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Make the awards meaningful

Country Standard Time Editorial, June 2001

If you didnıt get your fill of awards shows with the Peoples Choice, Grammys, Blockbuster something or another, stay tuned because May brings the Academy of Country Music awards show.

Lee Ann Womack was accorded six nominations as was Toby Keith. They both certainly had excellent years, with Womack perhaps producing a career album with "I Hope You Dance" and Keith having a slew of hits from "How Do You Like Me Now?!"

So fair enough that they should receive nominations. And Johnny Cash received a nomination for album of the year for his excellent album "American III: Solitary Man," which received no country airplay, of course.

There is no major argument with most of the categories and the nominees in each.

But what is most interesting are the nominations for top new female vocalist and vocal group.

In the former category, Tammy Cochran, Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Jamie OıNeal received nominations.

In the latter, Rascal Flatts goes up against Clark Family Experience and Sons of the Desert.

Both are decided no-brainers for what should be one very obvious reason. If youıve never heard of Cochran, Johnson or Clark Family Experience (weıll leave Sons of the Desert out of this because at least they have some track record with a few CDs under their belt), itıs no small wonder.

The reason is the only music you would have heard from any of these three artists is a single or two. None of them released an album prior to the nominations coming out. Cochranıs debut is out in May, while Johnson may have an album out this summer. As for the Clarks, who knows when a CD will be released, even though the album is completed?

Bottom line is that itıs a bit hard to win one of these awards if you donıt have the music to back it up. So OıNeal and Rascal Flatts should be sure to get their speeches ready.

Of course, the real problem is that such nominations make a joke out of the category. This is not meant in any way, shape or form to be considered a criticism of the artists. Theyıre obviously happy to be nominated. Who could blame them at all?Itıs the rules and process set forth in these and other awards where such acts are allowed to be nominated that leaves a lot to be desired.

These types of nominations cheapen the awards for all. Why donıt the folks organizing these awards show have some sort of meaningful criteria so that a nomination and an award really stands for something? How about starting with that they at least had to have an album out?

Thereıs something terribly wrong with a process that has nominees who for all intents and purposes have never even released music.

But if you havenıt had enough by the ACMs are over, youıre going to have to wait for the fall for the CMAs. Hopefully, they will avoid the joke created at the ACMs.