2017 CMA Nominations

This year’s CMA Nominations have been announced, and there are some major changes afoot, including some surprising inclusions (Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit!) and even more surprising omissions (Blake Shelton!)

Here’s who will compete this fall at the 51st Annual CMA Awards:

Entertainer of the Year

  • Garth Brooks
  • Luke Bryan
  • Eric Church
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Keith Urban

Who’s In: Eric Church

Who’s Out: Carrie Underwood

Eric Church returns to the category after being absent last year. He takes the slot occupied by Carrie Underwood in 2016, and he will compete against three previous winners in this category.

Male Vocalist of the Year

  • Dierks Bentley
  • Eric Church
  • Thomas Rhett
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Keith Urban

Who’s in: Thomas Rhett

Who’s Out: Tim McGraw

Only two of this year’s nominees are previous winners. Reigning champ Chris Stapleton and three-time winner Keith Urban.  Dierks Bentley and Eric Church are moving up the list of most nominations without a win. This is the sixth shot at this award for each of them. The new kid on the block, Thomas Rhett, is nominated for the first time, and is coming off a Male Vocalist win at the ACM Awards earlier this year.

Female Vocalist of the Year

  • Kelsea Ballerini
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Reba McEntire
  • Maren Morris
  • Carrie Underwood

Who’s In:  Reba McEntire

Who’s Out: Kacey Musgraves

Reba McEntire returns to the race for the first time since 2010, earning a record 18th nomination.  With a 12th nod for Carrie Underwood and an 11th nod for Miranda Lambert, those two ladies continue to climb up the list of most nominated artists. Lambert’s got 11 nods all to herself, but Underwood is now tied with three legends of the genre who also earned 12 nominations: Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton.  Oh, and Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris are nominated again.

Old Dominion Break Up With HimVocal Group of the Year

  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town
  • Old Dominion
  • Rascal Flatts
  • Zac Brown Band

Who’s In: Nobody

Who’s Out: Nobody

Identical lineup this year, with Little Big Town looking to extend their winning streak, while Old Dominion and Zac Brown Band hope for their first win.

Vocal Duo of the Year

  • Brothers Osborne
  • Dan + Shay
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Maddie & Tae

Who’s In: LOCASH

Who’s Out: Joey + Rory

Joey + Rory being replaced on the ballot by LOCASH borders on desecration.

New Artist of the Year

  • Lauren Alaina
  • Luke Combs
  • Old Dominion
  • Jon Pardi
  • Brett Young

Who’s In: Lauren Alaina, Luke Combs, Jon Pardi, Brett Young

Who’s Out: Kelsea Ballerini, Brothers Osborne, Maren Morris, Cole Swindell

This year’s lineup is an accurate reflection on what country radio sees as the future of the genre.

Album of the Year

  • Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound
    Produced by Dave Cobb
  • Lady Antebellum, Heart Break
    Produced by busbee
  • Miranda Lambert, The Weight of these Wings
    Produced by Frank Lidell, Eric Masse, and Glenn Worf
  • Little Big Town, The Breaker
    Produced by Jay Joyce
  • Chris Stapleton, From a Room: Volume 1
    Produced by Dave Cobb and Chris Stapleton

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit are nominated for Album of the Year!!

Single of the Year

  • Sam Hunt, “Body Like a Back Road”
    Produced by Zach Crowell
  • Miranda Lambert, “Tin Man”
    Produced by Frank Liddel, Eric Masse, and Glenn Worf
  • Little Big Town, “Better Man”
    Produced by Jay Joyce
  • Jon Pardi, “Dirt On My Boots”
    Produced by Bart Butler and Jon Pardi
  • Keith Urban, “Blue Ain’t Your Color”
    Produced by Dann Huff and Keith Urban

Little Big Town earns its third nomination, with two wins under their belts. Miranda Lambert earns her sixth nomination, with one win so far. Jon Pardi competes for the first time, while Sam Hunt earns his second try at the prize.  This is Keith Urban’s third nomination, but he has yet to win the award.

Song of the Year

  • “Better Man”
    Written by Taylor Swift
  • “Blue Ain’t Your Color”
    Written by Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey, and Steven Lee Olsen
  • “Body Like a Back Road”
    Written by Zach Crowell, Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne
  • “Dirt On My Boots”
    Written by Rhett Akins, Jesse Frasure, and Ashley Gorley
  • “Tin Man”
    Written by Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, and Jon Randall

Rhett Akins is nominated for a CMA Award in 2017.

Music Video of the Year

  • Brothers Osborne, “It Ain’t My Fault”
    Directed by Wes Edwards and Ryan Silver
  • Miranda Lambert, “Vice”
    Directed by Trey Fanjoy
  • Little Big Town, “Better Man”
    Directed by Becky Fluke and Reid Long
  • Thomas Rhett featuring Maren Morris, “Craving You”
    Directed by TK McKamy
  • Keith Urban, “Blue Ain’t Your Color”
    Directed by Carter Smith

Some interesting narrative clips interspersed with creatively staged performance clips.

Musical Event of the Year

  • Glen Campbell with Willie Nelson, “Funny How Time Slips Away”
  • Kenny Chesney with P!nk, “Setting the World on Fire”
  • Eric Church featuring Rhiannon Giddens, “Kill a Word”
  • Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, “Speak to a Girl”
  • Thomas Rhett featuring Maren Morris, “Craving You”

Rhiannon Giddens getting a CMA Nomination is up there with Jason Isbell, but she should’ve been in the Album category with him, too.

Paul FranklinMusician of the Year

  • Jerry Douglas (Dobro)
  • Paul Franklin (Steel Guitar)
  • Dann Huff (Guitar)
  • Mac McAnally (Guitar)
  • Derek Wells (Guitar)

Who’s In: Mac McAnally (Guitar)

Who’s Out:  Brent Mason (Guitar)

Paul Franklin is nominated for the 25th time. Give him the damn award already.


  1. Hey if country radio sees Lauren Alaina as the future you’ll never hear me complain about country radio ever again.

    I do wish Lauren Alaina could’ve gotten in for Female Vocalist. But I’m happy she even got a nomination. Hopefully she can pull off the upset but I doubt it.

  2. What’s difference again between the Song and Single categories, in terms of criteria? I was wondering because the set of nominees is the same for the 2 categories.

  3. “What’s difference again between the Song and Single categories, in terms of criteria?”

    Don’t know what the specific eligibility rules are for each category, but Song is for writing, while Single is for performance and production. :)

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