2017 CMA Awards: Preview and Predictions

The CMA’s will air tonight at 7 PM CST on ABC. For snarky commentary, feel free to follow me on Twitter @Honest_Country

Video of the Year

“Better Man”–Little Big Town
“Blue Ain’t Your Color”–Keith Urban
“Craving You”–Thomas Rhett feat. Maren Morris
“It Ain’t my Fault”–Brothers Osborne [won]
“Vice”–Miranda Lambert
Notes: “It Ain’t my Fault” won this earlier today, and as this is the only video of the five I know anything about, I can honestly say it’s a good one, but I can’t make a fair judgment for it against the others.

Musical Event of the Year

“Craving You”–Thomas Rhett feat. Maren Morris
“Funny How Time Slips Away”–Glen Campbell and Willie Nelson [won]
“Kill a Word”–Eric Church feat. Rhiannon Giddens
“Setting the world on Fire”–Kenny Chesney and Pink
“Speak to a Girl”–Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
Notes: Make no mistake, Glen got the sympathy vote here, but hey, it kept Thomas Rhett from winning. It’s a shame they didn’t broadcast this.

Vocal Group of the Year

Little Big town
Lady antebellum
Old Dominion
Rascal Flatts
Zac Brown Band
Prediction: Little Big Town because I’m not stupid
Preference: Um, Turnpike Troubadours? Seriously, this category sucks.

Vocal Duo of the Year

Florida Georgia Line
Brothers Osborne
Maddie & Tae
Dan + Shay
LoCash
Prediction: Brothers Osborne
Preference: Brothers Osborne
Notes: So, until they combine Duo and Group, both categories will inevitably be ridiculous…Maddie & Tae are great but have done nothing this year deserving of this slot. LOCash don’t deserve it either. I think Brothers Osborne have a better shot than FGL, but never discount those two from this award either.

Single of the Year

“Body Like a Back Road”–Sam Hunt
“Tin Man”–Miranda Lambert
“Better Man”–Little Big Town
“Blue Ain’t Your Color”–Keith Urban
“Dirt on my Boots”–Jon Pardi
Prediction: “Body Like a Back road”
Preference: “Better Man”
Notes: Single of the Year is supposed to be for commercial success, so logically, Sam Hunt should actually win this. Logically, he should also not be in country, so “Better Man” is another good commercial choice that would make me want to vomit much less. Also, “Dirt on my Boots” in no way deserves to be here, either for critical acclaim or commercial success.

Song of the Year

“Body Like a Back Road”–Sam Hunt, written by Zach crowell, Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
“Better Man”–Little Big Town, written by Taylor Swift
“Blue Ain’t Your Color”–Keith Urban, written  by Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey, Steven Olsen
“Tin Man”–Miranda Lambert, written by Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall
“Dirt on my Boots”–Jon Pardi, written by Rhett Akins, Jesse Frasure, Ashley Gorley
Prediction: “Tin Man” or “Better Man”
Preference: “Tin Man” by a mile
Notes: “Tin Man” deserves this, but Taylor swift wrote “Better Man” which might be reason enough for voters to select it. Single and Song of the Year should not be the exact same five; songs are supposed to be about the writing and the critical acclaim. Once again, “Dirt on my Boots” doesn’t deserve a spot here by any stretch of the imagination.

New Artist of the Year

Brett Young
Lauren Alaina
Jon Pardi
Luke Combs
Old Dominion
Prediction: Luke Combs or Jon Pardi
Preference: Luke Combs
Notes: Old Dominion are on their second horrific album, so not exactly new. Lauren Alaina, although making good music, is also on her sophomore album, though for her, there was a six-year break between releases, so she’s arguably new again. Cool to see a female here, but she won’t win. Luke Combs should win this over Pardi–look, I understand Jon Pardi is more traditional and all, but except for “Head Over Boots,” he’s released absolute shit to radio. At least Luke’s single is good. Unless Brett Young is being nominated for his newfound cure for insomnia–which, granted, his album is doing amazing things for in that field–he shouldn’t be anywhere near this award.

Album of the Year

Little Big Town–The Breaker
Chris Stapleton–From a Room, Volume 1
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit–The Nashville Sound
Miranda Lambert–The Weight of These Wings
Lady Antebellum–Heart Break
Prediction: Miranda Lambert or Jason Isbell
Preference: Miranda Lambert, but I’d be happy with Isbell and okay with Stapleton
Notes: I don’t think Jason Isbell’s nomination here was simply a token one, and I think he’s a strong candidate for this award. He’s also been named artist in residence by the Country Music Hall of Fame which shows that the industry is taking notice of him. and we saw with Stapleton’s 2015 wins that the CMA pays attention to things beyond radio play and mainstream success. But I think Stapleton and Isbell may split votes, and ultimately, Miranda Lambert will probably win. I’ll also take the unpopular stance that while this field is incredibly strong and Jason Isbell is completely deserving, Miranda Lambert’s album was actually a bit better. But when you’ve got three great albums here, it’s hard to complain if any of them walk away with this.

Female Vocalist of the Year

Kelsea Ballerini
Miranda Lambert
Maren Morris
Reba McEntire
Carrie Underwood
Prediction: Miranda, duh
Preference: Miranda Lambert
Notes: well, at least they actually found five females to fill this category. People are getting sick of Miranda winning, but this year, she actually deserves it.

Male Vocalist of the Year

Dierks Bentley
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton
Eric Church
Keith Urban
Prediction: Chris Stapleton
Preference: Chris Stapleton or Eric Church
Notes: Just the fact that I’m actually predicting Chris Stapleton to win anything shows how far we’ve come in the past two years, but he should win this award. It would be nice to see Eric Church win something and get some credit for all he’s done for music of substance in the past year, but I don’t see him winning it. Ultimately, he deserves Entertainer of the Year, but that’s not going to happen either. And if we’re totally honest with ourselves, “Kill a Word” should have won the Musical Event of the Year award too. I don’t see Church winning anything, but you never know, he’s got two performance slots; if he does win anything, it will be this award.

Entertainer of the Year

Garth Brooks
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Chris Stapleton
Keith Urban
Prediction: Garth Brooks
Preference: Eric Church
Notes: I hope justice is served for Eric Church here, but I don’t see it happening. Luke Bryan could also win, as he just released a lead single, but I think you’ll see this go to Garth again this year.

4 thoughts on “2017 CMA Awards: Preview and Predictions”

  1. Why don’t you think Locash deserves it… #ILoveThisLife went #2 on Billboard, #IKnowSomebody went #1 and #RingOnEveryFinger is top 10…has B.O had a #1 song??

    1. All fair points, I’d say that Brothers Osborne have a good balance of commercial success and critical acclaim, which seems to be common this year for the CMA picks, as evidenced by New Artist, Female Vocalist, although that’s become a joke, Male Vocalist, and even Vocal Group.

        1. The best purpose for them is to showcase music, and the CMA did better this year at promoting country music for the most part. But yes, the awards themselves don’t mean much. It’s more about what the casual viewer of things like the CMA’s comes away with as their idea of country music.

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