2018 CMA Awards: Full List of Nominees

This year’s CMA Nominations have been announced. Here’s who will compete this fall at the 52nd Annual CMA Awards:

Entertainer of the Year

  • Jason Aldean
  • Luke Bryan
  • Kenny Chesney
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Keith Urban

Who’s In: Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney

Who’s Out: Garth Brooks, Eric Church

The winner for the past two years, Garth Brooks, isn’t nominated in 2018, making it a wide open race, with three nominees – Jason Aldean, Chris Stapleton, and Keith Urban – still looking for their first win.

Male Vocalist of the Year

  • Dierks Bentley*
  • Luke Combs
  • Thomas Rhett*
  • Chris Stapleton*
  • Keith Urban*

Who’s in: Luke Combs

Who’s Out: Eric Church

Trading in Eric Church for Luke Combs is…quite the downgrade.

Female Vocalist of the Year

  • Kelsea Ballerini
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Maren Morris
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Carrie Underwood

Who’s In:  Kacey Musgraves

Who’s Out: Reba McEntire

Expected, but as much as Musgraves belongs here, someone else should’ve stepped aside.

Vocal Group of the Year

  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town
  • Midland
  • Old Dominion

Who’s In: LANCO, Midland

Who’s Out: Rascal Flatts, Zac Brown Band

More turnover than usual this year.

Vocal Duo of the Year

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

Who’s In: Sugarland

Who’s Out: LOCASH

Well, that’s an upgrade.

New Artist of the Year

  • Lauren Alaina
  • Luke Combs
  • Chris Janson
  • Midland
  • Brett Young

Who’s In: Chris Janson, Midland

Who’s Out: Old Dominion, Jon Pardi

Nashville in 2018, everybody.

Album of the Year

  • Dierks Bentley, The Mountain
  • Thomas Rhett, Life Changes
  • Kacey Musgraves, Golden Hour
  • Chris Stapleton, From a Room: Volume 2
  • Keith Urban, Graffiti U

Not the disaster it could’ve been.

Single of the Year

  • Chris Stapleton, “Broken Halos”
    Produced by Dave Cobb and Chris Stapleton
  • Midland, “Drinkin’ Problem”
    Produced by Dann Huff, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne
  • Jason Aldean featuring Miranda Lambert, “Drowns the Whiskey”
    Produced by Michael Knox
  • Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line, “Meant to Be”
    Produced by Willshire
  • Dan + Shay, “Tequila”
    Produced by Scott Hendricks and Dan Smyers

One of these songs has been number one for almost forty weeks.

Song of the Year

  • “Body Like a Back Road”
    Written by Zach Crowell, Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne
  • “Broken Halos”
    Written by Mike Henderson and Chris Stapleton
  • “Drowns the Whiskey”
    Written by Brandon Kinney, Jeff Middleton, and Josh Thompson
  • “Drunk Girl”
    Written by Scooter Carusoe, Tom Douglas, and Chris Janson
  • “Tequila”
    Written by Nicolle Galyon, Jordan Reynolds, and Dan Smyers

One of these songs was number one for more than thirty weeks.

Music Video of the Year

  • Sugarland featuring Taylor Swift, “Babe”
    Directed by Anthony Mandler
  • Carrie Underwood, “Cry Pretty”
    Directed by Randee St. Nicholas
  • Chris Janson, “Drunk Girl”
    Directed by Jeff Venable
  • Thomas Rhett, “Marry Me”
    Directed by TK McKamy
  • Dan + Say, “Tequila”
    Directed by Patrick Tracy

Hey, they might have watched the videos this year.

Musical Event of the Year

  • Dierks Bentley featuring Brothers Osborne, “Burning Man”
  • Maren Morris featuring Vince Gill, “Dear Hate”
  • Jason Aldean featuring Miranda Lambert, “Drowns the Whiskey”
  • David Lee Murphy featuring Kenny Chesney , “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”
  • Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line, “Meant to Be”

One of these songs has been number one for almost forty weeks.

Musician of the Year

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

Who’s In: Nobody

Who’s Out:  Nobody



  1. The CMA Awards…Catch the Excitement!!! (This would be the point where on facebook, you’d see a picture of a sleeping bulldog below that caption.)

    But, yeah…this is just blah. A few things that did pique my interest.

    1. No Garth means Entertainer is a little harder to predict. With Bloc voting, any of these guys could win as none of them really definitively stand out from the pack…but I’d probably guess Aldean is slightly ahead of the competition, given how he’s rebounded from the Las Vegas Shooting, and the fact that his last couple singles have been better than some of his usual stuff. I’d say it’s between him and Stapleton (who would be my preference), given they haven’t won this before, and the other nominees have all won in years that were bigger for them. But, anything could happen here.

    2. As you said, AOTY could’ve been much worse. Even though I think his music is terrible, I expected Rhett to be there due to sales/hits…but I have no earthly idea why Urban is nominated for that mess of an album. But, the other three nominees are solid. While I think Stapleton should/will win, I genuinely do like Bentley’s album, especially after how rough “Black” was. It seems like a very heartfelt effort, and while I doubt he wins…it’s a very likable album. However, the dude is cursed with having Stapleton in the category.

    3. “Broken Halos and “Drunk Girl” are great songs and “hopefully” will fight it out for the win, and “Drowns the Whiskey” is solid. But, yikes…there should’ve been better nominees for song of the year. I thought “Most People are Good” would probably be a strong contender, and was quite surprised to not see it nominated. That was probably my biggest surprise when reading the nominees.

    4. For Single of the Year, keep in mind…”Body Like a Back Road” didn’t win last year. There is some hope for humanity that “Meant to Be” doesn’t win this…I’d guess Stapleton probably has the best shot of the other nominees to pull the upset.

    (You know…I probably spent more time writing this post then I will in watching the live ceremony.)

  2. Unfamiliar with a lot of this stuff (a lot of the country music I listen to came out before 1995), so I can’t say who should win each and every category. A part of me thinks popularity is a factor, meaning “Meant to Be” will take home everything it’s nominated in, but given that I’ve only heard “Drinkin’ Problem” exactly once (and recall liking it), and have not laid ears on “Drowns the Whiskey” and “Tequila”, I automatically agree at this time with PSU Mike’s comment that Chris Stapleton should get Song of the Year over the only folks that have ever topped the charts this year.

  3. Brad Paisley should definitely be nominated for musician of the year and entertainer of the year I don’t care what you think Kevin Brad Paisley is the top of his game I’ve read your reviews on his songs and they’re complete BS Brantley Gilbert needs nominations too

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