2010 ACM Nominations

You know the drill. For each of the categories, we’ll look at who’s broken in since last year, who’s been excused, and then make a totally judgy statement about what it all means.

Entertainer of the Year

  • Kenny Chesney
  • Toby Keith
  • Brad Paisley
  • George Strait
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Keith Urban
  • Zac Brown Band

Who’s In: Who isn’t?

Who’s Out: No one.

Snap Judgment: My best guess about the surprise expansion of this category is that ACM thinks the Oscars are onto something. They’re not. But while the Oscars risk having a Best Picture nomination lose some of its prestige, I don’t think the same quite holds true for ACM Entertainer, since an artist can already be nominated multiple times throughout a career anyway (and most are). So this could actually work, I guess. If nothing else, it’ll be interesting.

Top Male Vocalist of the Year

  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley
  • Darius Rucker
  • George Strait
  • Keith Urban

Who’s In: Darius Rucker

Who’s Out: Toby Keith

Snap Judgment: No surprises here; it’s the same pool the CMA picked this past fall.

Top Female Vocalist of the Year

  • Miranda Lambert
  • Reba McEntire
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Lee Ann Womack

Who’s In: Reba McEntire

Who’s Out: Martina McBride

Snap Judgment: Martina shaft! Drama drama!

Top Vocal Group of the Year

  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town
  • Randy Rogers Band
  • Rascal Flatts
  • Zac Brown Band

Who’s In: Zac Brown Band

Who’s Out: The Lost Trailers

Snap Judgment: I imagine Love And Theft’s and Gloriana’s managers will be spending the morning trying to figure out who the hell Randy Rogers Band is. Seriously, I don’t know how RRB keeps squeezing into this race. Not complaining, though!

Top Vocal Duo of the Year

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

Who’s In: Steel Magnolia

Who’s Out: Big & Rich

Snap Judgment: What’s this? Five duos who actually did something in the last year? Get outta here.

Top New Solo Vocalist of the Year

  • Luke Bryan
  • Jamey Johnson
  • Chris Young

Who’s In: Chris Young, Luke Bryan (both re-entries from previous years)

Who’s Out: Jake Owen (won last year), James Otto

Snap Judgment: I’m just pretending this is the Top New Male category, since ACM’s annual changing around of award names and criteria can be kind of silly. This is going to be an interesting race to watch, especially since all three of these guys are nominated their second time here. It’s the last chance any of them will have to win it.

Top New Vocal Duo of the Year

  • Bomshel
  • Joey + Rory
  • Steel Magnolia

Who’s In: This category was merged with New Vocal Group last year, so none of these duos (being duos) were there.

Snap Judgment: Seriously, doesn’t this whole “actually having semi-active vocal duos” thing kind of weird you out at this point? (P.S. Vote for Joey + Rory!)

Top New Vocal Group of the Year

  • Eli Young Band
  • Gloriana
  • The Lost Trailers

Who’s In: Gloriana

Who’s Out: Zac Brown Band (won last year)

Snap Judgment: Love And Theft HQ must be a grim, grim place today.

Album of the Year

  • Brad Paisley, American Saturday Night
  • Lady Antebellum, Lady Antebellum
  • Miranda Lambert, Revolution
  • Carrie Underwood, Play On
  • Zac Brown Band, The Foundation

Snap Judgment: Not a bad lineup, but the ACM’s lenience in the Album category never ceases to amaze. Lady Antebellum came out two full years ago.

Single Record of the Year

  • Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”
  • Billy Currington, “People Are Crazy”
  • David Nail, “Red Light”
  • Zac Brown Band, “Toes”
  • Miranda Lambert, “White Liar”

Snap Judgment: I’m used to scratching my head in this category. Whatever.

Song of the Year

  • “Cowboy Casanova” – Mike Elizondo, Brett James & Carrie Underwood
  • “Need You Now” – Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley & Hillary Scott
  • “People Are Crazy” – Bobby Braddock & Troy Jones
  • “White Liar” – Natalie Hemby & Miranda Lambert
  • “You Belong With Me” – Liz Rose & Taylor Swift

Snap Judgment: …It’s like, do people even pay attention to lyrics anymore?

Video of the Year

  • Randy Houser, “Boots On”
  • Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”
  • Brad Paisley, “Welcome to the Future”
  • Miranda Lambert, “White Liar”
  • Taylor Swift, “You Belong With Me”

Snap Judgment: Actually not a bad pool. The Lady A video is pretty boring, though.

Vocal Event of the Year

  • Blake Shelton feat. Trace Adkins, “Hillbilly Bone”
  • Brooks & Dunn feat. Billy Gibbons, “Honky Tonk Stomp”
  • Carrie Underwood feat. Randy Travis, “I Told You So”
  • Kenny Chesney with Dave Matthews, “I’m Alive”
  • Jack Ingram with Patty Griffin, “Seeing Stars”

Snap Judgment: Eh.

– – –

What are y’all’s thoughts?


  1. I’m upset because Keith Urban’s Defying Gravity album was not nominated. It’s selling better than Paisley’s boring album. It wouldn’t have won, but a nomination would have been good. However, I’m not excited about these award shows anymore. As long as their fan voted, it’s not about talent, it’s about popularity. I don’t think of the show as being prestigous like I use too! Taylor Swift winning all she has has made me lose faith in any awards show.

  2. One more thing….surprised at Carrie getting an entertainer nod. She did not even tour this past year. I like her, but I don’t feel she deserved an entertainer nod. They shouldn’t even put Swift in vocalist category.

  3. I actually laughed when I read “Red Light” as a nom. And as much as I like 4 of the 5 noms in Song of the Year, I don’t think some of them exactly deserve a nomination for Song of the Year. I will never understand “Boot On” getting nominated for Video. Sure, the kid is cute, but that’s about it.

  4. …read it and concluded that i couldn’t care less. too many votes and awards lately. however, i enjoyed your snap judgements, dan – funny stuff.

  5. The CMT Blog has a good point going about all of this: Jason Aldean is completely absent, despite a year of strong sales and three ubiquitous hits (only one of which I halfway liked, but that’s just me).

  6. Where is George Strait’s superb “Twang” Album?
    Where is George Strait’s “living for the Night” song? Come on, you empty headed ACM people. You guys have no taste.

  7. By the way, if you have no intention of awarding awards to great Country crooners (George Strait)anymore, then don’t nominate them anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. I really enjoyed “Cowboy Casanova” for what it was, but nominating it for song of the year?! Seriously, that is just sad. “Highway 20 Ride” should’ve gotten the nod in its place.

    Hank Williams is rolling over in his grave right about now.

    Miranda Lambert and “White Liar” all the way! Congrats to Lady A!

  9. Go Carrie!!! I’m hoping for a repeat EOTY win!!!
    Jason Aldean should have been nominated for male vocalist.
    Surprised “Cowboy Casanova” is nominated for song but not single or video. I though it would be the other way around.

  10. Jonathan, Highway 20 Ride was not eligible because it did not peak in 2009. Same with Temporary Home. I think those 2 will definitely be nominated at CMA’s and next year’s CMA’s.

  11. Does anyone here dislike “Red Light” as much as I do? Seriously, I think it’s one of the WORST songs of the year. There’s nothing memorable or distinguishable about it–it just is.

    To me, it’s simply four minutes of cliches and recycled phrases.

  12. I’m with you, Stephanie. I think there was worse this past year, and that David Nail released some decent material on his album, but “Red Light” is boring and sub-mediocre to me.

  13. No really surprises this time out. I did kinda expect Sugarland to be in the Entertainer of the Year running, especially with the extended ballot.

    And I’ll echo the sentiments that the Song of the Year category is full of weak contenders.

  14. To be fair, however, how often is there a negative review on Roughstock?

    I echo the sentiments of “Red Light” being a mediocre song, and not deserving of any nominations, especially song of the year.

  15. I was really pleasantly surprised by the noms, particularly the AOTY category. The albums are all solid, and for the first time in a long time, I enjoy every single one. I’m irritated that the EOTY award is still fan-voted, though.

    And yeah, “Red Light” is a head-scratcher. I think he did a beautiful job with “I’m About to Come Alive,” but this?

  16. Since Taylor Swift has devalued all the award shows, I really couldn’t care less if Carrie Underwood loses or wins. I just couldn’t align Carrie’s vocals with Swift that’s why I really don’t want Carrie to win any vocalist award anymore since it’s pointless.

    OK…on the other side of my feeble mind, I do pray and hope that Miranda gets proper recognition for her excellent album which I proudly bought (take that Filipino musicians!) and I honestly believe her award as a female vocalist is long overdue. The girl can sing….

  17. Taylor Swift instead of Martina…for female vocalist???? hilarious! Keith Urban’s Defying Gravity should have been nominated for album and I sure would like to know why Jason Aldean was overlooked.

  18. I was hoping for at least a songwriting nod for the pro-choice tune “Fetus or Not”. But there’s always the CMA’s.

  19. krystal, Love And Theft are a trio signed to Lyric Street (Rascal Flatts’ label). They had a top ten hit this past year with their debut single, “Runaway,” which is already more chart success than Gloriana can boast (though Gloriana’s album sales have been better, I believe).


    I’m not a fan of the band personally, though. I got the album as an Amazon Daily Deal, but find it pretty blase, and hard to classify as country. But I think it’s a no-brainer that they deserved the New Vocal Group slot this year over the Lost Trailers, who have been working a flat-out terrible album with relatively little success.

  20. I’m a pretty big Carrie Underwood fan, however, I don’t think she should win EOTY this year. She barely toured at all. I’d rather her win it next year after she has a big year of touring. She doesn’t deserve to win this year and it would hurt her chances next year. Does anyone else think that EOTY has lost a lot of its prestige now that its fan voted?

  21. Carrie might not have toured, but she had a very busy year (new album, lots of TV appearances, hosted own variety show, many Opry performances, etc.) and definitely deserves to win. I will be voting for Carrie!

  22. I am not bashing Lee Ann Womack in any way but what is up with her nominations lately in all the FVOY categories? Is it because MCA lost Trisha Yearwood and Reba McEntire so they can focus all their energies on her?

  23. you know what I think would be a great compromise? Why don’t they have an Entertainer of the year like they used to, where it’s voted by the academy. Then if they want, then add a a fan voted awards that’s separate so they can have their fan choice award and still keep the “prestige” of the awards.

  24. Can someone tell me why Kellie Pickler is not nominated for any ACM awards. She is a fantastic artist. Seems like only the same people get nominated for everything. Doesn’t seem like these nominations are done very fairly. Don’t even think I’ll watch the ACM’s this year if Kellie is not on the show.

  25. I fear that the ACM will make the same stupid mistakes as the CMA and AMA last fall and the Grammys on Jan 31. Heck, they’re already half-way there by nominating a certain someone in so many categories that she doesn’t deserve to be in. I mean, on the one hand Taylor Swift seems to be a lovely young woman. On the other hand she seems a shrewd, manipulative, conniving, chameleon. But Country? No. Vocalist? No.

  26. I’d be a little surprised if Taylor swept all her categories again, though it’s not out of the question. She faced her first great wave of backlash after the Grammys, and Carrie and Miranda have pretty strong presence on the ballot, too.

  27. My Picks:

    Vocal Event Of The Year: “I Told You So” Carrie Underwood & Randy Travis
    Video Of The Year: “Welcome To The Future” Brad Paisley
    Song Of The Year: “White Liar” Miranda Lambert
    Single Record Of The Year: “White Liar” Miranda Lambert
    Album Of The Year: Revolution; Miranda Lambert
    Top Vocal Duo Of The Year: Sugarland
    Top Vocal Group Of The Year: Lady Antebellum
    Top Male Vocalist Of The Year: George Strait
    Top Female Vocalist Of The Year: Reba McEntire
    Entertainer Of The Year: Brad Paisley or George Strait



  28. The only song I would give vocal event of the year is “Best Days of Your Life” by Ms. Kellie Pickler and Taylor Swift.

    How was that not nominated? One of the most country and the only not related to pretending your a princess songs that Taylor Swift has ever been a part of, and Pickler rocked it.

    Happy for Miranda’s nominations though. Her new CD is my favorite country CD, I’d go as far to say. Not happy about the Lady Antebellum CD nom.


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