ACM Awards: Predicted Winners

As we gear up for the 2009 Academy of Country Music Awards, the writing staff of Country Universe have prepared our predicted winners among this year’s nominees. Check out our Personal Picks as well, and share your own predictions in the comments. As always, we’ll be live-blogging the festivities this Sunday, starting at 8 EST.

ACM 2009: Country Universe Predicts the Winners

Entertainer of the Year

  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley
  • George Strait
  • Carrie Underwood – Kevin, Leeann, Dan, Lynn
  • Keith Urban

Kevin: For as much as the industry favors male acts, it’s the female acts who really post the big numbers.  I think that the fans having a say will put Underwood over the top, though the industry is certainly behind her, too.  The depth and breadth of her appeal warrants the win.

Leeann: I know how zealous Carrie Underwood fans are.  So, I’d be shocked if she doesn’t win it.  I like the way Lynn said it though.

Dan: You know, I really have no idea. It’s not going to be George Strait, and I probably wouldn’t anticipate a win for Keith Urban this year. At first I was going with Chesney by default, but the arguments for Underwood’s win are too good to ignore, so I’m changing to her.

Lynn: If the fans are truly allowed to have their say…Ms. Underwood, please watch your step on the way up to receive your first Entertainer of the Year award.

Top Male Vocalist

  • Kenny Chesney
  • Toby Keith
  • Brad Paisley – Leeann, Dan, Lynn, Kevin
  • George Strait
  • Keith Urban

Leeann: I can’t decide between Chesney or Paisley.  If I had to choose, I’d guess Paisley, since he’s gotten used to winning this one.

Dan: Tough call. I’ll put it between Paisley and Chesney, and I’ll give Paisley the edge.

Lynn: Paisley by default. Yes, his last album was an instrumental, but he was easily the most visible of these artists over the past year.

Kevin: I could see Strait sneaking in there, but I don’t see how things have shifted in a meaningful enough way to end Paisley’s run.

Top Female Vocalist

  • Miranda Lambert
  • Heidi Newfield
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood – Dan, Lynn, Kevin, Leeann
  • Lee Ann Womack

Dan: There’s always that chance of a Miranda or Taylor upset, but I think Carrie’s still got this.

Lynn: Given a choice among these ladies over the course of the past year, I can’t imagine this award not going to Underwood.

Kevin: It’s a race between Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood, and it’s hard for me to imagine Underwood losing a vocalist race to Swift.

Leeann: I’d be an idiot to predict anyone other than Underwood.

Top Vocal Group

  • Lady Antebellum – Lynn, Kevin
  • Little Big Town
  • Rascal Flatts – Leeann, Dan
  • Randy Rogers Band
  • The Lost Trailers

Lynn: With previous ACM and CMA wins under their belts, and a big Grammy nod earlier this year, I wouldn’t bet against Lady A for the win. I could be wrong, but I think Nashville is dying to hand this award to a band other than Rascal Flatts, and Lady A is visible, popular and photogenic.

I think that voters have finally found an alternative to Rascal Flatts, who have dominated this race for so many years.

Leeann: Lady A could take this one.  However, if I want to be safe, I should just predict Rascal Flatts.

Dan: If Lady A hadn’t released such a sluggish second single, they could be posing a serious threat by now. They’ve definitely got a shot, but I’d guess the Flatts still have it.

Top Vocal Duo

  • Big & Rich
  • Brooks & Dunn
  • Joey + Rory
  • Montgomery Gentry
  • Sugarland – Kevin, Leeann, Dan, Lynn

This must finally be the year that Brooks & Dunn loses, right? Sugarland is long overdue.

Leeann: Sugarland.  They’re clearly the hottest duo right now.

Dan: Sugarland, although Brooks & Dunn could still keep it.

Lynn: Sugarland has the momentum.

Top New Artist

  • Julianne Hough- Leeann, Lynn, Kevin
  • Jake Owen
  • Zac Brown Band – Dan

Leeann: Hough will get this one, because I have a feeling she’s got the strongest and most organized fan base, thanks to a popular television show.

Dan: Fan voting = I have no idea. But just for the sake of having a bet, I’ll say Zac Brown Band. They’re well-liked by audiences; maybe their grassroots support will push them over.

Lynn: Fan voting = Julianne Hough (= Dancing With the Stars = 20 million viewers per week = Lots of Free Publicity).

Kevin: I also think Hough will win because of the nature of her fan base.

Album of the Year

  • Back When I Knew It All – Montgomery Gentry
  • Carnival Ride – Carrie Underwood
  • Fearless – Taylor Swift – Leeann
  • That Lonesome Song – Jamey Johnson
  • Troubadour – George Strait  – Dan, Lynn, Kevin
Dan: I can kind of see anyone but Montgomery Gentry winning here, but at the end of the day, Strait is probably the best all-around bet.

Lynn: Ditto Dan.

The Single/Album races just seem to be going Strait’s way lately.

I’ll go out on a limb and predict Taylor Swift.  I’m sure the industry wants to give her an award and this is the most plausible way to do it.

Single Record of the Year

  • “Gunpowder & Lead” – Miranda Lambert
  • “In Color” – Jamey Johnson
  • “Johnny And June” – Heidi Newfield
  • “Waitin’ On A Woman” – Brad Paisley – Dan
  • “You’re Gonna Miss This” – Trace Adkins – Lynn, Kevin, Leeann

Lynn: I might have to go with Trace Adkins’ “You’re Gonna Miss This.” Admittedly, I have a poor track record when it comes to predicting country music awards shows, but I’d be willing to wager at least…nope, can’t do it, I really am bad at this. Second choice is “Gunpowder & Lead” (although it came out 1 single and a year ago!)

Kevin: I’m torn between Paisley and Adkins. The ACM likes to go with the biggest hit, and I guess that’s “You’re Gonna Miss This.”

Leeann: I guess I predict Trace Adkins.  It’s the dullest song of the choices, but the one that seems to tug the hardest on the heartstrings of the assumed average country music listener.

Dan: Paisley’s sentimental hit seems like the strongest bet to me, although I feel a little sheepish with everyone else pulling for Adkins.

Song of the Year

  • I Saw God Today – Leeann, Dan, Lynn
    George Strait
    Composers:  Rodney Clawson, Monty Criswell, Wade Kirby
  • In Color – Kevin
    Jamey Johnson
    Composers:  Jamey Johnson, Lee Thomas Miller, James Otto
  • Johnny And June
    Heidi Newfield
    Composers:  Deanna Bryant, Heidi Newfield, Stephony Smith
  • Waitin’ On A Woman
    Brad Paisley
    Composers:  Don Sampson, Wynn Varble
  • You’re Gonna Miss This
    Trace Adkins
    Composers:  Ashley Gorley and Lee Thomas Miller

Kevin: I’m guessing “In Color” or “I Saw God Today.” It doesn’t help that when Strait won this award, he shared it with Johnson for “Give it Away.” I’ll say “In Color”, though it might result in my defeat in the final tally.

I can’t see why “I Saw God Today” won’t win, even if it makes me cringe a little.

Dan: If I had to guess, it’s a race between “Waitin’ on a Woman” and “I Saw God Today,” with “In Color” playing dark horse. I guess I’ll say “I Saw God Today.”

Lynn: I think Strait will pick up an ACM trophy to go with his CMA one for “I Saw God Today.”


  1. i agree with most of the choices
    carrie for eoty

    brad for male voalist

    carrie for female altough i woundt mind miranda taking this she would be a worthy winner

    album the king

    group rascal flatts no question lady A its too new and not nearly in the same category as the flatts

    duo, sugarland

    new artist, jullianne hough but i would rather see ashton here

    single gunpowder and lead i love that song

    song i saw god today

  2. Love your picks!

    Carrie for Entertainer! That would be a wonderful upset as she is surely the underdog. Everyone is picking Kenny as they just assume the voters will blindly pick him like blind sheep.

    While Kenny is a great performer, eventually, voters need to look at criteria other then Box Office sales. Otherwise, Kenny will win this for the next 10 years. Boring.

    Entertainer of the Year should encompass other things like Album sales, quality of your album, vocal performances, ticket sales, chart and radio success, and overall contribution to the genre as a whole. Carrie is all of these things, as is Brad and Kaith Urban too.

    It is time for a change. Let the games begin. :)

  3. Overall I would say those are pretty good choices. Here are mine.

    Entertainer- Carrie will win because of the fan vote. In polls on GAC’s and other various radio station’s websites Carrie has over 70% of the vote in all of them, so she is basically a lock.

    Male Vocalist- Brad will probably continue his roll as he probably should.

    Female Vocalist- Carrie most likely will win this again, but Miranda could win if Carrie and Taylor split the pop-country vote.

    Group- It’s probabbly going to be RF again this year but I wouldn’t be totally shocked to see Lady A or Little Big Town win. by next year RF may be underdogs to Lady A.

    Duo- Sugarland is the favorite and deserves the win, but “Cowgirls” may give B&D enough of a boost to win.

    New Artist- One would think Julianne would have a huge advantage in fan voting thanks to DWTS, but in most polls I’ve seen Jake Owen is ahead by at least 5% so I think he will get the win he deserves against this group. Although if Ashton or Jamey would have made it this far they would be the most deserving IMO.

    Album- Tough category this year 4 of these could easily win, with MG’s album being the odd one out, I think it will either be George or maybe Jamey though.

    Single- I’m really rooting for Miranda in this category though realistically I don’t think she has a chance against Trace.

    Song- The Academy won’t send Jamey home empty handed so “In Color” wins this award.

  4. EOTY – Carrie fans or no fans she really encompasses the criteria for the category. Her album I believe sold the most in the eligablity period, and spawend 4 #1’s which she co-wrote 3, ITYS came out just in time for the end of voting. She toured more than any other artist you can’t ignore being on the road for basically one full year, headlining her first tour and it was a success. Also her tv face time was not matched by anyother.

    I think Kenny’s time has come to an end, he has always won based on his ticket sales and the size of his concert, but I think people realized its not him making the show it would be the 3 to 5 opening acts that he brings along, when you put them all together they really out do him.

    MVOTY – I don’t think Brad can be ignored in this one his talent is just two good. I could see him having his stamp on this one for a couple more years.

    FVOTY – Obivously Carrie I think since it is a vocalist category to go against the best will be silly.

    I will say I can deal with her succeeding to Miranda, but if they were to give it to Taylor I will lose all faith in the industry. (save that for another topic)

    TVG – I really want to say Lady A but I think with just two singles they may not have the backing yet, so RS this year.

    TVD – Sugarland has been on an amazing ride with Love on the Inside. B&D still have it though so I wouldn’t be surprised if they were to get it either.

    TNA – Julianne just based on the votes, Ashton should have one for the female based on talent.

    AOTY – Although I can very easily see Talyor winning for how long it stayed on top of the charts, But Carrie’s CR still has more sales to date with more hits because of the age of it. Never count George out.

    Single – Love to see Trace win but George is a good bet two.

    Song – I think George because it is about god but Brad’s is well deserving.

  5. Entertainer of the Year: I think it will be the same as always, Kenny Chesney. :(

    Male Vocalist: This category will probably also make a repeat, so Brad Paisley will probably take this one home.

    Female Vocalist: Carrie`s already won the CMA and the Grammy for best female vocalist three years straight now, so why wouldn`t she win this one, ecspecially since she`s also nominated for EOTY.

    Top Vocal Group: Once again I think this award is going to go to the same reciepent as last year, so Rascal Flatts will most likely be taking this one home again, but I think Lady A might be nipping on their heels.

    Top Vocal Duo: Finally! I think there will be a new winner in this category. Not only that, I think it`s acually going to be one of my personal picks that win it, so that means I think Sugarland`s going to win! =)

    Top New Artist: Julianne Hough will win this, but the majority of the voters that vote for her will be DWTS fans and not county music fans. Also hasn`t she only released one single in the past year?

    Album of the Year: Well, since Strait has already won this award at the Grammy’s and CMA’s he’ll probably win this one too.

    Single of the Year: I have a feeling ‘Waitin’ On a Woman’ will win this one, but I thnk ‘Gunpowder and Lead’ stands a chance ecspecially since the album it came from won Album of the Year last year.

    Song of the Year: Jamey Johnson’s won this won before, as soley the songwriter, and so has Strait, as soley the singer. So I think it’s a toss up between them, but wouldn’t it be nice to see Johnson win for his on song. =)

  6. carrie does not deserve to be in the leage of wmen who have won entertainer she is a good singer but she is a mass marketed hack who hasnt earned the right to this award

  7. EOTY – Kenny Chesney. Male Vocalist – Keith Urban. Female Vocalist – Lee Ann Womack. Vocal Group – Lady A. Vocal Duo – Sugarland. New Artist – Zak Brown Band. Album – “That Lonesome Song” Jamey Johnson. Single and Song – “In Color”. I predict that Jamey Johnson will get alot of recognition on Sunday. It’ll be fun to check back here after the show to see how we all did!

  8. I hope you are wrong about Julianne Hough. Jake Owen is a much more deserving winner than someone who can’t even get her music played on country stations and is off dancing right now. If her fans get Julianne this award it will be a disgrace to the ACMs and just prove why the Academy should be giving out their top awards!

  9. I agree with you about Carrie Chris, she is a very good vocalist but the other 4 nominees are better performers than Carrie is at this point(which should be the determining factor in the award if you ask me) so to give her the EOTY this year would be a huge Mistake IMO. Her box office numbers were good enough for her to get a nomination this year and after a couple more years headlining she may be ready for this honor but not right now!!

  10. Entertainer: Carrie Underwood
    Male Voclaist: Brad Paisley
    Female Vocalist: Carrie Underwood
    Group: Rascal Flatts
    Duo: Montgomery Gentry
    Single: “Waitin’ On A Woman”
    Song: “In Color”
    Album: Carnival Ride
    New Artist: Zac Brwon Band

  11. @Todd you should search the criteria for EOTY it is not only based on performance and box office sale, there is much more that some of the boys didn’t come close to touching as Carrie did.

    Not saying I wouldn’t mind if BP or KU won but to say she doesn’t deserve it seems wrong when she actually fills out the criteria more then any other nom.

  12. I wouldn’t mind Carrie winning EOTY but honestly, I think it’s Keith Urban’s rightful win. As for duos-What about Montgomery Gentry who truly are a duo plus had multiple hits from their album this year.

  13. I love Carrie and hope she does get Female Vocalist again. That way she is tied with Martina, Faith, and Loretta as they are all 3 times in a role winners. Next year I hopes it’s Miranda.

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