2011 CMA Award Predictions: 45th Annual CMA Awards

It’s that time again! Time for us to break out our crystal ball and predict what will happen during Country’s Night To Rock, November 9, 2011! The CMA Awards are here! Read our thoughts on each award category and what we think will and what we think should happen.

Entertainer of the Year

Jason Aldean
Brad Paisley
Blake Shelton
Taylor Swift
Keith Urban

This is the biggest prize of the night, the grand-daddy of ‘em all as this award is typically given to the artist which best represented country music in 2011 from a national stand point and NOT just as an entertaining concert draw.  Paisley won it for the first time last year while Swift won in 2009 and Urban won in 2005. This is the first time for both Aldean and Shelton to get nominated here, and I have a feeling that if Jason Aldean were to win any award this year outside of event and album, it’s going to be for Entertainer of the Year. He’s likely going toe to toe with Blake Shelton and Taylor and all three represent the biggest representatives for country music this year. With all of that being said, I would love to see the deserving traditional-minded Paisley take home the award.

Will Win: Aldean, Shelton or Swift

Should Win: Brad Paisley

Female Vocalist of the Year

Sara Evans
Miranda Lambert
Martina McBride
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

 Sara Evans is the only one here who hasn’t gotten this award and while it’d be a fantastic comeback story to see her take home the award, this one’s really a two horse show between Lambert and Swift and given that her star has only gotten bigger since winning the award last year, I have a feeling there’s no way possible that Lambert loses this award to anyone this year. Next year, with stronger albums from Martina and Carrie, I have a feeling the category will be a bigger competition.

Will win: Miranda Lambert

Should win: Miranda Lambert

Male Vocalist of the Year
Jason Aldean
Kenny Chesney
Brad Paisley
Blake Shelton
Keith Urban

2011 has has surpassed his massively successful 2010 year with a nearly Gold selling Greatest Hits album, a soon to be Gold Red River Blue album and 3 #1 singles “Who Are You When I’m Mot Looking,” the CMA nominated “Honey Bee” and most recently, “God Gave ME You.” All of this points to the 2010 Male Vocalist of the Year winner taking home this trophy yet again. He’s a fantastic vocalist, as are past winners Urban and Paisley and while they had great years too (Gold records, multiple #1 hits), I think Blake Shelton’s done enough to retain the #1. Kenny Chesney’s like Garth Brooks in that he’s been nominated multiple times but is seen by the CMA as more of an entertainer. Aldean seems to be a similar type of artist too.  It’s possible that Aldean somehow sneaks out a win here or that the CMA finally honors Chesney but I really don’t see how Blake Shelton doesn’t keep the award (have I said that enough yet?

Will Win: Blake Shelton

Should Win: Kenny Chesney or Blake Shelton

Vocal Group
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Rascal Flatts
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band

This is an interesting category as it finds four superstar acts and one beloved vocal quartet who – if being awarded simply on vocal ability – would win this award in a runaway. That being said, we don’t see Little Big Town taking the award, something we don’t see happening with The Band Perry or Rascal Flatts either. The BMLG mates are gonna have to sit on the sidelines and watch Lady Antebellum (the winner the past two years), fight it out with perhaps the most talented band of musicians in Zac Brown Band. In the end, we think that the ZBB will sneak in and win this award this year with Lady Antebellum likely to snag the category back in 2012.

Will Win: Zac Brown Band

Should Win: Zac Brown Band

Vocal Duo
The Civil Wars
Montgomery Gentry
Steel Magnolia
Sugarland
Thompson Square

There are plenty of other duos on the charts this year (Joey+Rory, The JaneDear Girls, etc.) so it’s quite a surprise to see that the fantastic The Civil Wars, who have sold 200,000 copies of their indie release Barton Hollow – a record with classic country roots, in this category. We don’t think they have a snowball’s chance of winning the award but that doesn’t mean they’re not deserving of being here.  Montgomery Gentry won this award in the year 2000, surprising many, and have been nominated ever since. Steel Magnolia has been here before and while fantastically talented, we don’t see them really having a chance, either. This leaves the category to be between multiplatinum, entertaining juggernaut Sugarland and upstarts and Platinum single selling and one of 2011’s biggest new acts, Thompson Square. We actually love both band but given Sugarland’s low profile on the charts, we think that might help the Stoney Creek Records upstarts with getting a shot at taking the award for 2011. We certainly hope so.

Will Win: Sugarland

Should Win: Thompson Square

New Artist
The Band Perry
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Thompson Square
Chris Young

Now, this is an interesting category. Each artist has won some Gold or Platinum hardware for their albums and while the category is called “new artist,” it allows for artists with up to two times being nominated and for up to two albums in the market place (but doesn’t say how Young or Bryan managed to score nods with albums #3 in stores already). The Band Perry clearly has the most award nominations of the bunch and that alone makes them all but guaranteed to be the winners here, though we like all the artists here, quite a bit and predict that Young, Bryan and Church could all get Vocalist/Entertainer nominations as early as next year.

Will Win: The Band Perry

Should Win: Eric Church

Album of the Year
(Award goes to artist and producer)

All About Tonight
Blake Shelton
Produced by Scott Hendricks

My Kinda Party
Jason Aldean
Produced by Michael Knox

Speak Now
Taylor Swift
Produced by Nathan Chapman and Taylor Swift

This Is Country Music
Brad Paisley
Produced by Frank Rogers

You Get What You Give
Zac Brown Band
Produced by Keith Stegall and Zac Brown

This is an interesting category in that it finds for of country music’s best-selling albums of the past year here (Shelton’s being the least-selling). That means that they’re the four main contenders but in all honesty, we also think that You Get What You Give can be crossed off the list too. We think that Aldean’s record, the #1 selling country album in 2011 and Swift’s Speak Now are the most logical choices to take home this award with Paisley’s having an outside shot as well. However, when it’s all said and done, we think Swift will manage yet another Album of the Year win.

Will Win: Taylor Swift Speak Now

Should Win: Zac Brown Band You Get What You Give.

Single of the Year
(Award goes to artist and producer)

A Little Bit Stronger
Sara Evans
Produced by Tony Brown

Colder Weather
Zac Brown Band
Produced by Keith Stegall and Zac Brown

Don’t You Wanna Stay
Jason Aldean with Kelly Clarkson
Produced by Michael Knox

Honey Bee
Blake Shelton
Produced by Scott Hendricks

If I Die Young
The Band Perry
Produced by Paul Worley

All five songs were big hits but we think that this one’s a three horse race between Shelton’s “Honey Bee,” TBP’s “If I Die Young” and “Don’t You Wanna Stay.”  All songs have their merits with “Honey Bee” being a big ole catchy and fun earworm, in other words, a damn great single while “Don’t You Wanna Stay” is an emotional power ballad while “If I Die Young” is one of the best-written and performed singles of the past year (So is “Colder Weather” honestly). At the end of the day, we think that “Honey Bee” takes home the award.

Will Win: “Honey Bee” – Blake Shelton

Should Win: “Colder Weather” Zac Brown Band

Song of the Year
(Award goes to songwriters)

Colder Weather
Zac Brown, Wyatt Durrette, Levi Lowrey, and Coy Bowles

Dirt Road Anthem
Brantley Gilbert and Colt Ford

If I Die Young
Kimberly Perry

Mean
Taylor Swift

You and Tequila
Matraca Berg and Deana Carter

This is another strong category with the only really surprising nominee being “Dirt Road Anthem.” It’s certainly poetic and lyrical with fast-paced rhymes in the verses but the chorus is repeated quite a bit and it doesn’t stand up to “Colder Weather,” “If I Die Young,” “You and Tequila” and “Mean.” In all honesty, we don’t think traditionalist CMA members are gonna give a songwriter award to a “rap” song either. That leaves this a 4 horse race and it’s really hard to pick from any of them. We think that they all have legitimate chances at scoring the award here so we’ll just leave it as we think it’ll happen. Kimberly Perry will take this award for writing “If I Die Young.”

Will Win: If I Die Young – Kimberly Perry

Should Win: You and Tequila – Matraca Berg and Deana Carter

Musical Event of the Year

As She’s Walking Away
Zac Brown Band featuring Alan Jackson

Coal Miner’s Daughter
Loretta Lynn, Sheryl Crow, and Miranda Lambert

Don’t You Wanna Stay
Jason Aldean with Kelly Clarkson

Old Alabama
Brad Paisley featuring Alabama

You and Tequila
Kenny Chesney featuring Grace Potter

This is another interesting cross-section of country music. They’re all legitimate events and it’s once again hard to pick a front-runner here but if forced to, we’d say “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” with a close #2 being “Old Alabama.” In the end, we think Brad and Alabama take this award if only because Brad Paisley and a featured partner have won this category in 4 out of the last 10 years.

Will Win: Old Alabama – Brad Paisley W/Alabama

Should Win: Don’t You Wanna Stay – Aldean/Clarkson

Music Video
(Award goes to artist and director)

Honey Bee
Blake Shelton
Directed by Trey Fanjoy

If I Die Young
The Band Perry
Directed by David McClister

Mean
Taylor Swift
Directed by Declan Whitebloom

Old Alabama
Brad Paisley featuring Alabama
Directed by Jim Shea

You and Tequila
Kenny Chesney featuring Grace Potter
Directed by Shaun Silva

The video of the year? Hmm. This award will likely go to either Taylor Swift or The Band Perry with Swift and her creative music videos being the front-runner.

Will Win: “Mean”

Should Win: “Mean”

Musician
Sam Bush – Mandolin
Jerry Douglas – Dobro
Paul Franklin – Steel Guitar
Dann Huff – Guitar
Mac McAnally – Guitar

What’s ironic here is that each of these musicians (outside of Dann Huff, perhaps), is know as great traditional country music and/or bluegrass artists (Franklin’s in the Time Jumpers), Bush has his own band while Douglas has solo recordings and is a member of Alison Krauss and Union Station.  Huff, Douglas and McAnally have each won this award three times in the past so that leaves Franklin and Bush as the only non-winners. McAnally has won the past three years in a row so it’d be interesting to see if a steel guitiar or mandolin player can take home such an award in a heavy pop-country era when it’s getting harder and harder to hear those actual instruments through processed recordings.

Will Win: Mac McAnally

Should Win: Paul Franklin

Well, folks, there you have ‘em, our rundown of the 2011 CMA Award Nominees and our predictions. We hope you enjoy the show and come back to check out our Live Blog of the event with us tomorrow night at 8/7 central. Reminder that we may make some goofy, or ‘tasteless’ or punny jokes or comments during the event (we encourage you to do so too, these aren’t meant to be serious, they’re meant to be fun!)

See ya at the live blog!

Related 2011 CMA AWARDS content

10 Controversial CMA Awards Moments

The Road to the 2011 CMA Awards

0 Comments