Picking the CMA Nominees: Vocal Duo and Vocal Group

It’s often argued that Vocal Duo and Vocal Group should be combined into one category, but this is one of those rare years where the two categories have more than five worthy nominees between them.

My picks for Vocal Duo:

  • Big & Ri


  • Brooks & Dunn
  • Joey + Rory
  • Montgomery Gentry
  • Sugarland

The only real filler in this category is Big & Rich, who have been largely dormant this past year.

As for Vocal Group, all five of my picks have been very active these past twelve months:

  • Eli Young Band
  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town
  • Rascal Flatts
  • Zac Brown Band

What are your picks for Vocal Duo and Vocal Group?Rich Text AreaToolbarBold (Ctrl + B)Italic (Ctrl + I)Strikethrough (Alt + Shift + D)Unordered list (Alt + Shift + U)Ordered list (Alt + Shift + O)Blockquote (Alt + Shift + Q)Align Left (Alt + Shift + L)Align Center (Alt + Shift + C)Align Right (Alt + Shift + R)Insert/edit link (Alt + Shift + A)Unlink (Alt + Shift + S)Insert More Tag (Alt + Shift + T)Proofread WritingToggle fullscreen mode (Alt + Shift + G)Show/Hide Kitchen Sink (Alt + Shift + Z)
UnderlineAlign Full (Alt + Shift + J)Select text color▼
Paste as Plain TextPaste from WordRemove formattingInsert custom characterOutdentIndentUndo (Ctrl + Z)Redo (Ctrl + Y)Help (Alt + Shift + H)

It’s often argued that Vocal Duo and Vocal Group should be combined into one category, but this is one of those rare years where the two categories have more than five worthy nominees between them.
My picks for Vocal Duo:
Big & Rich
Brooks & Dunn
Joey + Rory
Montgomery Gentry
The only real filler in this category is Big & Rich, who have been largely dormant this past year.
As for Vocal Group, all five of my picks have been very active these past twelve months:
Eli Young Band
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Rascal Flatts
Zac Brown Band
What are your picks for Vocal Duo and Vocal Group?


  1. I think we’ll see Sugarland and Rascal Flatts walking home with trophys that night – unless there’s an upset by Lady A or ZBB.

  2. Sugarland has got the award locked up I think

    And I think Lady A or Zac Brown have a good chance of winning and upsetting Rascal Flatts.

  3. Good picks, these are too categories where you basically said everyone who are deservidly eligible so our picks should all match up, unless there’s some rooting for the Bellamy Brothers this year.

  4. I agree with Kevin’s list as far as the nominees but the winners are obvious. Like ’em or hate ’em Rascal Flatts is a juggernaut and Sugarland is a no brainer for the win.

  5. Sugarland and Rascal Flatts are obvious but Little Big Town shouldn’t get a nomination, The Lost Trailers should get it over them. Though Little Big Town has more interesting material.

  6. Again, I like both lists. I might actually strike Big & Rich for Caitlin & Will, though neither would have a chance of winning this year.

    I’ll be disappointed if the Lost Trailers knock Eli Young Band or Little Big Town out of the pool, though it seems inevitable.

    It’s going to be a tough call for the win – Zac Brown Band and Lady A both pose a serious threat, but my fear is that they’ll split the vote.

  7. make no illusions people, rascal flatts will win.
    in a few years time the people of the academy will scratch their heads why they let the “backstreet boys” of country win countless times.

  8. I would like to see Montgomery Gentry and Lady Antebellum win in these categories; however, I think Rascal Flatts will win yet again..and Sugarland will most likely take duo…next year, I think Lady Antebellum has a really good chance of winning..

  9. I too am one who would like to see Duo and Group be put into one category!!! It is long over due. I look at all the talented men and women that have to be narrowed down into their respective categories, where with so little recognized Duos and Group, it is easier for them to get noms.

    I for one think that Montgomery Gentry has well deserved their turn at a win, even though Sugarland is the dominant force. MG is so consistant in putting out quality music, and lots of it, also I don’t ever count B&D out, they still put on one great show, their music may have been lacking in the artistic front, but they are also still very consistant.

    I do think the Sugarland winning streak will continue though!

  10. I’d be surprised if anyone knocked RF off the throne, but pleasantly surprised, as both Lady A and Little Big Town are deserving. And I think without a question Vocal Duo is Sugarland’s award to lose.

    These lists, compared to the FVOTY list, are interestingly solid.

  11. I think you are correct in your choices – I wouldn’t describe any of them as terribly worthy but someone has to win. I’d probably prefer Sugarland and Zac Brown, but without any real enthusiasm.

    I think Rascal Flatts & Sugarland will be the winners.

    If they stay together, I think Lady A
    could develop into something special, but I have yet to be impressed at all by Little Big Town

  12. I’d prefer Joey + Rory to get a nomination, but I know there commercial appeal wouldn’t warrant it. Like Paul, I think it’ll be Sugarland and Lady A.

  13. I think Sugarland has the Duo category pretty well wrapped up.

    Rascal Flatts have been the perennial favorite in the Group race lately, but with Zac Brown Band’s success at radio and at the cash register – gold album – they could be a surprise upset. Lady A has had a pretty good year too, so it’s going to be an interesting one to watch.

  14. My picks for Vocal Duo: They certainly have done more than Big and Rich this year and their members aren’t releasing solo singles.

    * Caitlin & Will
    * Brooks & Dunn
    * Joey + Rory
    * Montgomery Gentry
    * Sugarland

    Vocal Group: I can’t disagree with your choices although it’s possible that somehow Gloriana makes it in here.

    * Eli Young Band
    * Lady Antebellum
    * Little Big Town
    * Rascal Flatts
    * Zac Brown Band

  15. “BackStreet Boys of Country??!!”

    Get over it, Rascal Flatts are NOT a boy band, never have been.

    I think they still have a lock for Vocal Group this year.

    “Unstoppable” became their third concecutive number one album (the most this decade); the digital album was the second-biggest of the year; they are #9 on Bilboard tours of all generes; they sold out Wrigley Field, and they are the first country artist ever to play there.
    They had consistent radio singles, all top ten or number one.

    ZBB: They have only had three singles, and little chart success. I’ve never even heard that they are opening tours at this point. I could see them locking new vocal group, but over RF is a joke.

    JR: First couple singles have not made a dent on the charts, and their album isn’t doing great. They aren’t opening for anyone either.

    Lady A is the only serious threat, but I think it’s too early for a win.

  16. K,

    Zac Brown Band had a #2 and a two-week #1, plus a gold album. And I believe they opened some dates for Keith Urban, not to mention they made their name as a touring band for years before they ever got major-level distribution.

    I admit I would be surprised to see them pull the upset over Flatts, though. Radio and the fans have been on their side, but I think Nashville would be more likely to back Lady A, who had enough love to grab a surprise New Artist win last year.

  17. Thanks for the correction.

    I still don’t think they have nearly enough to beat the Flatts though.

    18 million albums, consistent tour numbers (in the millions for the last few years), and consistent radio singles.

    ZBB is too new; their success deserves a New Artist nomination at best.

  18. oh , sorry, of course rascal flatts are not the backstreet boys of country music, they are n sync! Get over it , its a boy band, they didn’t even play on their first record.

  19. K,

    What Rascal Flatts has done in the past sales wise should have NOTHING to do with nominations for this year. The award shows are supposed to follow specific period of time, not past marks. In the specific time RF has sold around 1 million of the albums released in that eligibility period (the GH and “Unstoppable” albums) compared to ZBB’s nearly 900,000. Go on these numbers alone and Zac Brown Band SHOULD be in contention for the group award, even if they aren’t likely to win it. That’s where Rascal Flatts’ past helps them. Lady Antebellum has sold less than either but the industry genuinely likes them and may be ready to move “past” Rascal Flatts, even if it’s just for one year.

  20. The Zac Brown Band has impressed me more with their grassroots approach and their general vibe than with any of their material so far. Lady A is OK, but their debut showed some deficiency in their songwriting. As far as the Flatts, I just think that the CMA picked them in this category (and gave them scattered other nods) because their numbers were so gaudy, and not so much for their creative contributions to the genre. Since there are alternatives now that match them artistically (if not commercially—it’s close) and their sales aren’t so impressive, I think it’s plausible they could be ousted. I still think they’re the faves, but I’d pick LBT every year that the Chicks aren’t nommed. :)

  21. Johny-

    Who cares if they didn’t play on their first album? They are not the first ones in history.

    Unlike boy bands, Rascal Flatts have produced eight of their albums, write many of thier own songs (including several on their debut), play their own insturements, and design their own stage show.

    All the members of Rascal Flatts have incredible voices as well. Both NSync and the BackStreet Boys had ONE lead vocalist, because only one could be the lead.

    Rascal Flatts don’t rely on dance moves and TEENAGE love songs to gain fans.

    They have mature, adult love songs, and they sing about more than love.

    What boybands sing about making love to their significant other? (“I Melt, “She Goes All The Way”). What boybands sing about small towns, famliy life, adult lost love and faith?(“Mayberry,” “Things That Matter,” “These Days”, “He Ain’t The Leaving Kind”).

    Nysnc and the Backstreet Boys fell off the face of the earth after ten years. Rascal Flatts have been around almost as long, and they are only gaining popularity. They have played to millions of the fans the last three years, and they are having consistent album sales and radio play.

    They consistently break touring records set by country legends, and they have a place in history when it comes to country bands.

    What was the comparison again

  22. Your picks were my picks as well. As for winners, Sugarland has duo locked up…I really don’t see anyone posing a huge threat. Plus, Sugarland is still at the top of their game has been the most successful duo in the past year.

    As far as a group, it’s hard not to say that Rascal Flatts will win. However, I think Lady A has had a hugely successful year since winning their New Artist Award last year by finally earning their first number 1 song (which came way later than it should have) and their first gold album. On the other hand, RF is still churning out big hits. It’ll be interesting to see if Lady A or even ZBB (as much as I dislike them) can pull off the upset.

  23. Sorry, but I can’t agree that RF boys all have great voices. They may on their CDs, but not singing live. They had a concert in Atlanta this past Friday night and the DJs the next Monday complained that Gary LeVox was missing from the stage on 4 of their songs. He seems to do that a lot! I didn’t attend the concert because I just don’t care for them or their music! Never will understand their greatness! They and Taylor Swift are floating in the same boat as far as I’m concerned. Well, at least Taylor does write her own boy/girl love/hate Disney songs and the RF boys don’t!

  24. Gail,

    First off, the Flatts have many great live performances; just because you don’t search for them does not mean they are not out there.

    Gary only goes “missing” to give Jay and Joe Don their time on stage to do solos; it happens at EVERY show.

    As for you claiming not to be a fan? Well, it’s pretty obvious by everything you posted before that…your need to spell it out seems like a desperate need for attention.

    Gary, Jay, and Joe Don DO write their own songs. Just because they don’t write all of them does not make them less authentic. George Strait is a country music legend, and he’s never written a song in his life! Kenny Chesney does not write the majority of his material; same with Tim Mcgraw and Carrie Underwood.

    On the debut album, Gary co-wrote “See Me Through” and Jay co-wrote “It’s Not Just Me”

    On Melt Jay co-wrote “Too Good Is True,” Gary co-wrote “i Melt,” Joe Don co-wrote “Like I Am” and all three wrote “Shine On.”

    On Feels Like Today Gary co-wrote “Fast Cars and Freedom,” Jay co-wrote “Here’s To You,” and all three wrote “Oaklahoma Texas Line, while Joe Don co-wrote “Break Away.”

    On Me and My Gang Jay co-wrote “To Make Her Love Me,” the guys co-wote “Peices” and Joe Don co-wrote “Cool Thing.”

    On Still Feels Good, Gary co-wrote “Bob That Head” and “Still Feels Good.” All three wrote “She Goes All The Way,” and “Winner At A Losing Game.” Jay co-wrote “No Reins.”

    On Unstoppable Jay co-wrote the tittle track, Gary co-wrote “Summer Nights” and “Things That Matter.”

    Also, these guys don’t let others write their songs for them. If you look at the songs I mentioned, you’ll notice that their names usually come before the prominate songwriter. To determine how much was contributed by each writer, it goes in order by name…The guys never come last.

    Taylor Swift has an eight-note range. Gary has at least a one to two octiave range. Not great, but better than her. She writes only about teenage love. RF sings about adult love and real life (small towns, family, and loss.)

    These guys make their own history and break thier own records; their obviously TALENTED enough for the 1-2 million people who pay close to $100 to see them LIVE every year, and purchase their cds and downloads.

  25. K…you are pretty pathetic! Why do I need attention? However, you need a life! I have better things to do then go on a search for anything Rascal Flatts. It’s pretty obvious you don’t! Thanks for all this unwanted info you evidently spend your life collecting. But one thing for sure, I’m not impressed!

  26. I’m a fan who knows what she’s talking about, so I “need a life?” Wow, you really do need attention. I follow RF, so I know what they write, and I’ve watched enough performances to know the good from the bad.

    You really should stop being so arrogant and rude. Get a life and follow an artist you like. YOU were the one who posted the bash, I only defended it. I suggest you stop bad mouthing people you know nothing about.

Leave a Reply

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