The nominees for this year’s CMA Awards have been announced. Here’s who’s nominated, as well as who’s in and who’s out in all of the performer categories.
Entertainer of the Year
Who’s In: Lainey Wilson | Who’s Out: Miranda Lambert
Wilson earns her first nomination in the biggest category, coming on the heels of a year that has seen her transform into one of the biggest stars within the genre, if not necessarily one of the acts like the other four nominees who have had larger pop-cultural impacts. Kane Brown is the obvious miss here by the CMA voters, as his accomplishments and overall genre ambassadorship over the last year more than hold up in the company of these five. Underwood continues to transition into the “legacy act” phase of her career, and it remains absurd that she’s yet to win this. Stapleton’s on a similar trajectory, and folks who are terminally online within country music spaces often overlook just how big a name he is with the general public.
Male Vocalist of the Year
Who’s in: Jelly Roll | Who’s Out: Eric Church
Big get for Jelly Roll, for sure, and his emergence as one of the most interesting– not necessarily best– acts in country music over the last year makes him a deserving nominee. That Wallen didn’t run the table with voters to the extent we predicted suggests that he might not repeat his ACM win from back in the Spring, leaving the door open for nearly-as-big, not-as-problematic Combs or maybe even Johnson. Again, Kane Brown is conspicuously absent here.
Female Vocalist of the Year
Who’s In: Kelsea Ballerini | Who’s Out: Carrie Underwood
Lambert’s nomination is absurd. I’ve gone to bat for her plenty over the course of her career, but she did nothing within the eligibility period to warrant this. It’s great to see Ballerini back in the mix for what’s her best work to date, and it’s also great that CMA voters continue to recognize that McBryde is on a different level than most of her peers within the mainstream… even if radio still doesn’t get that.
Vocal Group of the Year
Little Big Town
Zac Brown Band
Who’s In/Who’s Out: No changes from 2022 (or 2021)
As ever: There’s no reason for this category to remain its own entity. Old Dominion will continue their winning streak for reasons I have never once understood.
Vocal Duo of the Year
Brooks & Dunn
Dan + Shay
Maddie & Tae
The War and Treaty
Who’s In: The War and Treaty |Who’s Out: LOCASH
As above. The BrOs latest single has been their biggest actual radio hit in several years. Beyond that? The War & Treaty really and truly should win this just based upon the actual music released during the last year.
New Artist of the Year
Who’s In: Zach Bryan, Jelly Roll, Megan Moroney, Hailey Whitters |
Who’s Out: HARDY, Walker Hayes, Cody Johnson, Lainey Wilson (2022 winner)
Three out of five isn’t so bad, really. McCollum has an absolutely toxic online persona, and what else is there to say about Moroney at this moment? Bryan should have been up for Entertainer Of The Year, frankly, but at least he made the cut here.
Album of the Year
Kelsea Ballerini, Rolling Up the Welcome Mat
Luke Combs, Gettin’ Old
Ashley McBryde, Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville
Morgan Wallen, One Thing at a Time
Lainey Wilson, Bell Bottom Country
Three of our five preferred albums made the final ballot, in something of a pleasant surprise. Of course, the album we were most keen on– the one by the genre’s most prominent black artist at the moment– didn’t make the list in favor of Wallen and his 925152940577 “co-writers.” So it goes.
Single of the Year
“Fast Car” – Luke Combs
“Heart Like a Truck” – Lainey Wilson
“Need a Favor” – Jelly Roll
“Next Thing You Know” – Jordan Davis
“wait in the truck” – HARDY featuring Lainey Wilson
Wilson’s ubiquity translates into a double nomination here, and that’s fine. That Wallen’s massive crossover hit, “Last Night,” didn’t make the cut seems like a very deliberate snub by voters, and we’re real not mad at that.
Song of the Year
“Fast Car” – Tracy Chapman
“Heart Like a Truck” – Trannie Anderson, Dallas Wilson, and Lainey Wilson
“Next Thing You Know” – Jordan Davis, Greylan James, Chase McGill, and Josh Osborne
“Tennessee Orange” – David Fanning, Paul Jenkins, Megan Moroney, and Ben Williams
“wait in the truck” – Renee Blair, HARDY, Hunter Phelps, and Jordan Schmidt
Well, they actually nominated Chapman. Of course, they also nominated David “Doin’ Country Right” Fanning, so it’s not all good news here. But the question is whether “Fast Car” manages to take both Single and Song honors.
Music Video of the Year
“Light On in the Kitchen” – Ashley McBryde; Director: Reid Long
“Memory Lane” – Old Dominion; Directors: Mason Allen and Nicki Fletcher
“Need a Favor” – Jelly Roll; Director: Patrick Tohill
“Next Thing You Know” – Jordan Davis; Director: Running Bear
“‘wait in the truck” – HARDY featuring Lainey Wilson; Director: Justin Clough
Sure. Happy for McBryde. Still think the “wait in the truck” video is laughably over the top but in a way that’s interesting. Whatever.
Musical Event of the Year
“Save Me” – Jelly Roll with Lainey Wilson
“She Had Me at Heads Carolina (Remix)” – Cole Swindell and Jo Dee Messina
“Thank God” – Kane Brown with Katelyn Brown
“wait in the truck” – HARDY featuring Lainey Wilson
“We Don’t Fight Anymore” – Carly Pearce featuring Chris Stapleton
Oh, look! It’s Kane Brown’s second-ever CMA nomination, tucked away in one of the categories that they announce the winner to before the actual broadcast. Neat.
Musician of the Year
Jenee Fleenor (Fiddle)
Paul Franklin (Steel Guitar)
Rob McNelley (Guitar)
Derek Wells (Guitar)
Charlie Worsham (Guitar)
Who’s In: Rob McNelley (Guitar), Charlie Worsham (Guitar) |
Who’s Out: Brent Mason (Guitar), Ilya Toshinsky (Banjo/Guitar)
We’d prefer to live in the timeline where Charlie Worsham is actually in the running for Male Vocalist awards and isn’t thought of as a session musician. But thrilled to see him here anyway.