2008 CMA Nominations

Kenny Chesney, this year's top nominee (seven categories).


  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley
  • George Strait
  • Sugarland
  • Keith Urban

Who’s In: Sugarland

Who’s Out: Rascal Flatts

Male Vocalist

  • Kenny Chesney
  • Alan Jackson
  • Brad Paisley
  • George Strait
  • Keith Urban

Who’s In: Alan Jackson

Who’s Out: Josh Turner

Female Vocalist

  • Alison Krauss
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Martina McBride
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood

Who’s In: Taylor Swift

Who’s Out: Reba McEntire

Vocal Duo

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

Who’s In: The same ol’ peoples from last year.

Who’s Out:…Yup.

Vocal Group

  • Eagles
  • Emerson Drive
  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town
  • Rascal Flatts

Who’s In: Eagles, Lady Antebellum

Who’s Out: Alison Krauss & Union Station, Dixie Chicks

New Artist

  • Jason Aldean
  • Rodney Atkins
  • Lady Antebellum
  • James Otto
  • Kellie Pickler

Who’s In: Lady Antebellum, James Otto

Who’s Out: Little Big Town (have been nominated the maximum two times), Taylor Swift (won last year)


  • Brooks & Dunn, Cowboy Town
  • Kenny Chesney, Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates
  • Alan Jackson, Good Time
  • George Strait, Troubadour
  • Carrie Underwood, Carnival Ride


  • “Don’t Blink” – Kenny Chesney
  • “Gunpowder & Lead” – Miranda Lambert
  • “I Saw God Today” – George Strait
  • “Stay” – Sugarland
  • “You’re Gonna Miss This” – Trace Adkins


  • “Good Time” – Alan Jackson
  • “I Saw God Today” – Rodney Clawson/Monty Criswell/Wade Kirby
  • “Letter to Me” – Brad Paisley
  • “Stay” – Jennifer Nettles
  • “You’re Gonna Miss This” – Ashley Gorley/Lee Thomas Miller

Musical Event

  • “Another Try” – Josh Turner featuring Trisha Yearwood
  • “Every Other Weekend” – Reba McEntire & Kenny Chesney
  • “Gone, Gone, Gone” – Alison Krauss & Robert Plant
  • “Life In A Northern Town” – Sugarland featuring Little Big Town & Jake Owen
  • “Shiftwork” – Kenny Chesney (duet with George Strait)

Music Video

  • “Don’t Blink” – Kenny Chesney
  • “Good Time” – Alan Jackson
  • “Stay” – Sugarland
  • “Waitin’ on a Woman” – Brad Paisley
  • “You’re Gonna Miss This” – Trace Adkins


  • Jerry Douglas
  • Paul Franklin
  • Dann Huff
  • Brent Mason
  • Mac McAnally


We will be discussing the nominations in tonight’s and tomorrow night’s Discussion posts, so just let your excitement/disappointment stew until then!


  1. can not believe sugarland over rascal flatts and carrie underwood, glad they are in cause at least there is one woman in the mix but i still think they got it wrong there.

  2. To be totally honest, Carrie Underwood and Sugarland don’t deserve EOTY nominations.
    Underwood is only averaging 6,500 a concert according to billboardd and even at that low capacity many are not sold out.
    And I think voters don’t consider much or an entertainer and think she has very little charsima.
    Sugarland are averaging even less per concert than Underwood but I guess the voters think they are a very entertaining duo.
    The rascal flatts deserved the nomination instead of Sugarland.

  3. Taylor Swift for Female Vocalist? No.
    Alan Jackson for Music Video? No.

    Some strange stuff, and some predictable stuff.


  4. Although I expected as much, the CMA seems to be taking fewer and fewer risks as far as the nominations go. I mean, people used to always talk about the CMAs as the award show that didn’t simply honor those who are the most commercially successful. While there are some exceptions (Miranda Lambert, Allison Krauss, “Stay”), this year’s nominees make that reputation seem baseless.

  5. Who’s In: Taylor Swift
    Who’s Out: Reba McEntire

    Kenny received 7 nominations.

    That kind of sums up the nominations for me. Ah…popularity contests…

  6. The only real surprise for me was Sugarland. I knew the other four nominees for Entertainer were a lock but there was that fifth spot that was hard to predict. I thought it would be Rascal Flatts or Alan Jackson. But congrats to Sugarland! I love them and I think they’re just as deserving as the other nominees.

    Also, why are The Wreckers still be nominated?? Haven’t they broken up?? Surely there has to be some other duo out there that has done something in the past year.

    Other than that no surprises…I predicted at least four nominees in every category. So yea…but congrats to ALL the nominees!

  7. I will probably be in a serious minority but I thought the Reba/Justin Timberlake duet was the best collaboration of the year. It was wonderful.

    I thought this was a down year for Chesney, maybe even a turning point. I am very surprised to see him with all those noms.

    It tends to be the same people all the time but this year it’s the same “few” people. It’s not fun to see the same names in every category.

  8. Any organization that stiffs Rascal Flatts deserves our complete, unadultered love. That’s all I can focus on right now. Everything is coming up butterflies and gumdrops.

  9. to jake yes rascal flatts should of been there instead of sugarland, but carrie underwood should of been there over both of them. you should read kevin’s article on aug 13 for etoy
    and he gives the definition of it the criteria, and he picks carrie to be the winner. i don’t know about the winner but she at the very least deserved the nomination. and you might want to check your stats for CU she sells out 87% of her shows which average 7500 – 9000 not every etoy has to do stadiums and these guys don’t do stadiums on their own they bring a whole slue of artist with them so it really is just their concert. there was such a high demand for her tickets while the other nominees are almost finished performing tours for the year, she has added a fall tour all the way to the end of dec.
    she will of been on tour just shy of one year. non of the others can say that. and we don’t need to mention all her other acheivments that make her more qualified as per the criteria of etoy, the cma really got it wrong once again. but sure hope kenny doesn’t win i don’t hear country when i listen to his music some slow one’s are exempt, but all i hear is island music straight from the caribbean, i would like to see brad win he fits the bill the best of the five.

  10. Roger, I agree. I love that collaboration. They both sounded great, but I was surprised at how great Justin sounded. I’ve even looked into some of his music since then, though it’s obviously different than the Reba song.:)

    Hard Times,

    I’m not exactly sad about that part of the noms myself. It’s the high point of the list, for sure. But Dan has decreed that we stew in silence for a few more hours.:) So, stew I will until then.

  11. just cause the show is entertaining does not mean the should get a nom there are like five different criteria for the nomination and performances are just one.

  12. here is the posted criteria for entertainer of the year found on about.com:country music:
    Entertainer of the Year:

    This award is for the act displaying the greatest competence in all aspects of the entertainment field. Voter should give consideration not only to recorded performance, but also to the in-person performance, staging, public acceptance, attitude, leadership, and overall contribution to the Country Music image. Award to artist.

    hopefully the definition will clear some minds.

  13. It’s great to see Sugarland mix things up in the Entertainer category.

    I don’t understand why Martina McBride continues to receive obligatory nominations in the Female category. Sure she’s great but was she really worthy of a nomination this year? LeAnn Rimes, Trisha Yearwood or Reba McEntire are all more deserving of a spot this year.

    The Album category is disappointing, particularly Brooks & Dunn’s entry. There were so many great albums this past year that are being overlooked.

  14. Joe, I’d say that there were a lot of “obligatory nominations” this year. Part of that may come from a dearth of artists in certain categories (e.g., there are only so many vocal duos), but most of it seems to be just laziness (or industry politics).

  15. vp, you are wrong. Underwood is only averaging 6,500 a concert, thats it according to billboard. Many,many were not sellouts and many only drew 5000.
    The rascal flatts sell out full arenas that are over 15,000 like all big acts who have won EOTY like a Shania,GArth or Kenny and many others.
    Who cares how long Carrie has been on tour. She has do to so many dates because she can’t draw the crowds of big stars.
    The rascal Flatts deserved the nom over Surgaland and Underwood isn’t even a factor in the conversation.

  16. Also Kevin’s article on EOTY was pretty bias.
    If he looked at all the facts then he would know that Underwood is not EOTY calibre and I think Underwood fans are dreaming if they thinks he will ever get win this award or even get nominated.

  17. I hate to delve into this when I can’t really do so in great detail right now, but the biggest thing jumping out at me is the effect that the new voting policies had on this process.

    It seems like the worst case scenario: voters didn’t have to pick five, so they just voted for their in-house acts. The biggest houses scored the most noms. It’s just too perfect a coincidence that Brad & Alan were nominated for Song, while Chesney & Lambert were nominated for Single.

    Only the biggest indie acts (Krauss, Swift) were able to break the stranglehold.

    I’m actually not too surprised that Flatts didn’t make the cut for Entertainer. They’ve always been the “give ’em the Group” act at the CMA’s, who have been reluctant to acknowledge them otherwise. They never quite got big enough to force the CMA to give them Entertainer, like Shania in 1999.

  18. I also want to save my rant as time prohibits it, but I still figured Flatts would be nommed for their sales/touring success, but true about the CMA’s reluctance.

    Political every year, the awards are seemingly more so this year.

  19. jake if you read the offical criteria that i posted it in no way shape or form mention ticket sales, and to tell ya the truth i hate going to the stadium concerts there are just way to many drunken half naked women, and as per usual its always about the size for one gender, she fits all the criteria.

  20. vp, I know you are a fan of hers but I just don’t think she will ever win this award. She may if she is lucky get nominated once since the CMA’s lowered their standard and Sugarland got a nom.
    I don’t think she will even be a factor in the next few years. Also you have to admit she is not what you call a true natural entertainer.

  21. Jake, your last comment is backed by very few facts. Why wouldn’t Carrie be a factor in a few years? She has a streak of #1 hits and her career is only growing.

  22. stephen, you are joking right. How is her career growing? Her peak was last year.
    Coming off Idol was the most exposure she could ever get. She will stick around for awhile but her career isn’t growing.
    And saying she won’t be a factor in EOTY category is backed by tons of facts. Females are not recognized unless you are truly massive like Shania has sell out huge venues worlwide and beat the guys and be ten times better than the guys. For Shania to win she had to do 10 times more than the guys and at the highest level worldwide.
    Shania was selling out 30,000 seat venues on her name alone during the COO tour and she took the world by storm. She couldn’t be denied.
    There is no woman with that kind of impact or even close to it.
    I am very shocked Sugarland got a nom since they are not what you call a big touring act either.
    For the guys to be nominated it takes much less success.

  23. please, oh, please don’t turn this into ANOTHER Shania vs. other girls thread. It’s just tiring. (and No, Jake, that doesn’t mean that I ‘hate’ Shania).

  24. I think Shania and Carrie will both be relevant to the country music world for many years to come. I would love to see Shania perform at this year’s CMA ceremony and get back in the game. I think she’s been sorely missed, and she’d bring down the house. That said, from what I’ve observed, Ms. Underwood has basically worked her tail off since winning on “Idol.” She took nothing for granted. She has distinguished herself by continually improving her stage skills, and bringing thousands of new fans on board. I remember how exciting it was when Shania burst onto the scene. I felt the same way about Carrie when I watched her post-Idol success, and her dedication to country music. Shania won EOTY and nobody would have predicted that when she was two or three years into her career. Seems to me it’s hard to rule Underwood out as a potential EOTY at this relatively early stage of her career. On an entirely different point, anyone else have “Kenny-Fatigue?”

  25. If it wouldn’t be socially awkward, I’d physically raise my hand, right now! I just can’t get into the guy. I wish I could. It’d make my life easier, I think.

  26. Icb, you are trying to compare apples to oranges. The reason Shania won was because she was sellinog out 30,000 seat venues worldwide and set records all over the world at a massive pace. Plus Shania as a born entertainer and has charimsa.
    I rule out Underwood or any other country female because nobody is even close to being in that league.
    If you remember Shania was hated by the industry because she did her own thing and wrote her own songs and had her own producer, she wasn’t part of Nashville. But even that couldn’t make then snub her for that EOTY award although she should of won EOTY in 2004 too for her massive worldwide tour and massive sales.
    so icb, I think it is wishful thinking of you if you think Underwood will ever win EOTY.It will be very hard for her even to get a nomination.
    I am just being honest with you and telling it like it is.
    YOu can’t even compare a born enterainer with charimsa and worldwide mass appeal to a American idol singer turned country singer who Nashvilles makes music for.

  27. Lets get back to the real topic.
    I think Rascal Flatts and Tim Mcgraw deserved this nomination instead of Sugarland. With all due respect Sugarland is a middle of the road touring act that averages less than 7000 a concert just like Underwood so they do not deserve a nom.
    The CMA really have been a joke forever.It is only the industry’s way of promoting who they like.

  28. Martina McBride?
    I like her, but really. I don’t recall having seen her at all this past year.

    And I think I died a little at the ‘Who’s in: Taylor, Who’s out: Reba’. Not that I have anything against Taylor Swift, particularly, but…

  29. Wow…I thought we were saving our opinions/comments til later?? Haha

    But really, EOTY isn’t all about touring. I think people just make it out to be that way. But there’s no use in arguing because the nominations are done and they aren’t going to change.

  30. But arguing is just soo much fun.

    I was surprised by Martina too, actually. Like you, SD, I like her and she’s a dang good vocalist, but I don’t recall much of a presence from her either in the past year.

  31. I’m with you SD and Leeann, especially you SD. I like Taylor and all, but Female Vocalist? Really? If they were going to kick out someone, why not Martina at least, she hasn’t done anything that large as of late.

    These nominations frustrate me.

  32. Both LeAnne Rimes and Reba had more commercial success and over all exposure in the last year than Martina. It’s kind of like the voters just wrote down names and didn’t even bother to try to be fair or even make sense this year. I wish the CMA had to be accountable to us, the fans and the artists, for their decisions. I’d love to hear their explanations…not only on female vocalist, but other categories as well. I bet even Martina was surprised about the FV nomination.:)

  33. Sugarland for Entertainer of the Year? They’d have my vote if I were on the board. That was the highlight of my day when I read about it today. But, I am predicting Brad Paisley will get the award this year.

    I kinda knew Taylor Swift would be nominated for Female Vocalist – and I won’t be at all surprised if she takes home the prize. Also, I have to agree that Martina McBride was nowhere on the scene this year – aside from a pair of marginally successful singles from her last album and those faded as quickly as they came. Reba definitely had a bigger year, but it was on the strength of a Duets record, so my vote would have went to Trisha Yearwood or LeAnn Rimes for the 5th spot in this category.

  34. If Swift takes the FVOTY award from Underwood then all hope is lost. The only person in the category who I think is worthy of pulling an upset is Miranda Lambert. She had a great year with “Gunpowder and Lead” and she has a nice voice. Still, I think, vocally and commercially speaking, Carrie merits the award more, although I wouldn’t hate a Lambert win.

    Taylor should be in the songwriting categories. Surely the CMA would get a kick out of her literary allusions. :P No but honestly, I think “Should’ve Said No” deserved some love (or was it ineligible?).

  35. if TS takes it home i may just choke. i agree totally about Tim McGraw he is a constint presence year after year a darn good country artist and has been over looked for the past three years. my hands up for kenny too!! and i second all of Icb’s points respectively. and aaron is right people tend to think ( jake ) that EOTY is all about touring and it isn’t let’s show the offical criteria one more time just so we all can be on the same page for debating puposes.

    This award is for the act displaying the greatest competence in all aspects of the entertainment field. Voter should give consideration not only to recorded performance, but also to the in-person performance, staging, public acceptance, attitude, leadership, and overall contribution to the Country Music image. Award to artist.

  36. I’ll personally be voting for Lambert (sorry Carrie, no offense), because I dig her voice and music the most, since she is my favorite current artist right now, I think. However, if Trisha had been nominated, I would have been rooting for her. A Trisha nomination certainly would have made more sense than a Martina or Taylor nomination. I agree that songwriting would have been fine for Taylor, but vocalist is kind of hard to digest.

    Okay, Dan, I’m sorry for not following your request. It’s just been impossible to stew in silence for so long. At The9513, I said that I was feeling apathetic about the nominations and awards show over all, but I think my fire has come back, but only for what I think should have been.

    The FV nominations isn’t my only gripe, I’ll assure you.

  37. Why are you guys holding back? Do I smell a new thread coming up?

    I totally respect that Leeann, Miranda really does rock. I prefer Carrie, but Miranda is definitely talented.

  38. I prefer Miranda’s music and performances, but also believe that Carrie is talented as a singer and entertainer.

    Peace, love and understanding!

  39. i can’t bring myself to even read the TS blog it is just obsurd. i do think though now that country music is getting so popular they should maybe put together and all fan voted awards show.

  40. VP, Isn’t that what the CMT Awards does? I know they base it on videos, but are people really voting on the videos or their favorite artists?

  41. yeah but i do think it is more about the video than the entertainer when i make a request on tv i want to see the vid not just to hear the song like when i request on the radio.

  42. In reference to the EW article, I feel slightly offended by that, because using their logic, Carrie Underwood and Sugarland both deserve nominations before Taylor. Especially Carrie, and she was completely left out of the article. Snubbed? I think so.

  43. Jake Lange: “You can’t even compare a born enterainer with charimsa and worldwide mass appeal to a American idol singer turned country singer who Nashvilles makes music for.”

    That show does not legitimize its participants, nor does it disqualify them from consideration as their careers progress.
    It’s a really tired argument. “She was on that show. Not fair!” Next please tell me about her not “paying her dues.” I need to hear that one again.

    Heck, look how Taylor Swift has overcome the hard knocks of home-schooling! She’s got street cred, right? And Miranda, heck, she is only where she is thanks to Nashville Star. She hasn’t earned her success either.

    I’m someone who actually LIKES Shania, and I hope we haven’t seen or heard the last of her as a relevant country singer. Here’s hoping she’ll be back soon. Now I’m going to cue up “Just a Dream.” Coincidence?

  44. The EW article is quite funny. Don’t take it seriously, most of these things are written to start contraversy and to get people reading their articles.
    None of them deserved EOTY nom but Sugarland got one because the CMA want to promote them.
    Lets move on now.

  45. Icb, Shania has the money and power to do as she pleases and sing whatever genre. She may not want to return to country music because it was never friendly to her. But whatever she does it will be a huge success as always.

  46. Please keep the discussion to this year’s CMA nominations, and stop the back-and-forth regarding Shania Twain. Further comments that focus exclusively on Shania Twain will be deleted.

  47. i don’t get how miranda didn’t get the nom for album she penned most of it herself and she was the surprise win at the acm’s i would of preffered to see her’s instead of B&D but they almost seem obligatory at this point for certain categories

  48. Yeah, I was disappointed that Miranda didn’t get an album nomination too. I would have switched out most of the albums that were nominated for hers.

  49. for entertainer, take out Keith or kenny and put in Carrie.

    For Male Vocalist, take out keith, and put in josh.

    For Female Vocalist, take out Miranda, and put in Reba.

    For new Artist, all are deserving, bu what about ashton shepherd? (must be the lack of hits)

  50. yeah definitly not the outs
    EOTY out George in Carrie
    MVOY out Alan in Dierks (maybe Josh)
    FVOY out Martina in Reba
    or out Taylor in Leanne
    and i swear the New Artist seem the same as last year did no one come along this year have to check the date of eligibility on this one.

    Also had a thought there are many labels out there maybe next year cma puts out a new rule must vote outside your own label. would love to see the outcomes then cause i believe it is BMI dominating this year.

  51. The only thing I’m upset about is LeeAnn Rimes! She should be in there instead of Taylor! She has gotten some really great reviews from her touring with the one and only EOTY KC!! I just dread seeing KC win that again this year. They will pretty soon have to change it the Kenny Chesney Award instead of EOTY!

  52. Just an FYI, Miranda’s album was released before the eligibility period. It deserved a nod last year, and would have swept this field of nominees.

  53. CMA-wise, I think Miranda’s album suffered from the timing of its release – it debuted just before last year’s eligibility period expired, and her star was honestly not big enough at that point to get great droves of people to sit up and listen quick enough. It’s received an amazing amount of buzz since then, but we forget that it’s been well over a year now.

  54. http://tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080911/TUNEIN02/809110367

    Interesting story if no one has it linked yet. My main impression of it is that touring is not the be-all, end-all of the Entertainer prize.

    Also, if a New Artist of the Year nominee is allowed to have years of recordings before being acknowledged, what’s to stop CMA voters from recognizing an album that was prominent in the eligibility period, but missed their set deadlines.

  55. “Also, if a New Artist of the Year nominee is allowed to have years of recordings before being acknowledged, what’s to stop CMA voters from recognizing an album that was prominent in the eligibility period, but missed their set deadlines.”

    I’m inclined to agree, honestly.

  56. I always forget that the Lambert album is older than the elligibility period, because I’m still listening to it regularly and it’s really just caught on more in the last several months.

  57. I just discovered Elizabeth Cook this year, and even tho she is not a “new” artist, I would have liked to have seen her nominated in that category. I don’t listen to mainstream radio, so I assume she does not get any airplay at all, even though I hear her sometimes on Sirius.

  58. No Trisha Yearwood for Female Vocalist this year? What’s up with that? And if Taylor wins in that category, I’m going to scream.

    I hope Miranda wins for Single of the Year. Would love to see her achieve award success.

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