2010 ACM Awards: Staff Picks & Predictions

Nashville takes over Vegas this Sunday for the 45th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, and it could actually be an interesting night. Eight acts are vying for Entertainer of the Year, one trio is poised to sweep the show, and a certain artist’s performance may solidify her as Music Row’s Lady Gaga. We’ll find out for sure Sunday at 8 pm Eastern, but in the meantime, we’ve picked ‘em and predicted ‘em. Sound off in the comments below.

Entertainer of the Year

Should Win:

  • Kenny Chesney
  • Toby Keith
  • Brad Paisley – Tara
  • George Strait – Kevin
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Keith Urban
  • Zac Brown Band – Dan, Leeann

Will Win:

  • Kenny Chesney
  • Toby Keith
  • Brad Paisley
  • George Strait
  • Taylor Swift – Dan, Tara, Kevin, Leeann
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Keith Urban
  • Zac Brown Band

Kevin: While I suspect that this will be the end of her impressive awards show victory lap, Swift should easily win this award. Does she deserve it? Probably. If I was an ACM voter (traditional member or willing to go vote online), I guess that I’d vote for George Strait, though my favorite among those with a real shot at this is Carrie Underwood.

Leeann: I predict Swift, though I don’t know if the backlash against her will thwart my prediction. Then again, the fan voting debacle will likely still work in her favor. I’ll throw my personal vote to Zac Brown Band, since I’ve really dug their live performances that I’ve seen on television. They seem like natural entertainers.

Dan: Fan-voted = Taylor Swift, with a possible Underwood repeat. But Swift hasn’t been as interesting post-Grammys. So I’ll also go with our resident grassroots heroes, ZBB.

Tara: One of the most rewarding aspects of being a five-year Underwood fan has been watching her stage presence gradually become as killer as her vocals, resulting in a powerful combination. I’d love for this to be properly recognized, and rationale seems pointless now that the EOTY race is a glorified internet fan war…but I can’t ignore that Underwood spent most of 2009 off stage. I’m going with Paisley.

Top Male Vocalist of the Year

Should Win:

  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley – Tara, Dan, Leeann
  • Darius Rucker
  • George Strait
  • Keith Urban – Kevin

Will Win:

  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley – Kevin, Leeann
  • Darius Rucker – Dan
  • George Strait – Tara
  • Keith Urban

Dan: It feels like Paisley’s winning streak may be just about up, which is a shame, since this year has actually been stronger material-wise for him than the years for which he’s won. Honestly, as much as I hate to say it, Jason Aldean had a bigger year than any of these guys.

Tara: Paisley and Strait were the only two who impressed me in 2009, and Paisley’s material feels fresher and more interesting. But I agree with Dan that his winning streak has probably run its course, so I’ll go out on a limb and say Strait will be the one to edge him out.

Kevin: I agree with Dan but suspect that there isn’t another nominee with enough momentum to upset the status quo in this race. If I’m wrong, I hope it’s because Urban or Strait pull it off.

Leeann: I think Paisley just might have another year of winning left in him.

Top Female Vocalist of the Year

Should Win:

  • Miranda Lambert – Dan, Leeann
  • Reba McEntire – Kevin
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood – Tara
  • Lee Ann Womack

Will Win:

  • Miranda Lambert – Kevin, Leeann
  • Reba McEntire
  • Taylor Swift – Dan
  • Carrie Underwood – Tara
  • Lee Ann Womack

Tara: It’s really a toss-up between Lambert and Underwood for me, with personal preference and investment swaying me towards the latter artist. I’m eerily optimistic that the ACM voters will stick to the truest sense of the award’s title – as I adamantly believe they should – and sidestep Swift.

Kevin: This is the first time in my twenty years as a country fan that I’m rooting for Reba McEntire to win Female Vocalist, though I wanted her to win Entertainer every year she was nominated in the nineties. Consider me smitten by “Consider Me Gone.” As always, I’d be happy with an Underwood victory and I wouldn’t mind Womack or Lambert, either. I’m guessing that Lambert will actually win, given her widespread appeal among ACM voters and the fact that she’s had a big radio and retail breakthrough during the voting period.

Leeann: The Academy seems to like Lambert pretty well. Since this has been her biggest year to date, it’s hard for me to imagine that she won’t be rewarded for it.

Dan: I’m going to cautiously predict that Swift’s CMA win will carry over to ACM, but Underwood has been reliably successful, and Lambert’s got stronger momentum than ever. The latter is also my favorite mainstream act at the moment, so it’s a no-brainer that I’m rooting for her to take it.

Top Vocal Group of the Year

Should Win:

  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town
  • Randy Rogers Band
  • Rascal Flatts
  • Zac Brown Band – Dan, Tara, Kevin, Leeann

Will Win:

  • Lady Antebellum – Dan, Tara, Kevin, Leeann
  • Little Big Town
  • Randy Rogers Band
  • Rascal Flatts
  • Zac Brown Band

Leeann: Lady A has the hype and momentum that makes it impossible for me to bet against them. I’d sure love to see ZBB prove me wrong ,though.

Dan: Little Big Town’s new single has me thinking I’ll probably be gunning for them again soon, but for now, I’m with Zac Brown Band.

Tara: I have a feeling the coming year(s) is going to be Lady Antebellum’s year o’ accolades, so I’d like to see the equally deserving Zac Brown Band pick this one up while they still have some momentum.

Kevin: This is becoming a habit. Predict LA, root for ZBB. This was so much easier when the Dixie Chicks were in the running.

Top Vocal Duo of the Year

Should Win:

  • Brooks & Dunn
  • Joey + Rory
  • Montgomery Gentry
  • Steel Magnolia
  • Sugarland – Kevin, Tara, Leeann

Will Win:

  • Brooks & Dunn – Dan, Tara, Leeann
  • Joey + Rory
  • Montgomery Gentry
  • Steel Magnolia
  • Sugarland – Kevin

Kevin: A sympathy vote might give B&D one more trophy, but it seems that both the CMA and ACM see this award as one that is passed down from one duo to the next, and not very often at that. I wonder if they will be calling this “The Sugarland Award” like it was once called “The Judds Award” and “The Brooks & Dunn Award.”

Leeann: I’d love to see Joey + Rory win, but I know it wouldn’t actually be fair if they did. So, I’m not officially picking them here. I’m pretty sure this one will go to Brooks & Dunn as a parting gift, though they’d be totally undeserving at this point. Really, Sugarland is probably the duo that makes most sense. It’s just too bad I’m not more personally invested in them, though I’ve warmed up a bit.

Dan: Sugarland have been off the radar since “Joey” trailed off months ago, and I still remember how ACM stuck with Brooks & Dunn that one year even after CMA had passed the torch. So I see the veteran duo winning again in a shrug. I’m indifferent, personally.

Tara: I keep going back on forth on this one. I want Brooks & Dunn to win, but I can’t rationalize it. I think the ACM voters may feel the same.

Top New Artist of the Year

Should Win:

  • Luke Bryan
  • Joey + Rory – Kevin, Dan, Tara, Leeann
  • Gloriana

Will Win:

  • Luke Bryan – Kevin, Dan
  • Joey + Rory
  • Gloriana – Tara, Leeann

Kevin: It’s categories like this that make me feel out of touch with contemporary country music. I love Joey + Rory, but can’t see them winning. Who’s bigger now, Bryan or Gloriana? I’m taking a guess here.

Leeann: I’m like Kevin. I love Joey + Rory, but don’t imagine they’ll have enough votes to win. So, between Bryan and Gloriana, I’ll flip a coin and predict the latter.

Dan: Given the fan vote, I imagine this award will boil down to whether or not Taylor Swift has been urging her peoples to back Gloriana like she did with the AMAs. She hasn’t tweet-commanded it, and that’s as much research as I’m willing to do on the subject. So I’ll go with Bryan.

Tara: My best guess is that there’s enough fan overlap for Swift’s votes to lift Gloriana to victory.

Album of the Year

Should Win:

  • Brad Paisley, American Saturday Night
  • Lady Antebellum, Lady Antebellum
  • Miranda Lambert, RevolutionTara, Dan, Leeann
  • Carrie Underwood, Play OnKevin
  • Zac Brown Band, The Foundation

Will Win:

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

Kevin: I’m expecting a Lady Antebellum sweep. They’re just ridiculously popular right now. But I could see any one of these five winning. I revisit the Underwood set more than any of the others.

Leeann: I can’t ignore Lady A’s popularity right now, but I’d love to see Lambert be recognized for one of my two favorite albums on this list, Paisley’s album being the other one.

Dan: Revolution doesn’t have the punch or consistency of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, but it’s got some brains, and I like that. I’m expecting a Lady A sweep too, though.

Tara: If my co-bloggers are right about a Lady A sweep, I’ll be pleased to see the trio’s underrated debut album take this award. But frankly, every album in this line-up is substantial, authentic and layered. I’m backing Revolution because it’s the sharpest of them all, created by the artist who has the firmest grasp on her potential.

Single Record of the Year

Should Win:

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

Will Win:

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

Kevin: There’s only one career-changing single in the running here.

Leeann: Ditto to Kevin. But also, it’s my favorite in terms of melody.

Dan: I swear I’m not just being a spoilsport. I know “Need You Now” sounds great, and in many respects it was the single of the year. But I can’t get past how boring Lady A’s lyrics always are. There’s just not a single original phrase in that song, and it puts a damper on my experience listening to it.

Tara: It’s never been my personal favorite, but “Need You Now” finds the trio excelling at what it does best – honing in on specific, raw emotion and expressing it potently and believably. In a category as weak as this one, and with a performance as haunting as Scott’s, “Need You Now” is the clear winner.

Song of the Year

Should Win:

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

Will Win:

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

Kevin: I like the writing of “Need You Now” more than the performance, even if it’s just a college dorm knock-off of “I May Hate Myself in the Morning.” I range from indifference to active dislike for the rest of these entries.

Leeann: I think Lady A will sweep these awards, but I doubt that Swift will walk away with nothing. Since she’s most lauded for her songwriting skills, I predict that the Academy will continue the trend in this category.

Dan: “You Belong with Me” combines a memorable melody with telling details. Subject matter notwithstanding, it’s the only one of these songs I take seriously as a composition.

Tara: Unlike Kevin, I think “Need You Now” is better performed than written, but it’s still a great composition. I wouldn’t mind if Swift took this award, though.

Video of the Year

Should Win:

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

Will Win:

  • 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” – Dan, Tara, Kevin

Tara: The “You Belong With Me” video is brilliant in that it embodies everything that makes Swift relevant and appealing. I just really wish Paisley’s video had been better directed, because its message is so compelling.

Dan: That Swift video is mega-charming. But Lambert’s is a close second.

Kevin: I’m rooting for the only video I don’t reflexively skip past while channel surfing.

Vocal Event of the Year

Should Win:

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

Will Win:

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

Kevin: Nice to see Griffin on the ballot, but “I Told You So” is among both my favorite Underwood and favorite Travis singles.

Leeann: Frankly, I’m not crazy about any of them, as long as the B&D collaboration doesn’t get the token vote.

Dan: Wish I liked “Seeing Stars” more. I’d actually probably go with presumptive favorite “Hillbilly Bone” if the song itself didn’t feel like such a Music Row toss-off. There’s charm in the idea and performances, but again, limp lyrics.

Tara: Underwood and Travis’ collaboration is the strongest and most exquisite of the bunch, but it feels a little like old news, with the news of the day being the inescapable (but nonetheless solid) “Hillbilly Bone.”


  1. In the Male Vocalist….all of them have gotten that award except Darius! I bet he might just win it! I’d rather see him win than boring Brad take it again. Man, I just will never see what you guys see in Brad Paisley. If his album is so great why is it not selling that well?

  2. Oh yeah, meant to ask who the performer is that might be the next Lady GaGa??? Please don’t say Taylor Swift! I heard she was performing with some glee club she saw on Youtube and that her rehearsals were closed off! However, she does need all the help she can get singing wise. Anything to take away the attention from her poor vocals.
    Another thing, I vote for Keith Urban for Entertainer!

  3. Gloria asks, “If his album’s so great then why isn’t it selling that well?”

    While the awards may be somewhat based on sales, personal taste is not. Many of my favorite artists don’t even chart.

    I really think Darius Rucker’s first album is rather bland. I’m not giving up on him just yet though.

  4. The article mentions Laura Bell Bundy as country’s Lady Gaga.

    My predictions:
    Entertainer: Underwood
    Male: Paisley
    Female: Lambert
    Group: Lady Antebellum
    Duo: Sugarland
    New Artist: Gloriana
    Album: ZBB’s The Foundation
    Single & Song: “Need You Now”
    Video: “You Belong With Me”
    Vocal Event: “I Told You So”

    But I would be very happy to see Reba McEntire and George Strait walk away with a trophy or two. I would never bet money on it though. My favorites of the most likely winners are Miranda Lambert and Zac Brown Band. It would have been nice if “Welcome to the Future” had received a nod in the song category – especially when I see that “Cowboy Casanova” may end up representing the year in history books. (Although it is actually a good reflection of the state of country radio.)

  5. Taylor Swift has definatly taken away almost all the credibility for awards shows to me.

    I probably won’t be watching, but I care about a few awards. I really want to See Miranda win for album, Carrie win for female and Entertainer and Keith for male vocalist.

    All the others I could care less about. Lady A is talented, but I don’t think they deserve to sweep the awards, let alone win for something as medicore as “Need You Now.” There have been dozens of songs nominated in previous years that don’t get recogintion; why are we so quick to call mediocrity so great simply because it’s popular?

    I don’t understand why peple say Carrie had a quiet year?
    PO was one of only a few to go platinum
    Biggest opening week sales for a female country artist in 2009
    Co-hosted CMA’s
    Had two of her own TV specials, and one drew 8 million people.
    Made dozens of TV apperances
    Several magazine covers
    Her tour is already posting impressive numbers, including several sell-outs
    She was personally chosen to perform at the MJ tribute and Superbowl
    Another pair of number one singles; she set a record with number ones for a female
    “Temporary Home” is her strongest video-to-date, and probably one of the strongest of the year.

  6. Are people really saying Carrie had a quiet year? I think her success has just started to be viewed as something of a given. A lot of it comes down to who the media focuses on. Carrie had the main spotlight for a time, then Taylor Swift kind of supplanted her as the hottest artist going, and now Taylor’s peak is kind of over and Lady A is the new thing. Just one of those things.

  7. I think K is referring to me. I have conflicted feelings on the subject, but it just feels weird supporting an EOTY win when she didn’t tour in 2009. I agree with your point about the Play On tour – but that just kicked off. Next year is her year.

    But like I said, now that the award’s at least partially fan-voted, I think most of this type of reasoning goes out the window. And you can bet I’ll still be thrilled if she wins.

  8. Entertainer: Carrie Underwood
    Male Vocalist: Keith Urban
    Female Vocalist: Carrie Underwood
    Group: Zac Brown Band
    Duo: Brooks & Dunn
    Album: Play On
    Single: Need You Now
    Song: Cowboy Casanova
    Vocal Event: I Told You So
    Video: You Belong With Me
    New Artist: Luke Bryan

    GO CARRIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. I think Carrie is blooming big time, all the specials, album debute #1-2 more number 1’s, appearances on tv, a movie under her belt, and her tour is out of sight. Hope they vote for talent, rather than politics and favorites of djs. Can’t handle anymore of that, I think she she should win FVOY hands down, and if she doesn’t , someting is rotten in denmark.

  10. I’m really hoping Miranda walks away with a lot of awards, but I have a feeling that she might get shut out. Then again the ACM’s are probably her best chance at an award since it seems to be the only award show to acknowledge her with more than 1 nomination, plus she walked away with Album of the Year two years ago. I predict Taylor will win EOTY since it’s fan voted, but really does it really mean anything anymore? All it proves is that she has the most fans at the moment (at least the most who are internet friendly). I’m afraid that she’ll also win FV after winning at both the CMA’s and Grammy’s, but maybe all the backlash and shaky live performances will bring someone to their senses? I wouldn’t be surprised if Underwood won again and she`d be much more deserving than Taylor, but after releasing “Cowboy Casanova” and now “Undo It” I wouldn’t be thrilled if she won again. So I’m definetly rooting for Miranda, but again I have feeling that she won’t win it, For the record I wouldn’t mind if Reba or Lee Ann won either! I’d like to see Urban win because I’ve liked all of his single from his last album and love “‘Til Summer Comes Around”, but I think Brad will probably win at least one more year, which wouldn’t be the worst thing and I’ve felt he’s one durin g less deserving years, I just can’t get fully behind him as a fan.I really wouldn’t mind if Lady A or ZZB win VG. Duo of the year is admittedly not the most exciting category this year, but both Sugarland and Joey+Rory have released some good stuff. The former released an excellent live album that went #1 and an enjoyable X-mas album, while the latter released my favorite song last year (“To Say Goodbye”), so it’s tough to chose but in thend I’ll throw my support behind Sugarland. Hope Joey+Rory win best new artist though. I hope “Revolution” becomes Miranda’s second win in the album category. I also would like to see her walk away win single record and “Need You Now” in the song category. I’m indifferent to the music video category because it seems more like a consolation prize than anything else these days. As for Vocal Event, I hope “I Told You So” wins, but like Leeann as long as the dreadful “Honky Tonk Stomp” doesn’t I’m happy. Um, this might be a dumb question, but after there wasn’t any for the Grammy’s while there be a live blog for the ACM’s?

  11. I’m sure this has been addressed somewhere here, but help me understand the eligibility period for the ACMs. I mean, it’s mid-April. Is this still just about 2009? Seems like a very long time to wait for these awards to be handed out.

  12. Just some of My Predictions:
    EOTY =Carrie Underwood
    Male=Brad Paisley
    Female=Carrie Underwood
    Album=Miranda Lambert
    Song=Lady A
    Single=Billy Curington
    Vocal Event=Carrie and Randy


  13. I think the closest thing to Lady Gaga country music has seen was Big & Rich. I’m thinking of a few of their CMA Awards performances. Lauras is just dancing, nothing too weird about that.

    From reading a few things online, this show is shaping up to be a train wreck. Like last years CMT Awards. If I’m gonna tune in, it will be to see the crowds reaction when LL Cool J walks out. Mainstream country music has some serious issues. God forbid we just allow a current country singer, Chuck Wicks or someone like that, come out, present something and 30 seconds later forget they were ever there, but a washed up rapper? Forget the awards, this is the more important issue to focus on.

  14. Considering Taylor’s album was released in 2008 and the others like Lady A (2010) and Carrie (late 2009). I think Taylor is holding up pretty well for an album that’s been out for so long. Right now, I still think she is the hottest country artist . Lady A’s album is newer and should be selling better right now but I’m interested to see Taylor’s follow up coming later this year. I think it will be pretty big and she will once again take over that #1 country album spot for probably months and months to come and it’ll quite some of the naysayers who think she’s peaked. She’s only just begun.

    As far as Carrie. She has had tons of promo appearances for her new album, her year has definitely not been quite. But you can’t deny that even with all her promo appearances her new album has been trailing Fearless since it’s release. I’m sure that will factor in when some of the awards are handed out. Lately, I’ve been seeing articles saying that Taylor Swift is the biggest country act since Garth Brooks. I definitely don’t see her losing Entertainer. Comeon, she won a grammy for Album of the Year this year..to me it’s pretty obvious that her streak will continue.

  15. if taylor is such a big act why does she have to buy her votes for entainter of the year by giving away free autograph posters of herself to everyone who votes for her?

  16. I’ll be interested to see how Taylor does with new music. I think she’ll need to make a significant departure from the Fearless style, just because we know it too well by now. There’s no way she’s going to be able to top her own awards success (Album of the Year at ACM, CMA and Grammy – not happening twice), but if she keeps challenging herself, she could stick around for a while. If not – the bonus tracks from Fearless and “Today Was a Fairytale” have me concerned – I think she’ll start a steady decline.

  17. Taylor’s descent is coming fast. Se may lose
    the EOTY because she was very inactive the past 4 months. After the Grammys, she had a couple shows. That’s it. Carrie’s been selling out show after show, and she’s been in the limelight this past year in April & May ’09, then September ’09 to now. Carrie has a bigger chance than Taylor.

    EOTY: Carrie
    MVOTY: Keith
    FVOTY: Carrie (potentially Miranda)
    Single: Need You Now/White Liar
    Song: Cowboy Casanova/You Belong With Me
    Album: Revolution/Play On
    New Artist: Gloriana
    Vocal Event: I Told You So- CU feat. Randy Travis
    Video: Taylor Swift

  18. First, to Yoli…Really?!!! Can’t say I’ve heard that one, nor do I fully believe it. Taylor would have to give 50 autographed photos to each fan if each and every vote meant an autographed poster. Her poor little hand would be exhausted after all of that writing. If it is true, hopefully it’s enough to get that “entainter” award for her. I’ve never heard of it, but it sounds prestigious.

    As for the ACM predictions, here’s how I think things will go down, and how I personally want them to go down. (Not that it really matters in the grand scheme of things…but, it’s late, and I can’t sleep.) This is a little long, so I apologize if I’m a little verbose in talking about these things. I occasionally go on mini-rants, so if you get bored easily…don’t read this.

    Should and Will Win: Taylor Swift. I obviously don’t think she’s the best live act of the bunch, (I prefer Urban and the Zach Brown Band out of this group of nominees). But, she’s had the best year out of any of the acts, and like it or not, she’s been the face of country music in the last year. With her fan base, it seems like it’s a lock for her to win, although Underwood could repeat if Swift fatigue is indeed a factor. (And I do agree with a lot of the previous comments saying that Swift’s momentum is slowing down a bit.)

    Male Vocalist:
    Should Win: Keith Urban. I don’t think any of these guys really lit it up in terms of quality this year, but I’ve liked more of his singles than the other nominees. Give the guy a ballad, and he always seems to shine with it.

    Will Win: Paisley. Rucker’s probably had the best year commercially, but I think Brad’s got the votes for another year. While I can’t say I’ve been a huge fan of his latest music, he has gotten some buzz via Time Magazine and his White House visit. That could put him over the top for the votes.

    Female Vocalist of the Year:
    Should Win: I’m in Miranda’s corner. I don’t think she gets it this time, but if “The House that Built Me” goes big, she’s got a serious shot to win this award at the CMA’s later this year.

    Will Win: I’ll go with Carrie. With the recent backlash that Swift has gotten with her live grammy performance, and the fine, logical rebuttal given by Scott Borchetta that ended up giving EVEN MORE attention to Swift’s grammy performance, I can’t see her getting another FVOTY trophy. Again, I’d love to see Miranda take it, but I think Carrie has more industry votes.

    Vocal Group:
    Should Win: Toss up between Lady A and the Zac Brown Band. Really, both acts could lay claim to the trophy, and I wouldn’t complain if either won.

    Will Win: Lady A seems to have a lot of industry support. It would almost seem like a shock if they lost.

    Vocal Duo:
    Should Win: Honestly, I’m really indifferent to most of these nominees. Joey and Rory have a neat traditional vibe, but I just haven’t gotten that into their music yet. Steel Magnolia is too new, and Montgomery Gentry has been really quiet this year. Brooks and Dunn picked quite possibly their worst single to go out on, and I’ve never quite warmed up to Sugarland. I guess I’d say Brooks and Dunn by default, simply because I did like “Indian Summer”… but it’s a half-hearted pick.

    Will Win: Sugarland probably has had the most commercial success in the past year, but they’ve really cooled off as of late. I’ll go on the “Brooks and Dunn tribute award” wagon for that reason.

    New Artist
    Should Win: Don’t Care
    Will Win: I guess Gloriana, based on the Swift factor. If Luke Bryan wins, it could spell trouble for Swift in the entertainer vote. Then again, I don’t know if she’s openly campaigning for Gloriana this time.
    (On a side note, I’m really disappointed “Fast Ryde” didn’t get a shot in these “best new artist” categories. No other artist could possibly go out of their way to create epic trainwrecks like they did. It’s almost like they tried to record that music as a a parody of a country-rock-rap hybrid duo. Say what you will, but their nonsense was so ridiculous that it was entertaining, at least for the country music blog readers who heard it. I would’ve voted for them just to hear “Top Down” live on GAC.)

    Album of the Year
    Should Win: Revolution – Miranda Lambert. I can understand why people criticized the production on this album, but it just doesn’t matter to me. The songs on this one are just too good for me to care. While I’ve liked all her albums, it’s amazing to me how she’s grown as an artist when comparing her first album to her last.

    Will Win: I’ll go with most of the site’s writers and say Lady A. Any of these albums can win it, but they just seem to have the most industry support of any of these acts right now.

    Single of the Year:
    Should and Will Win: I love White Liar, but “Need You Now” has gone through the roof over the past few months. Again, I’d be more shocked if it lost than if it won.

    Song of the Year:
    Should Win: First off…”Cowboy Casanova”…Really? Seriously, is this thing the “Good Time” among the nominees for this year? You know, the frivolous, goofy song that took a spot simply to give an artist a token nomination in a category where said artist has no shot at winning.(and if it does win, I think an actual riot might be in order) Seriously, single I could maybe see…but “song of the year.” It would’ve been like seeing “Picture to Burn” or “Me and My Gang” in this category in years past.
    As for the nominees with an actual chance, I’m kind of indifferent. I like Miranda’s, Lady A’s, and Swift’s songs a good deal, but it seems like there could’ve been some more substantial nominees. I think “Fifteen”, “Crying for Me”, “Living for the Night”, and “Honky Tonk Stomp” would’ve been better choices. (yes, I’m kidding with the last one…just checking to see if those reading this were actually still paying attention)

    Will Win: Taylor’s song was big, and a pretty solid song.. but “Need You Now” was a more recent hit, and I think that will have an effect on the voters. Again, Lady A for the win.

    Should Win: I liked “White Liar” the most out of the nominees.

    Will Win: Based on the production value, I’ll go with “You Belong With Me”, although Paisley could also take it.

    Should Win: I might lose any and all credibility on this site for saying this…but “Hillbilly Bone” is my favorite nominee of the five. Hey, what can I say…the song’s ridiculous, but in a fun, goofy kind of way, and I’m just not that into any of the other nominees.

    Will Win: I’d be surprised if “I Told You So” lost this.

    Well, I probably devoted more time to this than I should have…but, I guess insomnia does that to you. Anyway, Sunday night should be fun, and I’ll definately make a few trips here during, and after the awards show. At the very least, we should get a few good performances out of the whole night.

    Also, thanks for during the award show blogs. They’re always fun.

  19. really…go to cmt taylor message board…really
    could not believe it myself, just when i was starting to like her again.

  20. entertainer: carrie
    male: keith
    female: carrie
    vocal group: lady a
    vocal duo: brooks & dunn
    album: play on
    single: need you now (hope white liar)
    song: need you now
    new artist: luke
    vocal event: told you so
    video: you belong with me (hope need you now)

  21. oops… my mistake! a lucky voter will receive one 3 x 3 signed poster by taylor…so go vote and you might be the lucky one.

  22. I don’t understand how people can say that Taylor was the “face of country music” etc. for this past year. If she didn’t remix her songs and cross over to pop, she never would have been near as successful. So how is that the face of country music? Just because her album is labeled ‘country’? The reason why her album is still selling is because of those pop fans, not country.

  23. I think she’ll need to make a significant departure from the Fearless style, just because we know it too well by now. There’s no way she’s going to be able to top her own awards success (Album of the Year at ACM, CMA and Grammy – not happening twice), but if she keeps challenging herself, she could stick around for a while.

    I’m not sure I see the correlation. I wouldn’t attribute her success/popularity with young audiences to her effort to “challenge herself,” you know? If she puts out another Fearless, you and I won’t be happy, but we don’t really represent her target audience. I actually think it could be the departure from a Fearless-type album that hurts her commercially.

  24. Entertainer: I’m not crazy over the acts (besides Carrie), so I’ll go with Taylor Swift for the win.
    Male: Brad Paisley
    Female: Reba McEntire (If Reba does not win, then I’d love to see Miranda take the award)
    Group: Lady Antebellum
    Duo: Sugarland
    New Artist: Joey & Rory
    Album: Revolution (or at least Play On)
    Song: “Need You Now”
    Single: “Need You Now” (or “White Liar”)
    Music Video: “White Liar” [Swift’s video was cute, but I loved Miranda’s better]
    Music Event: “I Told You So” (CU & RT)

  25. …i quite enjoy lady a’s music but zac brown band is one of the strongest artistic debuts for quite a while in country music. great album, great singles and they’re good-looking (sort of), too. similar case, when it comes to joey + rory.
    abundance of talent, “the life of a song” was a fine debut and they’re good-looking (halfway),too.
    let’s hope at least one of them won’t leave vegas empty-handed.

  26. “I’m not sure I see the correlation. I wouldn’t attribute her success/popularity with young audiences to her effort to “challenge herself,” you know? If she puts out another Fearless, you and I won’t be happy, but we don’t really represent her target audience. I actually think it could be the departure from a Fearless-type album that hurts her commercially.”

    I think her audience is growing up and will eventually outgrow her unless she evolves with them. The thing about tween idols is that they have a tendency to seem kind of like novelties in retrospect if they never change their shtick. Justin Timberlake wouldn’t have stayed commercially viable in the *NSYNC mold; it was smart of him to mature his music and persona. Taylor might do well with one more Fearless-type, but at this point people will probably buy it regardless, so she might as well mix things up a bit and prove she can have some career longevity.

  27. Okay, I’ll play along. Predictions, plus with preferences in (parentheses)

    Entertainer: Swift (Underwood)
    Male Vocalist: Paisley (Paisley)
    Female Vocalist: Lambert (Reba)
    Group: Lady Antebellum (ZBB)
    Duo: Sugarland (Sugarland)
    New Artist: Luke Bryan
    Album: Revolution
    Song: “Need You Now”
    Single: “Need You Now”
    Music Video: You Belong With Me (YBWM)
    Music Event: “I Told You So” Underwood/Travis (Underwood/Travis)

  28. What a shock to see that Country Universe picked Taylor Swift!! No matter how you spin it-Taylor still can’t sing and shame on you! Your rhetoric went down the toilet with the waste!

  29. How can anyone say Brad Paisley is boring???? If you go to a Brad Paisley concert and still think he is boring, you belong somewhere other than the planet Earth. Brad Paisley SHOULD win Entertainer of the Year, because right now there is no better person at entertaining a crowd of people. He is an amazing guitar player, and his shows are unbelievable. Brad Paisley is a true ENTERTAINER.

  30. Tara: Unlike Kevin, I think “Need You Now” is better performed than written, but it’s still a great composition.

    I agree with Tara on this. NYN’s lyrics are some of the blandest out there, but it’s Hilary’s haunting performance that takes it to a new level. Hilary’s not the best vocalist out there (she probably just exceeds Taylor a little bit, which isn’t really saying much), but she really delivered on this song. Imagine if a lesser singer sang NYN. Scary.

  31. Point taken, Dan. I guess I was thinking more short-term, although I still think it takes a special kind of artist, like JT, to change his/her direction and recreate the same magnitude of commercial success. Like you said, it’ll be interesting to see Taylor’s path forward.

    Judging from Miranda’s win in the pre-show, I have a feeling it’s going to be a big night for her.

  32. Tara, your summary of EOTY was so perfectly put! Well done! Carrie’s stage presence indeed has caught up to her amazing vocals! So glad she was recognized! :)

  33. Alicia123 “I think Taylor is holding up pretty well for an album that’s been out for so long.”

    Even if most people think this girl can’t sing, she still manages to move the hearts of her supporters from around the globe. And yes, considering that her albums have been out in the market for too long, she still manages to sell them like pancakes.

  34. Some phenomenal music collection there. Enjoyed going through it and reviewing the titles and albums listed. Taylor continues to be as fabulous as ever. And Lady Antebellum is rocking it all over again. Hope these talented musicians keep going for years and years more.

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