When I first started listening to country music, I got so excited about all the awards shows. It was always a time for "my kind of music" to be in the spotlight and every once else to pay attention, or at least acknowledge it.
On Wednesday night, I'll miss the CMA Awards because I have to work. In past years, I may have requested the evening off from work. But now, forget it.
What do awards mean anyway? Nobody is going to remember that Hank Jr. won CMA Entertainer of The Year in 1987 and 1988. But they might listen to Bocephus if they like his music. The whole CMA awards is just a popularity contest for the establishment. It seems like the same handful of artists competing for the same awards. And you almost know who's going to win all of them before they start.
Nonetheless, I'll go through and pick who I want to win and who I think should win.
Entertainer of The Year
Kenny Chesney is going to win it, simply because the Tennessee native had the highest-grossing tour this year. I'd like to see Brad Paisley win it because he puts on a heck of a show. I haven't seen Chesney live, aside from maybe a few songs at a festival once before he became huge, but I can't remember. Other nominees: George Strait, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban.
Female Vocalist of the Year
Carrie Underwood should and will win this award. She's the best thing that's happened to commercial country music recently. Her second album, Carnival Ride, proves that she's more country than Shania Twain/Faith Hill during the height of their popularity but not so country that she alienates the sittin' on the fence fans. Other nominees: Alison Krauss, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire
Male Vocalist of the Year
I'd like to see Josh Turner win this award. The South Carolina native's career could use a nice boost, and this possibly could do the trick. I think Keith Urban will win it, even though I can't figure out what his music has to do with country. Other nominees: Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, George Strait
Vocal Group of the Year
Rascal Flatts has this one locked up, but I'd like to see Emerson Drive pick it up. I saw them perform in Nashville when "Moments" went No. 1. They're a very underrated band. The Dixie Chicks probably wouldn't want the award if they won it. Other nominees: Alison Krauss & Union Station, Little Big Town.
Vocal Duo of the Year
This is really a two-duo race. The challengers, Big & Rich, versus the champions, Brooks & Dunn. B&D holds off B&R this year. Other nominees: Montgomery Gentry, Sugarland, The Wreckers.
This ridiculous award for new talent never ceases to amaze me, and Kellie Pickler should win by default. Taylor Swift will win it though. Swift released on Tuesday a deluxe album of her original album plus three new songs. She's got one album out and all of a sudden she's Garth Brooks? Little Big Town released their third album on Tuesday, which puts them closer to earning some kind of lifetime achievement award than a newcomer one, and nominees Jason Aldean and Rodney Atkins have released two albums apiece.
Stay tuned later today for picks on Album of The Year, Single Of The Year, Song of The Year, Musical Event and Music Video of the Year.