Sunday, April 6, 2014

The 49th Annual ACM Awards: Who SHOULD Win and Who WILL Win

     The 49th edition of the Academy of Country Music Awards will take place tonight from Las Vegas.  Vegas is as fitting as a venue as any for this show, as the ACMs typically are all flash and lack substance compared to the CMAs.  While the this particular awards show always wreaked of corruption and politics, it has boiled to a head this year.  The leader in the New Artist of The Year category is clearly not eligible by the ACMs own rules, one of the nominees for Duo of the Year has barely even made a dent on radio, and one of the nominees for song of the year is over 2 years old.  Tack on performances by many outside of country music such as Shakira, Sheryl Crow, and Stevie Nicks, the lackluster country list of performers, and the fact that nobody is clear on how the voting process of some awards even works (do fan votes actually get counted? Nobody knows) and this has the potential to be a stinker of a show.  But, Merle Haggard is getting a tribute, and Kacey Musgraves and George Strait have a chance to let traditional country be well represented if they pull off a few wins, so it has potential to be a decent night as well.  Now, on to the predictions!

Vocal Event of The Year
Cruise (Remix) - Florida Georgia Line with Nelly
Boys Round Here -Blake Shelton and friends
Highway Don't Care -Tim McGraw with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban
We Were Us -Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert
Wagon Wheel -Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum

Who SHOULD Win: Well, we have a song that wasn't even marketed as a country song on here, and a song that never once was marketed as an event.  The "Cruise" remix was not on country radio, nor was it intended to be.  And "Wagon Wheel" did have Lady A on harmony, but I've NEVER seen it listed as "Darius Rucker featuring Lady Antebellum" until now.  I thought it had to be an official duet/appearance to be eligible?  Does all 5,678,903 songs that Vince Gill harmonized on this year count now too? So many questions... Anyways, "Wagon Wheel" is the best song here, but since it shouldn't count, "We Were Us" gets the nod from me.

Who WILL Win:  There's a good chance Tim McGraw is the most nominated artist and still goes home empty handed.  The ACMs won't let that happen, so here is his token victory.  Same applies for Taylor Swift.

Video of The Year
Two Black Cadillacs -Carrie Underwood
Better Dig Two -The Band Perry
Blowin' Smoke - Kacey Musgraves
I Drive Your Truck -Lee Brice
Mama's Broken Heart -Miranda Lambert

Who SHOULD Win:  Anyone but The Band Perry or Carrie.  Why?  Because these videos were old at LAST YEAR'S ACMs.   I don't get the obsession with the old songs nominated.  Was 2013 just that bad of a year for music?  Anywho, "I Drive Your Truck" was a decent, if not over the top, video for a great song so it's more than worthy.

Who WILL Win:  I say Carrie, because the ACMs have to be nervous that Miranda will win Female Vocalist of the Year and Carrie will go home empty handed.  This show cares about that stuff, so don't be surprised to see these games to ensure all the big names get a trophy.  It's the Little League of award shows.

Song of The Year
Wagon Wheel- Darius Rucker.  Written by Ketch Secor and Bob Dylan
Mine Would Be You- Blake Shelton.  Written by Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, and Deric Ruttan
Mama's Broken Heart -Miranda Lambert.  Written by Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves
I Drive Your Truck -Lee Brice.  Written by Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, and Jimmy Yeary
Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain) -Gary Allan.  Written by Gary Allan, Hillary Lindsay, Matthew Warren

Who SHOULD Win:  I'd love to see Gary Allan win an award, but once again this song was old at last year's show.  But I'd be happy seeing Ketch Secor win as well for Old Crow Medicine Show, or Brandy Clark and Kacey Musgraves.  And "I Drive Your Truck" was a great song.  Basically anything but the forgettable Blake Shelton song is ok by me.

Who WILL Win:  "I Drive Your Truck" will mop the floor here.  No complaints, it is a great song.

Single of The Year
Wagon Wheel -Darius Rucker
Cruise -Florida Georgia Line
Mama's Broken Heart -Miranda Lambert
Highway Don't Care -Tim McGraw feat. Taylor Swift and Keith Urban
I Drive Your Truck -Lee Brice

Who SHOULD Win- I think "Wagon Wheel" was as good of a single as any song
I've heard in recent memory.  It had the performance on the charts AND the ability to be a lasting song that makes it stand out to me.

Who WILL Win: "Cruise" is the biggest single in country music history thanks to some shady rule changes on chart performance and sales.  However, I don't feel it has the staying power or enough country cred to win an award.  The ACM will think differently.  This is as sure of a lock as you can get in the show.

Album of The Year
Based On A True Story... -Blake Shelton
Crash My Party -Luke Bryan
Here's To The Good Times -Florida Georgia Line
Same Trailer, Different Park -Kacey Musgraves
Two Lanes of Freedom -Tim McGraw

Who SHOULD Win: Are you kidding?  If Kacey doesn't win this I'll throw up.  These are four of the most piss poor country albums I've ever heard outside of Kacey.  Blake and Tim's were forgettable and seemed lackluster in effort.  Luke's was his weakest album yet, and he typically has decent album cuts despite his cookie cutter singles.  And don't get me started on the fact that Florida Georgia Line recorded the same moronic douche anthem 11 times and called it an album. This is a joke, right?

Who WILL Win:  Kacey Musgraves.  Because I refuse to live in a world were these total hacks of albums win awards.  If I keep saying it enough, maybe it will happen.  Kacey Musgraves wins... Kacey Musgraves wins...

New Artist of The Year
Justin Moore
Kip Moore
Brett Elderedge

Who SHOULD Win:  Brett E (I refuse to type that spelling monstrosity more than once) or Kip Moore, since, you know, JUSTIN MOORE IS INELIGIBLE.  The ACMs have rules that they themselves set forth.  They have the power to change them if they see fit, and have in the past.  In this case, Justin Moore's sales numbers put him well out of the range for New Artist of the Year, but they didn't change the rules.  They could have, but they just overlooked them.  You can look up the criteria on their site.  They wanted a big name guy, so they could have changed their rules.  Since they didn't, they show what a shame this show has become.  These are the rules.  We follow them.  Except when we don't.  Whatever.

Who WILL Win: You know the ACMs will not only ignore the ineligibility, but reward Justin Moore with a win.  Why not?  His sales and track record are the best of the three!  So good, its like he's not even new....

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

Who SHOULD Win: Zac Brown Band always gets my vote here.  They are under-rewarded and under-appreciated.  I can't hate a Little Big Town or Eli Young Band win, but Zac and the boys deserve this.

Who WILL Win:  Little Big Town should win easily.  I don't see The Eli Young Band or The Band Perry with any shot.  Lady Antebellum is also a long shot, and The Zac Brown Band never wins anything.

Vocal Duo of The Year
Florida Georgia Line
Dan + Shay
Big & Rich
Love & Theft
Thompson Square

Who SHOULD Win:  None.  This shouldn't even be an award.  This is where we get some lame duo thrown together so they can be nominated for an award and get free publicity.  That's all Love & Theft, Florida Georgia Line, and Dan + Shay are.  The second member is there to improve the headcount to be eligible for this award and get the press that comes with it.  At least Big & Rich and Thompson Square are actually duos.  So, one of them should win.  Also, who is Dan and why is he being added to Shay?  How does someone who was never heard of three months ago get nominated?  I'm pretty sure the pop country turd-fest of a song "19 You and Me" is getting radio play because DJs were like " Who got nominated"  Dan and who??  Are they married?  They're both dudes?  Do they sing?  What?  They have a song out RIGHT NOW???  We better play it so someone knows who these poor guys are when they read their names in the show."  That's a direct quote.  Mostly.  I think.

Who WILL Win:  Duhhhhhhhh

Female Vocalist of The Year
Miranda Lambert
Carrie Underwood
Taylor Swift
Kacey Musgraves
Sheryl Crow

Who SHOULD Win:  Kacey Musgraves has done the most for traditional country this year, and it would be great to see the ACMs actually award that.  Its a toss up between Miranda and Kacey for me.  Miranda didn't have a particularly strong year though, nor did Carrie.  Taylor was more focused on pop sales, and Sheryl Crow is more known for being a rocker and toilet paper aficionado than country singer, so this is really a great shot for Kacey to steal this.

Who WILL Win: I still think Miranda is the girl to beat, but Kacey could sneak up.  This will be one of the more interesting awards of the night and I'm intrigued to see the direction they go.

Male Vocalist of the Year
Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Lee Brice
Blake Shelton
Keith Urban

Who SHOULD Win:  It's nice to see Lee Brice get a nod here as opposed to being up for New Artist for the 56th consecutive year.  That being said, he has no chance, nor does Keith Urban.  I'd say this is between your two hosts.  Personally, I like Keith Urban's music best this year of the group.  That duet with Miranda was fun and "Cop Car" is great.  He gets my vote.  

Who WILL Win:  Blake or Luke will win.  I have no clue which will, nor do I care.  Toss up.  The taller, more famous version of Joe Nichols, or Gomer Pyle.

Entertainer of the Year
George Strait
Miranda Lambert
Taylor Swift
Luke Bryan
Blake Shelton

Who SHOULD Win:  While he may not be getting much radio play, King George's tour is the hottest ticket in country music right now, and his farewell show is going to be an epic event.  The King has done so much for country music, and deserves the same thank you from the ACMs as the CMAs gave him.  This isn't a pity award, though.  George is still a major draw and touring plays into this award.

Who WILL Win:  I think George will take it.  Taylor always has a shot when fans are involved, but it's really unclear how much say the fan vote has, if any.   Luke was the big surprise last year, but I think that's a one off deal.  I can't see him repeating.

While there is mass confusion and many head-scratchers on this list, the ACMs have the potential to be decent.  Be sure to watch for the Merle Haggard tribute, if nothing else.  Happy watching everybody, and remember to KEEP IT COUNTRY KIDS!!!

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