Academy of Country Music Nominations Due February 11


The nominations for this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards will be announced on Wednesday, February 11, and Country Universe will have a preview next week. As announced yesterday, the blond brigade of Julianne Hough, Leann Rimes, Jessica Simpson and Kellie Pickler will read the nominations from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

From the Academy of Country Music website:

The Academy of Country Music, Dick Clark productions and Great American Country (GAC) announced today that for the first time ever, the three newcomer categories for the Academy of Country Music Awards—Top New Female Vocalist, Top New Male Vocalist and Top New Vocal Duo or Group—will be opened up to interactive fan voting through The 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards will be broadcast LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 8:00 PM live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network.

Fan voting for these three categories will begin at on Friday, February 13, and will close on Thursday, March 5. The winner in each of the three categories will be announced March 9, and will move on to compete in a brand new Academy of Country Music Awards category, Top New Artist. Voting for the Top New Artist category will begin on March 16, and will close on April 5, with the winner being announced live during the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.

The official website is cryptic regarding the validity of voting procedures. Under the Best New Artist categories, the Board of Directors state that winners will be determined by a vote of members and/or viewer voting, so the Academy could possibly have a hand in the voting in case inconsistencies arise.

The Academy’s voting criteria was called into question last year when the Entertainer of the Year award was a fan-voted affair, and today’s announcement continues the questionable practice of allowing the general public to voice their opinions for one of the industry’s highest honors. This year, the rules do explicitly state that Entertainer of the Year will be awarded based on both membership vote and fan participation.

Critics’ fave Jamey Johnson also suffers from the academy’s shortsighted criteria.  Due to an absolutely archaic rule, Jamey Johnson’s That Lonesome Song (current sales: 270k at 26 weeks) is ineligible for the Album of the Year category.

The Album must have attained minimum sales of 300,000 units and/or maintained an average of 20,000 unit sales per week since release as reflected by SoundScan during the qualification period. Any album commercially released prior to the preceding calendar year, but achieving its highest charted position in any accepted country music industry publication chart and greatest commercial success during the calendar year, is eligible unless it has appeared on a final ACM ballot in this category.

Conceivably, Johnson can be nominated for Album of the Year next year. By that time, That Lonesome Song will have sold over 300,000 copies and could sneak above its current chart peak in 2009  (it debuted at No.6 in August and now rests at No. 7 on the weekly chart). Understood? With record sales dwindling due to the economy and the current technological shift within the music industry, the criteria must be changed. Unless the rule is amended, only ten albums are eligible (the latest releases from Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum, James Otto, Darius Rucker, Sugarland, George Strait, Taylor Swift and Zac Brown Band). This is a small pool from which to determine the genre’s best album of the year. The current slate of criteria for the ACM only serves to dilute a meaningful country music milestone and forgo artistic value in favor of commercial prowess and internet savvy.

Fun fact: In its final week of eligibility for last year’s ACM Awards, Miranda Lambert’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend sold 7,894 copies for a total of 304,999 since its May 1, 2007 debut. Lambert’s sophomore set went on to best platinum-selling albums from Kenny Chesney, Rodney Atkins, Taylor Swift and Brad Paisley to claim the ACM award for Album of the Year. As of February 7, 2009, the album has sold 679,391 copies and remains the second-oldest album on the Country Albums chart (Taylor Swift’s Taylor Swift).



  1. Wow, lame about that album sales rule. But at least the small pool makes it easy to compile my list of who should be nominated: Otto, Sugarland, Strait, Swift, Zac Brown Band. But watch for Chesney and Jackson to ruin my party.

  2. That 300k rule is just stupid. Not only does it count out Jamey Johnson, but also Lee Ann Womack, Patty Loveless, and many others. It definitely needs amended.

    I think Chesney is a shoe-in for nomination, Dan. And probably Jackson too. So I would think newcomers Zac Brown and Otto may get nixed in their place. Or maybe even Lady Antebellum.

  3. I pointed out Johnson in particular, but you’re right that Womack, Loveless, and even Randy Travis and Ashton Shepherd would not be considered. Honestly, though, they aren’t viable contenders given their lack of commercial impact. Johnson’s album, though, has performed well enough sales-wise to justify inclusion. It remains in the Top 10 and will likely receive a Grammy boost.

    A similar thing happened with Lambert last year. She was one week away from not being eligible, and then she ended up winning the whole darn thing. Add that to her critical acclaim and the success of “Gunpowder and Lead,” and now her album, which had been languishing below the Top 40, is now No. 13 nearly two years after its release.

  4. I too have pretty much given up on the ACM’s as well as the CMA’s..

    The Grammy’s seem to be the last bastion of integrity now.

    But hey, go Jamey Johnson, shake things up!

  5. I think the album rule is frustrating too. I’m also having a problem with the fan voted awards expansion. It was such a controversy last year, so why not make it even worse this year? Furthermore, sticking Rimes with those lesser talents is incredulous.

    As for the Grammys, I’m happy with their more respectable nominations, but annoyed that they have Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus performing together. They’re not even nominated foranything (as far as I know), which makes their performance purely a commercial gimmick.

  6. I just read that Keith Urban will be performing at the Grammys along with John Mayer, BB King, & Buddy Guy in a tribute to Bo Diddley!! Not excited about seeing the 2 teen Queens performing! Also don’t like the fan voting thing!

  7. I just re-read the post, and saw that Jamey Johnson is ineligible this year but may be next year, so…yeah, I’d like to see JJ shake things up at the ACMs and the CMAs hopefully next year.

    I don’t like that threshold rule either…but hey, why don’t they just give it to the top seller, as seems to be their pattern anyway?! They shouldn’t even make a pretense of factoring in intangibles such as artistic merit.

    And I hope they get some better acts for the live entertainment…the CMA’s performances were pretty much abysmal, I’m hoping the ACM’s will show better judgement with their selected performers.

    And I agree, the Taylor and Miley thing at the Grammy’s…I’ll be tuning that part out.

  8. I have a peoblem with the “awarded based on both membership vote and fan participation”. I have always thought that to be a way for it to be fixed, anything where the fans and members are mixed together seems to turn into the most popular person at the time of the show wins. These are supposed to be from your peers based on certain criteria, there are other fan based awards out there.

    It is rather disappointing, as is the Taylor and Miley thing. The Grammys used to be a respectable, and prestegious awards show not this year it has gone to the dogs.

  9. There’s only one thing to do…get the word and buy 30,000 copies of That Lonesome Song in the next 6 days.

    Seriously though, I think the hard number is a bad rule especially given the slipping music sales this year. I understand the Academy not wanting a little known record to win and anger a large group of fans, but if the Academy feels that there needs to be some level of success then limit it to the top 50 or 100 sellers of the time period.

    Hopefully Jamey will get to tell them how he traded his life for cocaine and a whore, this year at the show. That’ll teach ’em.

  10. I have to say that I’m really hoping Sugarland gets a ton of ACM nominations next week. They are not my overall favorite musically (though I like them a lot), but I feel that they really didn’t get the amount of deserved attention from the Grammys. They are a really important force in music right now. They are also starting to get somewhat edgier and even political in their personae (for instance starting that non-profit with the Indigo Girls). I can almost sense a Dixie Chicks-like backlash coming their way,as they are very popular with mainstream listeners.

  11. I am a huge nascar fan! Every year they have to change and adapt the rules and they have done exactly that due to the economy!
    I absolutely adore Jamey and will miss him being on there as a nominee. I was at his show 2 weeks ago, PACKED HOUSE!!!! Everyone loved him. There will be alot of dissapointed folks out there. I truly think he deserves this! He is fresh and really, really good!

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