Monday, November 4, 2013

The 47th Annual CMA Awards: Who WILL Win and Who SHOULD Win

      The 47th Annual CMA Awards will take place on Wednesday, November 6, 2014.  The CMAs are the highest honor in country music, winning places you along the likes of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, George Strait, and many other legends of country music. Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood return to host.  Brad and Carrie usually do a solid job of picking on artists through their entertaining monologues, and keeping up with fresh topics and touching on some country music history as well.  It is surprising that Brad is hosting despite not gaining a single nomination.  Taylor Swift and Kacey Musgraves lead the pack of  nominees.  There will always be shocks, surprises, and unforgettable moments.... Now, on to the predictions!

Musician Of The Year
Brett Mason
Mac McAnally
Paul Franklin
Dan Huff
Sam Bush

Who SHOULD Win:  This is always tough to call, but this year I'm going with Paul Franklin.  His work with Vince Gill on the Baskersfield tribute album was fantastic, and being billed right up with Vince on the album gives you a lot of clout in my book.

Who WILL Win: Franklin.  I think, in an award that isn't on TV and isn't really publicized, they will reward someone for making a solid traditional tribute album. 

Music Video of The Year
"Mama's Broken Heart"- Miranda Lambert
"Highway Don't Care"- Tim McGraw with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban
"Boys Round Here"- Blake Shelton feat. The Pistol Annies
"Blown Away"- Carrie Underwood
"Downtown"- Lady Antebellum

Who SHOULD Win: The best written and closest to country song here is "Mama's Broken Heart", and the video is clever and entertaining, so it gets my vote.  I don't think this is a particularly strong year for videos.

Who WILL Win: "Highway Don't Care" has all the drama and star power that will garner tons of support.  The song itself isn't horrible, but the video is just over the top and takes away from the song.  I'm sure the big names and overbearing drama will be too much to resist, though.

Musical Event of The Year
"Boys Round Here"- Blake Shelton featuring The Pistol Annies
"Cruise"- Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly
"Don't Rush"- Kelly Clarkson featuring Vince Gill
"Highway Don't Care"- Tim McGraw featuring Taylor Swift and Keith Urban
The Only Way I Know"- Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Eric Church

Who SHOULD Win: The closest thing to a country song in this group is the pop singer.  Kelly Clarkson and Vince Gill have the best song of this group, and therefore should be the winner,  Unfortunately, they have the lowest chances of winning.

Who WILL Win: Hopefully the big names of "The Only Way I Know" or "Highway Don't Care" will bring voters in, because I am terrified of Nelly winning a CMA for his craptastic remix of a craptastic song with the two biggest tools in country music.  This is truly a toss up, with the only one worthy being the only one that has no chance.

New Artist of The Year
Brett Eldredge
Kacey Musgraves
Florida-Georgia Line
Lee Brice
Kip Moore

Who SHOULD Win: Kacey Musgraves is the most talented and the most traditional of this group.  She has won fans in the old and new school of country fans.  She is the easy winner in my book.  Lee Brice has the most credentials here, but new artist? Hardly.  He is working on recording his THIRD album, and has been on the radio for like, 5 or 6 years now.  He's hardly new, even if I do like him.

Who WILL Win: FLA/GA Line will probably walk away with this one, as much as it pays me to say.  They had a huge year, and will likely be rewarded here for it.  Lee Brice could be a sleeper, as with Kacey.  Kip and Brett are long shots here.

Vocal Duo of The Year
Big & Rich
Love & Theft
Florida-Georgia Line
Thompson Square
The Civil Wars

Who SHOULD Win: I dunno.  I said it last year, this is a throwaway category.  Duos are created by labels to win awards in this barren category that lost all it's merit when Brooks & Dunn rode off into the sunset.  I'd vote for The Civil Wars, for what it's worth, just to see if they would come up on stage to collect the award together while they aren't talking... ABC does love when Nashville and drama are combined...

Who WILL Win: Florida-Georgia Line will mop the floor with this crowd, as Thompson Square are the only others to have any significant hit since last year. Heck, Sugarland isn't even a group anymore and they were nominated.  Florida-Georgia Line will win, but the real winner here is the labels who push crappy duos on us to get nominees in this lame category.

Single of The Year
"Cruise"-Florida-Georgia Line
"Highway Don't Care"- Tim McGraw with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban
"Wagon Wheel"- Darius Rucker
"Mama's Broken Heart"- Miranda Lambert
"Merry Go Round"- Kacey Musgraves

Who SHOULD Win: I really think "Wagon Wheel" is the obvious choice here.  It is decidedly more country than the only song here that out performed it, "Cruise", and had much better success than the other well written songs, "Merry Go Round" and "Mama's Broken Heart".  I'd love to see this great song rack up some hardware.

Who WILL Win: "Cruise" or "Wagon Wheel" seem to be the frontrunners to me. It's really a toss up.  If "Wagon Wheel" wins Song of The Year, I think "Cruise" wins.  If not, "Wagon Wheel" might.  It's tough to call.

Song of The Year
"Wagon Wheel" - Bob Dylan and Ketch Secor
performed by Darius Rucker
"I Drive Your Truck" -Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, and Jimmy Yearly
performed by Lee Brice
"Mama's Broken Heart"- Kacey Musgraves, Shane McAnally, and Brandy Clark
performed by Miranda Lambert
"Merry Go Round" -Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves, and Josh Osborne
performed by Kacey Musgraves
"Pontoon" -Barry Dean, Luke Laird, and Natalie Hemby
performed by Little Big Town

Who SHOULD Win: "I Drive Your Truck" is one of the best mainstream songs in a long time, and certainly the frontrunner.  It has everything a country song needs: heartbreak, honesty, and real life.  I think seeing Ketch and the boys from Old Crow Medicine Show up on stage would be quite a treat as well.

Who WILL Win: "I Drive Your Truck" will probably win this one easily.  I would call "Merry Go Round" and "Wagon Wheel" strong possibilities as well. And kudos to Shane McAnally and Kacey Musgraves for having a hand in two of the best written songs of the year.  That's fantastic.  And somebody tell me why the lyrical turd that is "Pontoon" is here? Is this a CMA typo??? I love Little Big Town but this song was a throwaway summer ditty and nothing more.  Song of the Year? Give me a break.

Vocal Group of The Year
Zac Brown Band
Eli Young Band
Lady Antebellum
The Band Perry
Little Big Town

Who SHOULD Win: After releasing some great songs, having a big tour, and calling out by name some of country music's biggest posers, Zac Brown Band is my sure fire bet for Group of the Year.  None of the other nominees had a huge year, and Zac and the boys never get the credit they deserve,  

Who WILL Win: This is tough.  It really is a toss up.  Lady A is always the CMA darling, The Band Perry and Eli Young are up and coming, Zac Brown Band are solid and steady, and Little Big Town has been red hot the last two years.  The nice thing about this category is that all the nominees are pretty good.  I'm not a Lady A fan, but the other noms are all solid.  As long as Lady A doesn't win, I'll be happy. I'll call this a toss up between LBT and Zac Brown.

Album of The Year
Based On A True Story... -Blake Shelton
Same Trailer, Different Park -Kacey Musgraves
Blown Away -Carrie Underwood
Red -Taylor Swift
Tornado -Little Big Town

Who SHOULD Win: Same Trailer, Different Park is a solid, traditional country release with real country themes and sounds.  This is usually my favorite category, but this year's nominees seem to be less than the usual level.  I think that Little Big Town had a pretty good album as well, and Carrie Underwood had some deep and dark, if not particularly country songs on it.  Those two would be decent winners as well, but Kacey should run away with this.

Who WILL Win: Carrie Underwood had a ton of hits from Blown Away and is also hosting the show.  I think this is hers to lose.  Even if it doesn't win, I hope Same Trailer, Different Park getting a nod will inspire more to follow in Kacey's footsteps and get some real traditional stuff out there again.

Female Vocalist of The Year
Carrie Underwood
Taylor Swift
Kelly Clarkson
Kacey Musgraves
Miranda Lambert

Who SHOULD Win: Miranda Lambert once again found a way to get meaningful country songs with some grit and soul out there while still being a big star and selling out tours.  Miranda deserves to continue on her impressive run of award show victories and rack up another one here.  

Who WILL Win: While Kacey being nominated is impressive and great for the genre, she has no chance. Kelly Clarkson isn't even a country singer, and had next to nothing on the country charts this year, so she has no chance (speaks to the lack of big female stars in the mainstream world.  We have quite a few over here in the traditional world that are more than deserving to take this spot). Taylor Swift has a small chance, but she has abandoned country music lately, so I don't see her winning here.  That leaves Carrie and Miranda, and like most years, its a toss up between these two.  I'll say Miranda keeps her streak up here.

Male Vocalist of The Year
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Blake Shelton
Jason Aldean
Keith Urban

Who SHOULD Win: The most creative and exciting of this group has to be Eric Church.  While his newest release isn't his best, he's had a huge year, with "Creepin" and "Like Jesus Does" being big hits, and a fantastic live album hitting the charts.  Eric is the top male in the mainstream world right now, and deserves this award.

Who WILL Win: I think Luke Bryan will gyrate his way to the win here.  No one can deny the huge year he has had, and I'm sure the ladies will go crazy if he wins.  I think Blake could sneak in there, as well as Eric.  Jason Aldean seems to not be on good graces with the CMAs after his cheating scandal and feels like a long shot, and Keith Urban is just there for decoration, he has no chance here.

Entertainer of The Year
Blake Shelton
Taylor Swift
Luke Bryan
Jason Aldean
George Strait

Who SHOULD Win: What a grand send off it would be if the cowboy could ride away with one more Entertainer of the Year win.  King George has been selling out show after show on his farewell tour, and still putting hits on the radio.  If the CMAs want to prove that tradition and history matter, this should be a no brainer.

Who WILL Win: Blake had a big year on The Voice, Jason played stadium shows, Luke set the female world on fire, Taylor has a worldwide record setting tour, and George Strait is hanging up his hat after one last ride.. All these nominees are real possibilities.  I'll throw Taylor out for spending too much time catering to the pop world, and Jason out for the reasons I stated above... That leaves a Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, and George Strait dog fight.  Why not, I'll take The King to win one more.  Show em how it's done, George!

     So, there you have it.  There are a lot of interesting stories to follow.  Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, and Hunter Hayes were locked out. How many awards will Kacey win?  How will the George Jones tribute be?  How about the rumors of a bluegrassy rendition of "Red" from Taylor Swift?  Lots of things to look for, should be an interesting show.  Remember CMAs, Keep it Country Kids!!!!

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