the people who took part in the voting were looking for a fair outcome and the final result confirms that in my view. after all it’s only entertainment.

    there was nothing wrong with the concept, nothing wrong with the process, nothing wrong with the outcome but what about the winner and his thinking…..?!?

  11. Tom, I don’t think I completely understand your question. Come again?

    I’m not even a Kenny enthusiast. I simply understand his misgivings about how the award was decided.

    I think, back when the fan voted thing was announced, that Brad Paisley admitted to feeling a bit nervous about how the whole thing was going to be executed as well. The whole fan voted concept is all fine and good if it is, indeed, fair, which one being able to vote a bunch of times (and nobody is going to convince me that that didn’t occur) is certainly not fair, in my opinion. This is the big reason that I can’t take the cmt awards seriously.

    In the end though, I guess the fan votes, in a very loose way, is like the popular votes in an election and the industry who also voted and reserved the right to make the final decision was like the super delegates?

  12. I think he has a point. As much fun as it was to vote for someone this time, I don’t think they should have it this way from now on. Because fans will of course vote for their favortie, and that’s great and all, but the artist would rather probably be voted on by the people or board who votes for all the other awards. The artist would feel more confident that they won the vote based on their music mostly, while some people could just vote on other things, looks,etc.

  13. Kenny has a valid point and he didn’t say he wants the fans to be completely out of it. He just said that the industry should be a part of it too. Didn’t the “Humanitarian Award” get voted on? If so there’s the RF vote.

  14. Does the humanitarian award get voted on by fans anymore? I know it used to, but for some reason, I thought it didn’t anymore.

  15. I was surprised myself when they made it fan voted. It does keep the most deserving artist from winning it and we’ll never know who would have really had it or if Kenny really would have won it.

    I think that is Kenny’s concern, not that the fans made the wrong choice but that the academy would have chosen the most deserving over the fan’s most popular. Good for Kenny for speaking up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.