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Will Taylor Swift win Entertainer of the Year?

Country Standard Time Editorial, November 2009

Will the Taylor Swift wave continue? She's been a big seller getting oodles of press and just last weekend hosting and playing on Saturday Night Live? So will the teen star win the Entertainer of the Year Award at the Country Music Association awards tonight?

Kenny Chesney has been on a big roll in winning the big award three years running, but it looks like Swift has a lot of momentum going. Of course, that is no sure bet with Keith Urban also having a big year, but the four guys (Brad Paisley and George Strait also are nominated) could split the male vote. Well, this isn't a political race, or is it? Anyway, we think Swift will win her first entertainer of the year award. Hopefully, no Kanye in the audience.

One would think that Swift also should win the female vocalist award given she's expected to win the big kahuna. Miranda Lambert is deserving while for the pop country crowd, Carrie Underwood is a far better singer than Swift. But once again, no betting against Swift.

On the male side let's figure on Keith Urban taking it. Tough competition with Chesney, Paisley, Strait and Darius Rucker (he's not such big competition) but Urban's gotten a lot of kudos this year as well.

New artist should be Zac Brown Band with three big, huge hits this year. It's hard to think of Jamey Johnson as exactly being new considering he already has had one album out before. Ditto for Jake Owen. Randy Houser and Rucker also were nominated, but this should be ZBB's to win.

Not sure how Rascal Flatts could be denied the vocal group award. The Eagles have not done so much save continue touring, and Little Big Town has done about as much. That leaves Lady Antebellum, which enjoyed a great year, and ZBB, but we'll figure Rascal Flatts will take this, although an upset is certainly possible.

The vocal duo award is interesting. Forget about Montgomery Gentry, Joey + Rory and Big & Rich. They don't stand a chance against Brooks & Dunn or Sugarland. B&D could get it because they announced they're splitting next year, but Sugarland is poised to take it after another good year for them.

As for song of the year (the award goes to the songwriter), In Color by Jamey Johnson, Lee Thomas Miller and James Otto is solid as is Randy Travis' I Told You So. But voters could go for something more commercial like Chicken Fried, courtesy of Zac Brown and Wyatt Durette.

Single of the year goes to the artist and producer. Some of the same songs are nominated. So let's go with Chicken Fried again.

As for album of the year, "American Saturday Night" from Brad Paisley is stellar. A solid effort from start to finish. Johnson's "That Lonesome Song" also is a gem, but he's too traditional for the CMA crowd. This is a tough one with Urban's "Defying Gravity" and Swift's "Fearless" also nominated along with Sugarland's "Love on the Inside." The country awards shows tend to be a split affair it seems with often no one really taking charge, but here's figuring Swift will win this also. The songs are well written, even if the vocals are sometimes on the thin side. Of course, if Paisley or Johnson won, we wouldn't complain either.

Musical event of the year offers good competition with Kenny Chesney and Mac McAnally's Down the Road, Start a Band from Paisley and Urban, Cowgirls Don't Cry from Brooks & Dunn and Reba McEntire Everything But Quits from Lee Ann Womack and George Strait and a very very out of left field Old Enough from Jack White's The Raconteurs with Ricky Skaggs and Ashley Monroe. We'll go with I Told You So by Underwood with Travis. It's a great song from Travis, and Underwood does the song justice.

One thing for sure...don't bet the house on any of these or your predictions.