It's only a few hours before the Academy of Country Music Awards starts in Vegas. Kenny Chesney leads the parade with nine nominations.
One would think that Jason Aldean, with six nominations, might do well as he's enjoyed a great year with excellent record sales, huge numbers on tours and hit single after single.
The biggest award, of course, is entertainer of the year with Chesney, Aldean, Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton on the list. I'll knock out Paisley because he didn't have the year the others did, and probably neither did Chesney in some respects. I'll go with Taylor Swift because of her mega-world tour, big sales, lots of hits and doing her share to promote country. It would not surprise me to see Aldean or Shelton win based on their career surge in the past year.
The female vocalist category could be tricky. Sara Evans and Martina McBride won't pose any threat to Swift, but Miranda Lambert and to a lesser extent, Carrie Underwood, sure could. That's not a knock on anyone at all. These folks worked hard to get where they are and whether you like their particular brand of music or country music or not, they still deserve respect.
Since I thought Swift should get the entertainer award, I also would think she deserves the female vocalist award. With that said, I'm a big fan of Lambert (especially when she goes more towards country and not rock), and if she won, I wouldn't be surprised either because like her husband, Shelton, she also had an excellent year.
On the male side, Aldean, Chesney, Paisley, Shelton and Chris Young were nominated. I'll go with Aldean, but once again a win by Shelton would be no surprise. A Young win would be a shock. I just don't see Chesney or Paisley winning because they've not been in the limelight like the others.
Vocal group of the year could be interesting: The Band Perry, Eli Young Band, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts and Zac Brown Band were nominated. Eli Young Band has no chance. Rascal Flatts has been around a long time and still churns out the hits, but I'd suspect that Lady A has this award based on their megahits and big selling disc.
Album of the year nominees are Eric Church's "Chief," Lambert's "Four the Record," Chesney's "Hemingway's Whiskey," Aldean's "My Kinda Party" and Lady Antebellum's "Own the Night." Church probably is a huge long shot. I liked Lambert's CD the most (great singing and songs), although all five discs were commendable. Aldean veered away from rock to go for more of a country sound. "Own the Night' was far stronger than its predecessor, although it glistens with pop. This is a real crap shot, but I'll go with Aldean.
Song of the year nominees were Chesney's You and Tequila, Eli Young Band's Crazy Girl, Dierks Bentley's Home, Lady Antebellum's Just a Kiss and Vince Gill's Threaten Me With Heaven. Gill will not win although it's nice to see him nominated. I can't see EYB getting the award over the others. Bentley's song is an excellent one in saying there are different prisms out there of what makes America tick. I'll give this to Chesney, who with Grace Potter, put on a fine vocal performance, heartfelt for sure.
Single of the year, which recognizes the song, the performance and production, will come from the Eli Young Band's Crazy Girl, Aldean's and Kelly Clarkson's Don't You Wanna Stay, Keith's Red Solo Cup, Young's Tomorrow and Chesney's and Potter's You and Tequila. I'll go with Chesney again. Keith's song is a novelty hit and very lightweight. Aldean and Clarkson sound real good on their song.
Vocal Event of the Year nominees were Country Boy by Aaron Lewis with George Jones and Charlie Daniels; Don't You Wanna Stay, by Clarkson and Aldean; Old Alabama by Paisley and Alabama; Remind Me by Paisley and Underwood and You and Tequila with Chesney and Potter. I can't imagine anyone winning besides Chesney or Aldean. Lewis' song never gained all that much traction. I'll go with Chesney since he's winning the other two categories right?
Vocal duo? I'll go with Thompson Square in a big upset over Sugarland. Okay, I confess. The award was handed out last night following a TS gig in Vegas. It sure was a surprise though.
There you have it. Just one person's opinion - do not take it as anything more than that. There's no right or wrong. Just a lot of conjecture, something I tend to stay away from. And if the Great Prognosticator is right, it should be a big night for Aldean and Chesney.