Picking the CMA Nominees: Entertainer of the Year

cma-awards1Just last week, the second ballot for the 2009 CMA Awards was sent to voters. Now, they are charged with the task of picking five nominees for each category.

How about we help them out?  I’ve listed the five artists that I believe are most deserving of an Entertainer of the Year nomination. Share your own top five and your reasoning in the comments.

Over the course of the next two weeks, we’ll do the same with all of the other major categories.

Entertainer of the Year:

The nominees should be:

Brad Paisley

Much like George Strait before him, Paisley has carved out a career that is defined by its consistent success.  He’s an increasingly large draw on the road, and his latest album shows that his creative juices are flowing again.

George Strait

His latest album Troubadour earned him a slew of industry awards, including his first Grammy, and was his 33rd platinum album. While nearly every other artist is experiencing lower sales, his are holding strong. Sure, there are a slew of younger artists that dominate my list, but what are the chances that any of them will still be at the top of their game after three decades?


Since earning a surprise nomination in this category last year, they’ve scored their first #1 album, had three #1 hits, and have now built up a reputation as one of the best live performers working today in any genre.

Taylor Swift

There simply isn’t a bigger star in recorded music right now. Her dominance now extends to Top 40 radio and packed concert arenas, and she shows no signs of slowing down.

Carrie Underwood

The reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year has kept up her hot streak at country radio, with every single she’s released peaking in the top two.  She remains the genre’s finest ambassador.


  1. My top pick would probably have to be Sugarland. This year they’ve proven even more that they are a class act live. Carrie Underwood seems like she’s deserving and I’m glad she won ACM EOTY, but I think she might still need just one more year of performing to be truly deserving.

  2. I agree with this line-up completely. There would be fierce whining in Nashville if Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban were shut out, but they’re not really doing anything new at this point. Reliable headliners they are, but I’ve always felt this award should be more comprehensive than that, and the five acts you pointed out are keeping the genre interesting in other ways.

  3. I can’t complain with these choices, though Sugarland may be hampered by Jennifer’s voice troubles this year. I’d probably give my vote to Brad because I saw him in Omaha this year and he is the very definition of an entertainer.

  4. I would go with:

    George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Sugarland and Carrie Underwood.

    I find it interesting that out of so many years where men dominated the field, you have picked 3 women in the category (has there even been that many women in one nominated year?) and I have picked two. It’s gonna be an interesting year.

  5. As always, there are better entertainers out there than the listed nominees, but these are the hot acts, and that is what the award really is about

    Paisley would be the best choice although all of the listed nominees have merits

  6. Don’t think Taylor is ready to get the nomination or win yet maybe a few more years but Carrie is the one I choose to Win!

  7. There’s a difference between should get nominated and will get nominated. The CMA’s have a chance to change things up and make them more interesting but I doubt it. I agree with your should’s but it will likely be, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, and Sugarland.
    My pick is for Brad to win, just based on this year, two albums, non stop touring, he deserves it and will hopefully end Kenny’s parade, as his summer touring formula has had its day in the sun.

  8. I think Brad, Kenny, George , Carrie and Keith might get nominated -I’d be happy with Brad, George or Carrie winning it

  9. Sugarland should not win under any circumstances. They have shown they are great performers, but unreliable ones. Jenifer and Kristan have canceled 12 shows this year alone; I hope the CMA’s DO NOT reward that.

    I’d go with Keith or Kenny for sure. Keith’s album did pretty well (his first number one on Bilboard), and he seems to earn rave reviews as a performer.

    Kenny hasn’t had a new album, but everyone seems to love numbers in this category, so he has a shot.

    As early as I think it is, I think Taylor has a shot. Her album was number one in all genres, and is still doing incredibly well. She had a few number one singles, and the number one on the pop charts. This could look good with voters, because it means she is bringing potential new listners to country.

    She also was the most visible country artist this year by far; even more so than Carrie. She had a Rolling Stone cover, which is huge exposure for a country artist; she had a Dateline special; She appeared on CSI; She got a performance on Multi-genre awards including the VMA’s and Grammy’s.

    I think if the voters are looking for a versatile artist who has an impact outside the country genre, Taylor is it.

    Although I’m not surprised no one has mentioned this, I think Rascal Flatts should at least garner a nomination. They became the first country arists EVER with four back-to-back albums on the Bilboard 200; they had the biggest opening week of a country album since 2007; they had the second biggest digital album of 2009. They also did cimmericals for JCPenny, Denny’s and Hershey’s. They also became the first country artists ever to play AND sellout Wrigley Field. They also became the first artists ever to sell out Madison Square Garden three years in a row.

    They have had many successful singles as well. “Here,” and “Here Comes Goodbye” were back-to back number ones, and “Summer Nights” is faring well.

  10. As for who is nominated I will go with Carrie, Taylor, Brad, Kenny, and Rascal Flatts or Urban. I wouldn’t be on Sugarland just because of the vocal issues and canceled shows, plus they are not even headlining yet.

    I don’t know how (or why) George ahould get a nomination. He hardly ever does interviews or press (which voters seem to like), plus he did’t have an album out and didn’t tour.

  11. Taylor shouldn’t be nominated for the EOTY trophy. Taylor clearly can’t sing and writes stupid juvenile songs about teenage love life. She remixes all her songs to top 40 radio so she can gain publicity. Taylor isn’t a country singer anymore, she’s now part of the bubblegum pop crowd. Carrie is clearly the embassador to country music and she’s here to stay. Taylor is just a teen star and she’ll fade in the next couple of years. Carrie has a strong powerful voice and Taylor has a voice that sounds like a dying cat.

  12. i agree with the list, except taylor, i mean come on is she even consider country, she seems to be giving more to the pop audience than to the country fans, i agree with the others, im looking forward brad paisley winning but i wouldnt be mad if carrie did altough i think its pretty early in her career

  13. Sorry, but Keith Urban, IMO, is the better entertainer than all of these mentioned. I’ve seen all of these listed here and when it comes to live entertaining and connecting with the fans…it’s Keith hands down. Taylor Swift definitely does not deserve an EOTY trophy…maybe an academy award for her acting ability on the stage but not for her singing and putting on a real country show. Far, far from a country concert. Her show reminded me of seeing a Disney on Ice show without the skating, even though she did hit the floor a couple of times after beating on the can drums.

  14. To be honest I don’t really agree with your list Kevin. I definetly agree about Sugarland (hope they get nominated and win). I also agree with Brad and Carrie, though I’m not the biggest fan of their music they have both been performing consistantly great on the charts, Brad’s released some pretty good music in the past year and I’ve been hearing great things about his latest album, and Carrie’s been starting to win me over with her past two singles. George Strait’s latest work hasn’t really wowed me and I don’t Taylor Swift really deserves to be EOTY.

  15. This list seems to be an objective list on Kevin’s part, as is my agreement with it, since I wouldn’t go to half of these concerts myself.

  16. My five nominees would be:

    Brad Paisley-my pick for the win and a deserving one at that.

    Kenny Chesney-current king of the road and reigning ETY.

    Keith Urban-beyond talented and a true professional.

    Sugarland/Taylor Swift-I was leaning toward Sugarland here but with Jennifer’s recent bouts with vocal issues and having to cancel shows and the the backlash they’ve received could hurt their chances/Swift’s popularity can’t be ignored not to mention her current headlining tour and album sales along with her label’s full support could definitely get her a nomination.

    Carrie Underwood-there is no question she deserves a nomination even with her recent break from the road her Carnival Ride tour extended through more than half the eligibility period and like Kevin said, “She remains the genre’s finest ambassador.”

  17. I think I agree that Taylor deserves an EOTY nod, but I’m not sure how I’d feel about a win. On one hand, I’d much rather her win EOTY than FVOTY, so perhaps this is really the only award that’s made for her. On the other hand, there are artists out there who hit most if not all the points Taylor hits, and have incredible vocals to top it off.

    I’m pulling for Carrie, but I’d be pleased if Brad or Sugarland took the award.

  18. 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.

    Will: Chesney, Paisley, Sugarland, Underwood, Urban
    Should: Jamey Johnson, Brad Paisley, Sugarland, Swift, Underwood

    I would bet a hundred bucks that Paisley spoils Chesney’s streak, and I believe he deserves it. Sugarland would be my second pick. Johnson’s not a prolific touring artist, but he’s proven in the last year to be the most artistically-credible singer currently operating within the commercial country realm. Plus, he’s sold gold and been generally viewed in the public as a messenger for the music’s roots to the outside world. (If Lee Ann Womack had toured/sold better and Miranda Lambert had released new music this period, I’d put them on the board.)

    Swift undoubtedly fits the criteria in terms of advancing the cause of the country music industry, but I’m still not convinced she’s adding appreciably to country music itself. Underwood’s two singles this year didn’t boil my blood, but she is improving as a live act and her general ambassadorship is impressive. I’m ambivalent about including either/both of them, but in the absence of new recordings by Strait/Jackson/McGraw/Brooks & Dunn and the poor albums by the Flatts/Urban, they’re the two that stand out. But do know that every time a Carrie fan bashes Taylor (and vice versa), God kills a kitten.

  19. Please save the kittens. I love kittens.

    The Taylor vs. Carrie war is very predictable at this point. Perhaps I don’t get the reason why because I’m not particularly a fan of either of them, but I understand the merits of both?

  20. My picks would be:

    1. Keith Urban
    2.Carrie Underwood
    3. Kenny
    4. Brad Paisely
    5. Rascal Flats

    The relevant time period is July 1, 2008-June 30, 2009, so only those touring dates, sales, radio success, etc, can be considered.

    For this reason, Carrie definetly deserves a nomination as she headlined the second half of her Carnival Ride Tour from July 2008-late December 2008 and went to over 60 cities with mostly soldout shows. She also scored several number 1s on radio again, and her album sales are still strong. She remains one of the best vocalists in country music or any genre for this generation of singers, anyway.

    While I love Sugarland, they did not headline much this year, as they were co-headliners, so I do not think they should be considered. Plus Jen missed so many dates for being ill, that I just think this will not be their year.

    While Taylor Swift had a great year in terms of sales and hype, she is a terrible live vocalist, and she does not deserve to be considered yet for such a big awards as it is too early in her career, plus she did not really tour that much yet as a headliner in the relevant dates, which are July 1, 2008-June 20, 2009. Plus this is a country music awards show, not the Pop MTV awards. Seriously, the girl remixes all her songs to pop and seems more of a pop artist to me then country, so I can’t understand why she just doesn’t go pop and be done with it?

    Finally, if George Strait gets nominated again this year for no apparent reason, I might just vomit. While he is a legend and I like many of his songs, enough already. He did not even tour much this year, and other acts worked much harder on the road this year so they deserve the slot over him.

  21. I forgot to add, that as for who actually wins EOTY, I would be really pleased with either of the following people:

    1. Keith: He puts on an incredible live show and is an all around amazing artist, both vocally and in terms of stage presence and connection with the crowd. I would love to see him win.

    2. Brad: What’s not to love about Brad? Great siniger, great guy, and overall he puts on a real good live show.

    3. Carrie: I would love to see a female win this year, and I think Carrie is deserving of that. However, if the voters want her to pay more dues first, I am fine with that as all I really want is for her to get a nomination this year. I think she has earned that as she is a great live vocalist unlike some who are now lip syncing in country music. Carrie is also now a really strong live entertainer, whereas when she first started out she was really shy on stage. Now, she is fun, warm, and connects with the audience.

    4. Rascal Flats: I love them too, and they have certainly paid their dues… so I would be happy for them if they won. However, are they still being punished for that ACM ad where they offered free downloads for votes for EOTY? I am a little confused as to why they have been snubbed lately.

  22. here is who i think deserves to be nominated for the 2009 CMA awards Entertainer should be

    Blake Shelton
    Chuck Wicks
    Chris Young
    Eric Church
    Keith Urban

  23. In terms of predictions, it’s a really tough call this year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sugarland taken out at the knees by the vocal rest thing, and I think slots for female/female-driven acts are still going to be thin, since it’s become so routine to nominate Kenny/Keith/Brad/George

    I think Paisley is the only complete lock for a nomination, and he will probably win. It’s hard to imagine Underwood being snubbed after winning the ACM, so she’s probably in. Chesney and Urban will probably get in by default, leaving one wild card slot for Strait, Swift, Sugarland or Rascal Flatts to take. At this point, I would put my money on Swift squeezing in.

  24. As much as I love George Strait, he shouldn’t be nominated. He’s already gotten the Artist of the Decade, that would probably make me happier than EOTY if I were an artist in this day and time. Joe Galante will not let Chesney be without an EOTY nomination if he can help it! He should not even be considered any longer IMO. His drinking and partying act is totally getting old. I know this site is on the Paisley bandwagon, but he is just dull to me. Keith may not get a nod, but he definitely has my vote.You guys have put his new CD down, but I’m totally glad to see Keith happier than he’s ever been and his album is how he chooses to show it!

  25. Taylor swift should win, just because she sells millions of albums at a time where its virtually impossible to sell that much.
    rascal flatts shouldn’t be nominated…ever. I’m sorry but i hate that band so, so much.

  26. Gail,
    If you took a poll of the CU staff, I believe you’d discover that only half of us are on the “Brad Paisley bandwagon.” Kevin has previously expressed, on this site, that he can hardly stand him. Dan seems pretty neutral about him and Bill just doesn’t like very much mainstream country music in general. The comments in defense of Brad on Urban’s single review was more from an objective standpoint, since you were suggesting that Urban was snubbed by awards shows while Paisley was the “golden boy.” From a purely numbers perspective, that’s just simply not true, which has nothing to do with being on a bandwagon. I will admit that I’m, personally, a pretty big Paisley fan though.

    As for Urban, the album was underwhelming, from a subjective viewpoint, but I have no problem with him being happy. Kevin likes Urban much better than he likes Paisley and Urban is the person who got Dan interested in country music (see his introduction piece). I still like Urban quite a bit, but I know he can do better, as I love Golden Road and Be Here.

  27. Oh. I forgot to mention that I’m not really sure of Lynn’s position on Urban, but Tara likes him and Bil is, again, exempt.

  28. Jessica Simpson, Miley Cyrus, Fast Ride, Tyler Dean, and Kellie Pickler.

    okay now seriously:

    Carrie Underwood, Sugarland, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, and Keith Urban.
    I’d love to see Carrie or Sugarland win it. However, I think Taylor Swift will be nominated and she has good chances of winning, although she doesn’t fit the description of the award seeing she’s bubblegum pop and sounds pretty bad.

  29. I’d put myself more in the take him or leave him camp with Paisley at this point, since he’s cut down on the novelty songs that irk me. I like him better when he’s not trying to be funny, but I could still take him or leave him. Much like Brooks & Dunn, the ratio of hits to the number of songs I like is about 8:1.

    I like Keith Urban’s new album to a certain extent. It might make my top ten for the year. I like the production but find that the songs run together a bit too much, strangely similar to the Lee Ann Womack album from last year.

  30. Nominated: Kenny, Carrie, Keith, Brad and Sugarland.
    I think Kenny, Keith and Brad are given, and I think Underwood deserves a nom after a big tour year last year, plus all the album/chart success (not to mention she won ACM EOTY). I’m thinking the last spot will go to Sugarland and, if not, George.
    I just hope Taylor isn’t nominated. AOTY – yes. FVOTY – Sure. but not EOTY.

  31. I don’t see where singing ability is listed as a criteria for EOTY. What is important is “performance” and in terms of that criteria certainly Brad, Keith, Sugarland, and Taylor would be at the top of the list – all are incredible performers. In terms of audience response, Taylor takes the cake. Of course, her audience is pre-programmed for hysteria since it mostly consists of tween and teen girls who, as we all know, can be VERY EMOTIONAL.

    I think Carrie needs to be added to the nominee list also even though she is not the most dynamic performer. She is the best singer of the bunch, and she is a great ambassador for country music.

    I’m guess that Brad will win.

  32. Yes, I’m a Keith fan, though not a fan of the new album. I don’t see the either/or with Brad and Keith.

    Jatale, I would hope singing ability is considered an aspect of the entertainment field…it is to me at least. It’s difficult for me to fully get on board with artists when their vocals aren’t up to par.

  33. ITA with Kevin about Brad and the novelty songs. That and the fact that Music Row and country radio feel the need to push him on us at every turn. Nothing makes an artist boring to me faster than being told I HAVE to like them.

    I still don’t get George Strait as EOTY. Yeah, if you want to award his albums, that’s one thing but “entertainer”?… especially compared to what other acts are presenting at shows?

    I agree that Kenny isn’t offering anything new at this point. He seems to be under the assumption that Tour Stadiums = EOTY Award. That’s tired now.

    I would have to say Sugarland but I’m afraid the voice problems are going to hinder that… and it’s a shame. They are incredibly entertaining and really bring something different to the same ol’ same ol’.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Taylor get it… it’s just been her year.

    Rascal Flatts… just go away, please.

  34. That’s why I don’t like radio. Their playlists are so limited that every artist they allow to make their programming ends up feeling like he/she is being pushed on us.

  35. Too much exposure can make you bored of an artist…but that in itself doesn’t make an artist boring. I think there’s quite a difference.

  36. It’s possible that I just haven’t thought of a circumstance, but I can’t think of a time that I have disliked an artist because he/she was over exposed. On the other hand, there have certainly been times when I’ve been annoyed about an artist that I already don’t like being over exposed.

  37. 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.

    As for all that talk about paying dues I think that is farse of a statement that is why this award is given out every year with an alotted time period. It is not the been in the businees ten years EOTY award!

    Saying that my pics are;

    Kenny – obvious reason, new album, greatist hits II, huge tour, songs that climb, face time every where. I do think he is starting to loose a little of his leadership roll, and is sort of just sailing with the formula that works.

    Brad – his presence cannot be ignored, though I just saw him two weeks ago and was pumped…then not so much. I left thinking he had no energy, he prance around showing off his guitar skills which are amazing but still no energy, his big screen was more entertaining then him! Non the less, his #1’s, new album (consideralbly better then his previous albums), his tour is bringing them in. Still couldn’t believe his openner Dierks had more of a good time up there then the host himself.

    Sugarland – I do believe they desreve the nod, because they put on one heck of a show. But and a big but, they haven’t had a headlining tour of their own yet, so they don’t perform full shows. Jenniffer is lacking in the leadership and public acceptance because she won’t take the ample time needed to fix her vocal problems. There songs aren’t nothing out of this world but they are consistant on the charts. Nom but certainly could be replaced by Flatts or George.

    Carrie – now she fits the criteria to a tee, and Kevin’s statement is spot on she is the genre’s finest ambassador. She has the sales, she hast the string of #1’s (first artist to have all of their first ten releases from only two albums go to #1). The eligiblity period shows of the second have of her year long tour where she did more shows than any other artits, and it was a huge improvement. She is leading the women in country and making there presence known and has brought them back from a slight drought. Her attitude towards the industry, specifically the genre is always respectful and recognizes the history. She should not be snubbed this year.

    Keith – he is consistant and is amazing live, sure all his songs do always hit the top but they have presance. thought the last two years he has host two co-headlining tours, and jumps around to othere artists tours as well instead of sticking to his own, I don’t think he is there to fill the venues himself without another big name with him!

    Why not George or Taylor?

    Well I truly belive although Troubador was a great album and he got his artist of the decade, and he has his #1’s (I think they get there simply because he is George). He is rather bland and is definitely lacking in stage presence whether he can bring in a crowd or not, I think for the past few years it has been an obligatory nom for him, and should not go on any longer, give the noms to the deserving!

    Taylor – yes her success cannot be overlooked, or her sales. Let’s face it the recent #1’s got there by young kids swarming the radio stations with request, and I don’t think that is how the genre should be represent, by a bunch of kids, teens, and some tweens. Her songs have become rather repetitive. Yes I’ve seen her and it is like going to the theatre I don’t want all that Disney looking hoopla I just want some moderate entertainment and some good music. Plus last year Carrie was just as big and had actually done more shows in the time period and she got the snubb. But most of all I don’t like the unnatural crossover at all. My neice asked me to put TS on her iPod, and when she listened to it she said what’s this it is country, I said I want TS, I told her it was and she couldn’t understand why anyone would change themselves to be popular (she’s 10 and she gets it), she does now like the “country” TS but still doesn’t like the message she sends in comprimising herself!

    As for who will win I’ll wait until the noms are announced.

    I love this time of year!

  38. wow UP that’s one thorough nomination reasoning!
    i agree with almost everything.

    but the story about ur niece reminded me of an incident with a friend:
    in this part of the world (lebanon), american country music isn’t very well known, so it’s pretty hard to find country music fans. anyways, when i started becoming a country music fan(through sugarland’s stay), i told one of my best friends. her reaction was: “ewww, country is so annoying, it’s all about teen girls talkin about the shallowness of their lives and their mama and papa and how they wanna write a song about everything! i’d never listen to this crap”. Turns out the only country she’s been exposed to was taylor swift.
    Message being: Taylor Swift is a huge success of course, and I don’t mind her in her own zone. But her labelling as country is just moving country towards too much bubblegum pop which is just sad. I think that although she’s bringing a lot of young audience into country, she’s just giving the wrong idea of what country music can be!

  39. I think this isn’t such an easy race to call anymore. Prior to this year, you could say Paisley, Strait, Chesney, Urban, and a surprise nominee. This year, however, you can add others to the list like Taylor, Carrie, and Sugarland…which makes it a more difficult category.

    Though I’d love to see the list you mentioned Kevin, I don’t think the CMA is ready to shut out staples like Keith Urban and Kenny Chesney. I also think they’ll for sure be giving a nomination to Brad Paisley because I think out of all the artists, he’s one that actually deserves to win plus I think it’s his time to win. That leaves two spots for the CMA to change things up.

    I don’t see how they can’t nominate Carrie Underwood. She’s the reigning Female Vocalist of the Year and she’s the 2009 ACM Entertainer of the Year. She’s racked up a few more number 1’s since last year’s show and she’s been among the top touring acts of the past year. She seems like a lock to me.

    As far as the fifth and final slot goes, I think it’s between Taylor Swift and Sugarland. I’d have to go with Sugarland on this one. Not only do I think it’s too early in Taylor’s career to nab a nomination, but I don’t think she’s country anymore. Sure she’s brought a lot of exposure to the genre, but is it really good exposure? Is her kind of country the country we want exposed to the people on MTV and the covers of Rolling STone? I’m going to say no. Yes, Swift’s had a sold out concert tour and has been the top selling artist, but I just don’t think she has any business being nominated for country music awards anymore. Also, Sugarland has been at the top of their game since their nomination last year and has quickly become one of the genres best live acts. However, the CMA can easily shut these two out for Mr. George Strait who has also kept up the consistent success over the past year.

    So my list would be:
    Kenny Chesney
    Brad Paisley
    Keith Urban
    Carrie Underwood

  40. I’ve really only heard audio of an entire Paisley show, not visual, on XM Radio, but it was very entertaining based on that. So, I can’t speak to his energy level.

  41. “Tara Seetharam says:
    July 24, 2009 at 10:44 pm
    Too much exposure can make you bored of an artist…but that in itself doesn’t make an artist boring. I think there’s quite a difference.”

    With all due respect… that’s your opinion.

  42. And that’s why I said “I think”… :)

    “Boring” is a subjective term, and I understand that. But unless an artist is compromising his or her music for the exposure, I’m not sure what outside circumstances have to do with the actual merit of music.

  43. I agree with Kevin’s list. I think Brad will win, but am fine with Carrie taking it. They are both excellent. My guess is, Underwood will fare better in 2010 after her new album and next headlining tour. She’d be my early favorite for EOTY in ’10, IF her third album succeeds.

  44. I already listed my picks but my daughter wanted me to list hers because I didn’t include her favorite – here it is , her exact quote- “Taylor”!!! She’s horrible live but I love her anyway”

  45. So when I posted my comment yesterday I hadn’t seen Keith Urban yet, but after his show here in Arizona last night, I think it should be him or Brad to win. Keith was phenominal! I don’t know how he continues to perform at the very top of his game every single night but his performance was so electrifying and energetic! It was one of the best shows I’ve seen this year.

  46. Aaron, I know what you mean. I’ve seen Keith twice this year and I have never enjoyed an entertainer like I do Keith. Taylor was one of his opening acts, but when Keith’s time came, the audience went crazy! NO COMPARISON between Keith and Taylor. They are not in the same league!

    Tara & Leeann…you guys know more about the music business than I do, but I have to disagree about Brad Paisley…I find him very dull and boring. My daughter and I saw him in concert and we both left the show feeling let down. Most of his songs are corny and he is not convincing singing a love song because I for some reason can’t separate the two when it comes to Brad. JMO!

    VP….what artist can fill a venue by themselves ?? Also it was last tour Keith co headlined with Carrie and he go better reviews than her.

  47. I beg to differ Gail – I saw the Carrie/Keith co headliner concert and I thought they were both great – but the guitar playing with Keith’s segment – yeah – he’s amazing but with two other guitars, it got a little repetitious for me – it was a long while before they brought in other instruments – I guess I just enjoy the great vocals and a more traditional sounding band

  48. Here are my picks:

    Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney and Rascal Flatts or Toby Keith.

    My wish would be Carrie or Keith or Brad. Carrie would be my first choice because she toured (and sold out) more during the eligible dates, has the sales & #1 hits. I saw her live and she kicked my fav Kenny’s rear live. I still love Kenny & I still think he deserves the nomination – he sells out stadium consistantly & has the #1’s and respectable cd sells. Keith is amazing & it would be great to see him or Brad finally get the recognition. If Carrie doesn’t get the win these 2 men are the ones I am cheering for. Toby is always overlooked but puts on a great show. It kind of makes me sad & I love his last few songs released. Rascal Flatts sold out Wrigley Field and that should be acknowledged – although that might have been after the eligibility dates. They sell out concerts, sell cds & get #1 hits. They have been known to struggle vocally sometimes. George might get the nom because he is George.

    As for Sugarland & Taylor – Unfortunately with Jennifer’s voice problems & the fact that they aren’t headlining should mean they wouldn’t get the nom. Taylor isn’t country (and doesn’t try to even hide that fact with all her remixing for pop) and can not sing. I can see this one going either way – wanting the ratings BUT the fact that she isn’t country or good live would hurt their credibility. She has sold a ton of cd’s but every tweener I know that likes her hates country and listen to her on pop radio. Her remixing should make her ineligible for ANY country award.

  49. Gail,
    Please don’t take my positive comments regarding Brad as anything more than my opinion. I certanly don’t have any inside knowledge about the music business and enjoying Paisley’s music has nothing to do with the business, but rather, personal taste. There are many artists that everyone seems to love that I do not. So, I definitely understand where you’re coming from.

  50. July 24, 2009 at 1:09 pm
    “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”

    Blake cites the criteria here…but instead, I hear talk of sales, chart position, big tours (numbers) etc. The only aspect that even remotely relates to these dollar considerations would be the “public acceptance” part of the criteria.

    I’m hearing very little discussion of the intrinsic qualities that make for a great entertainer, ie well crafted, entertaining and inspiring songs, stage presence, audience rappore, instumental and vocal virtuosity, sense of humor, creativity and innovation and skillful use of staging and props, without overdoing it. These standards relate to the “recorded and in person perfromance,…staging, leadership, and overall contributition to the Countnry Music image aspects of the quote that Blake uses.

    By these standards, Brad Paisley distinquishes himself and stands out from the crowd. He covers all the bases (including the dollar numbers)…And although he can be corny at times, Paisley is anything but boring, and deserves to win.

  51. Well, after re-reading a lot of these posts, I should say “not enough” of the intrinsic qualities of great entertainers being discussed, and “too much” of the numbers stuff…

    Did not mean to imply the substantitive quailties of great entertainers were not being discussed at all, but they do seem to be overshadowed by the dollar related considerations that folks are citing here to support their choices. The numbers considerations should be a low priority, not the top one.

  52. 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.

    Based on the above criteria, Swift will not get a nomination at all. She isn’t even country pop and hasn’t done anything for the country scene. She’s just a pop artist and a terrible vocalist that should not be nominated in any award shows involving country music.

    Kenny Chesney
    Keith Urban
    Carrie Underwood
    Brad Paisley

  53. Steve from Boston says:Well, after re-reading a lot of these posts, I should say “not enough” of the intrinsic qualities of great entertainers being discussed, and “too much” of the numbers stuff…

    Did not mean to imply the substantitive quailties of great entertainers were not being discussed at all, but they do seem to be overshadowed by the dollar related considerations that folks are citing here to support their choices. The numbers considerations should be a low priority, not the top one.

    That is because numbers are the only thing that you can factually prove. How each nominee entertains is subjective. My opinion is no better than anyone else’s so it is only natural to bring up undisputed facts like album sales, #1 songs, successful tours, and what ever else I can come up with.

  54. It Should Be:

    1. Brad Paisley
    2. Keith Urban
    3. Carrie Underwood
    4. Taylor Swift
    5. Sugarland

    It WILL Be:

    1. Brad Paisley
    2. George Strait
    3. Carrie Underwood
    4. Taylor Swift
    5. Sugarland

    And I think the award will go to Brad or Carrie with Taylor being the underdog but it’s definitely possible.

  55. That’s just your opinion about Brad, Steve. He is boring to me regardless of what you feel! Have you ever seen Keith perform live? To each his own! Brad will probably win, but he will never, in my eyes, be the entertainer Keith is!

    Lariat….I enjoyed Carrie as well, but reviews from the newspapers in the towns Keith and Carrie performed gave Keith the better review and said Carrie could learn a lot from Keith!! I was not talking about fan reviews….it was journalist!

  56. Umm…. you have 2 people right and that Brad And King George they have been the Biz long enough to get the Big Honor

    brad will Win it

    Carrie only been in the biz for 5 years

    taylor been in the biz for 3 year and she has not won top female honor

    Sugarland only been the biz since 2003

    i think the list will be

    Rascal Flatts

  57. Well Gail, you’ve read all the reviews in all the towns Carrie and Keith played ? you must really love Keith – I can see why you think Keith should win – well, I saw the Carrie/Keith concert too and I thought Carrie was better because I enjoy listening to a song being delivered more than alot of rock guitar breaks -to me his show was all about the guitar and that’s good if you like that,- it’s all preference – Carrie herself said she learned alot from the singers she toured with- and seeing her Carnival Ride tour concert she used the knowledge well – she put on a phenomenal show

  58. Gail, of course that’s my opinion, but I also tried to support it with the reasons I enjoy Brad so much, and think he deserves the nod. But you’re right, each to their own.

    Actually, I used to own Keith’s Living Right Now DVD, and his turn with Katrina Elam was the best part of it, from my perspective. (I gave it to a friend who is a huge Katrina fan) Seriously, I do have an idea of how good KU is in concert because of that DVD. Love his guitar work especially, and he is a sensitive and talented songwriter as well. I just don’t see anything Country about him, (with the exception of “Where The Blacktop Ends), and I just think he should be dominating all the awards shows in some other genre, that’s all.

    It’s ironic that Keith doesn’t seem to think Brad’s boring though isn’t it? Still, I realize you are entitled to your own opinion. What’s really boring is the predictiblity of this category, with repeat wins by Rascall Flatts, Keith Urban and Kenny Chesney. Brad would be a refreshing change.

    Gavin, you’re right about the tour numbers, the single’s radio spins and album sales being objective facts, but picking the entertainer of the year should be an art in itself, and not an equation. So I stand by my assertion that numbers should be the least, and not the most important criteria in the selection process. I guess that’s why they have judges and Academy members who vote their informed opinions on these things.

    And here in a comments forum like this, it seems to me an ideal opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions that support our various positions,(as granted…there has more of that here on this thread than I first realized) rather than cite numbers and shoot statistics back and forth.

  59. In all fairness to Urban, he can sing a country song with the best of them:

    With Marty Stuart at the Grand Ole Opry:

    On the Artist of the Decade Tribute (sound quality is not super good here):


  60. Those are excellent perfromances..It’s clear that he can sing Country, as these clips and his own “Where the Blacktop Ends” demonstrate, and he is a fine singer there’s no denying.

    My point is that Country doesn’t seem to part of his usual style.

    To me his usual style sounds more Folk, soft rock, or Pop. Could be wrong, but the last time I noticed, there was no steel guitar or fiddle as part of his band.

    But wow, thanks for posting those two youtubes Leeann…I wish he would do a whole ablum of Traditional sounding Country, he does it so well!

  61. Steve,
    I agree with your larger point about Urban. I just wanted an excuse to post those clips.:) I think he’s an incredibly talented artist, but he’s really moved away from actually doing country music at this point in his career, even more so on the newest album.

  62. Those are amazing clips, which makes it all the more of a shame, since now we know even more clearly what he is capable of ;)

  63. There seems to be a lot of potential nominees in this category, but only a few stand out.


    Why she will be nominated: She has continued to be the only female who dominates country radio (Taylor is close though). Her singles continue to go number one, and by the looks of her popularity, I don’t see that changing soon. Her tour played to over one million people, making her the most successful female touring act of the moment. She gives consistent live performances 99% of the time as well. She also seems to be the “it” girl of all awards shows, whether it be the Grammy’s, ACM’s CMA’s or fan-voted shows.

    Why she may not win: She has been very quiet in the commerical, radio and media market, which could hurt her “embassador” status. She did not tour the majority of the year, which may also hinder her; the majority of acts that win this award are a dominate force in the touring market all year long. She has not had a single out, and her camp has been more than tight-lipped about what is coming up. She also did not have a new album out this year, and Carnival Ride’s momentum has significantly slowed.

    Taylor- Her Fearless tour is selling out in mere minutes, and the album contiues to dominate the charts even when every other album is sluggish. She has also been the biggest artist outside of the country music market with slots on the VMAs, an MTV special, CSI spot, and she has been the covergirl for every magazine, including ones that wouldn’t even look at other country artists.

    Why she may not win: She is a horrid live singer, and she has remixed almost all her songs to pop radio. She has not had any standout singles, and they are all a bit immature for adult voters.

    Brad: He continues to be the dominate male voice at radio, and he is tarditional compared to the industry’s standereds. His tour has picked up steam and I believe he has played to over one million fans.

    Why he may not win: He is not a visible face outside of the country genre, which could hurt him in the long run.

    Rascal Flatts-

    Their latest album started out making history, and they continue to have consistent radio singles and download sales. They have played to over a million fans the last several years, and they have sold out two stadiums, one of which is legendary. The only other artists who sells out stadiums is Kenny Chesney, which in itself says a lot.

    Why they may not win: They have never been favored with awards voters unless they are fan voted, which hurts chances of a win, let alone a nomination. They are incredibly popular outside of the country genre, but not to the extent of Taylor or Carrie.

    Kenny: He sells out stadiums and does well at radio.

    Why he may not win: Voters will actually realize there are far better singers in the genere, and selling out stadiums is not all that constitutes an entertainer.

    I could see one of these slots being interchanged with Keith or Sugarland though.

    From what I’ve heard, Keith is one of the greatest guitar players and entertainers in any genre. His albums do fairly well, and his tour numbers are consistent.

    Sugarland could get a nomination, simply because they are the most successful duo in country, and they put on an awesome live show. I do think Jenifer’s voice issues coupled with dozens of canceled shows could seriously damage their chances though.

    Overall, I think Taylor, Carrie, and Kenny or the only “locked” nominations; everyone else is left to guess.

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