• October 30, 2012
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‘The 46th Annual CMA Awards’ – CMIL Predictions

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In just two short days, Country Music’s brightest stars will gather at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena for “Country Music’s Biggest Night.”

While most of America is deciding who to vote for on Election Day, we’ve spent the past few days predicting which Country Music stars will take home shiny new CMA Awards on November 1 (priorities, people!).

As we do each and every year, we’ve compiled our predictions for winners in the 12 CMA Awards categories. This year, we’ve also included the official CMA Awards nomination criteria for each category to help fans better understand what each award is about. Keep in mind, the eligibility period for “The 46th Annual CMA Awards” is July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012.

Check out our predictions below. Be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts and predictions as well!

Entertainer of the Year
Jason Aldean
Kenny Chesney
Brad Paisley
Blake Shelton
Taylor Swift

Nomination Criteria: This Award is for the act displaying the greatest competence in all aspects of the entertainment field. Voter should give consideration not only to recorded performance, but also to the in-person performance, staging, public acceptance, attitude, leadership, and overall contribution to the Country Music image. Award to artist.

CMIL Prediction: After two consecutive wins in the Male of the Year category, we think Blake Shelton is on target to take home the night’s top honor. He’s become a household name thanks to his role on “The Voice,” and his singles continue to race to the top of the charts. Jason Aldean and Taylor Swift may give him a run for his money, but when all is said and done, we have a feeling Shelton will be crowned the winner.

Single of the Year
(Award goes to Artist and Producer(s))
“Dirt Road Anthem” - Jason Aldean, Produced by Michael Knox, Broken Bow Records
“God Gave Me You” - Blake Shelton, Produced by Scott Hendricks, Warner Bros. Records
“Home” - Dierks Bentley, Produced by Brett Beavers and Luke Wooten, Capitol Records Nashville
“Pontoon” - Little Big Town, Produced by Jay Joyce, Capitol Records Nashville
“Springsteen” - Eric Church, Produced by Jay Joyce, EMI Records Nashville

Nomination Criteria: This Award is for individual tracks only. This category will include both digital releases as well as physical releases. The track must have reached the Top 50 of Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks Chart, Country Aircheck Chart or Music Row Country Breakout Chart for the first time during the eligibility period. If the single charted in the Top 50 on the above charts and was released prior to the eligibility period but achieved its highest chart position during the eligibility period, it is eligible unless it has previously appeared on a Ballot 3 in this category. Award to artist and producer.

CMIL Prediction: In our eyes, this is a huge toss up between “Pontoon,” “Springsteen,” and “Home.” Considering the fact that “Pontoon” was such a huge game-changer for Little Big Town, we’re betting that’s the front-runner here. After all, it was the song of the summer.

Album of the Year
(Award goes to Artist and Producer(s))
Chief - Eric Church, Produced by Jay Joyce, EMI Records Nashville
Four The Record - Miranda Lambert, Produced by Frank Liddell, Chuck Ainlay, and Glenn Worf, RCA Nashville
Home - Dierks Bentley, Produced by Brett Beavers, Luke Wooten, and Jon Randall Stewart, Capitol Records Nashville
Own The Night - Lady Antebellum, Produced by Paul Worley and Lady Antebellum, Capitol Records Nashville
tailgates & tanlines - Luke Bryan, Produced by Jeff Stevens and Mark Bright, Capitol Records Nashville

Nomination Criteria: This Award is for an album as a whole unit. The album should be judged on all aspects including, but not limited to, artist’s performance, musical background, engineering, packaging, design, art, layout and liner notes. At least 75% of the product in the album must have first achieved national prominence during the eligibility period. Award to artist and producer.

CMIL Prediction: The Album of the Year category is a tough one this time around. Each album is deserving of the nomination, however, one stands out the most. This is Eric Church’s to lose.

Song of the Year
(Award goes to Songwriter(s))
“Even If It Breaks Your Heart” - Will Hoge and Eric Paslay
“God Gave Me You” - Dave Barnes
“Home” - Dan Wilson, Brett Beavers, and Dierks Bentley
“Over You” - Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton
“Springsteen” -Eric Church, Ryan Tyndell, and Jeff Hyde

Nomination Criteria: This Award is for the songwriter(s). Any Country Music song with original words and music is eligible based upon the song’s Country singles chart activity during the eligibility period. In this category, Ballot 2 will contain the eligible nominations from Ballot 1 and the top five songs from the combined tabulation of the Country Singles Charts from Billboard’s Hot Country Singles, Country Aircheck Chart and Music Row Country Breakout Chart. Award to songwriter(s).

CMIL Prediction: Because of the song’s emotional nature and its deep personal connection to both of the songwriters, we think Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton’s “Over You” will be awarded the CMA for Song of the Year.

Female Vocalist of the Year
Kelly Clarkson
Miranda Lambert
Martina McBride
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

Nomination Criteria: This Award is based on individual musical performance on a solo album release. Award to artist.

CMIL Prediction: There is so much great talent in this category, but we’re betting this one comes down to Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood. Because Carrie’s Blown Away album came out so close to the end of the eligibility period, our money is on Miranda Lambert. If Lambert takes home the CMA, it will be her third consecutive win in this category.

Male Vocalist of the Year
Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Blake Shelton
Keith Urban

Nomination Criteria: This Award is based on individual musical performance on a solo album release. Award to artist.

CMIL Prediction: This is one of the toughest categories to predict. Every artist in this category has had an amazing year, but we think “The Chief” will take home a win. Eric Church was the top nominated artist, and he has the chance to take home the biggest award of his career with this category. Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan are a close second.

Vocal Group of the Year
Eli Young Band
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band

Nomination Criteria: A group is defined as an act, composed of three (3) or more people, all of whom normally perform together and none of whom is known primarily as an individual performing artist. This Award is based on the musical performance of the group as a unit on an album. Award to group.

CMIL Prediction: Even though Lady Antebellum has claimed this award for three consecutive years, we think this is Little Big Town ‘s time to shine. They’ve had a huge year and it seems like everyone – fans and industry alike – is rooting for them. If LBT wins, this will be their first CMA Award for Vocal Group of the Year.

Vocal Duo of the Year
Big & Rich
Love and Theft
Sugarland
The Civil Wars
Thompson Square

Nomination Criteria: A duo is defined as an act composed of two (2) people, both of whom normally perform together and neither of whom is known primarily as an individual performing artist. This Award is based on the musical performance of the duo as a unit on an album. Award to duo.

CMIL Prediction: Will Sugarland’s reign come to an end? That’s the big question of the night. Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush have dominated this category since 2007. Considering Sugarland hasn’t released an album since The Incredible Machine in 2010 and their last single (“Tonight,” released in 2011) didn’t make it past the Top 35, our money is on Thompson Square.

Musical Event of the Year
(Award goes to each Artist)
“Dixie Highway” - Alan Jackson featuring Zac Brown, ACR/EMI Records Nashville
“Feel Like A Rock Star” - Kenny Chesney (duet with Tim McGraw), Blue Chair Records/Columbia Nashville
“Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” - Willie Nelson with Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson, and Jamey Johnson, Legacy Recordings
“Safe & Sound” - Taylor Swift (featuring The Civil Wars), Big Machine Records/Universal Republic Records
“Stuck On You” - Lionel Richie (with Darius Rucker), Mercury Records Nashville

Nomination Criteria: An event is defined as a collaboration of two (2) or more people either or all of whom are known primarily as individual artists. They must have performed together, as a unit, on a single or album released domestically within the eligibility period with each artist prominently featured. Live performance events are not eligible. Award to each artist.

CMIL Prediction: Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw’s “Feel Like A Rock Star” is the top contender here. We think the “Brothers of the Sun” will take home the CMA in this category.

Musician of the Year
Sam Bush – Mandolin
Paul Franklin – Steel Guitar
Dann Huff – Guitar
Brent Mason – Guitar
Mac McAnally – Guitar

Nomination Criteria: This Award is for a musician known primarily as an instrumental performer. In order to qualify, a musician must have played on at least one album or single that has appeared in the Top 10 of the Country album or singles charts from Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks Chart, Music Row Country Breakout Chart or Country Aircheck Chart during the eligibility period. Award to musician.

CMIL Prediction: Seeing as how Mac McAnally has won this category every year since 2008, we’re predicting he will be crowned Musician of the Year yet again in 2012.

Music Video of the Year
(Award goes to Artist and Director)
“Come Over” - Kenny Chesney, Directed by Shaun Silva
“Over You” - Miranda Lambert, Directed by Trey Fanjoy
“Pontoon” - Little Big Town, Directed by Declan Whitebloom
“Red Solo Cup” - Toby Keith, Directed by Michael Salomon
“Springsteen” - Eric Church, Directed by Peter Zavadil

Nomination Criteria: This Award is for an original music video not more than ten (10) minutes in length featuring the performance of not more than one (1) song or medley. The video must have been first nationally broadcast in its entirety during the eligibility period. The video should be judged on all audio and video elements including, but not limited to, the artist’s performance, video concept and production. Award to artist and director.

CMIL Prediction: “Red Solo Cup” may have been a viral sensation, but we have a feeling the CMA voters went for the tearjerker. In that case, Miranda Lambert’s “Over You” will come out on top.

New Artist of the Year
Lee Brice
Brantley Gilbert
Hunter Hayes
Love and Theft
Thompson Square

Nomination Criteria: This Award is to the artist, whether individual or a group, who is known primarily as a Country artist, who has for the first time demonstrated the most significant creative growth and development in overall chart or sales activity (of a debut or sophomore album), live performance, professionalism and/or national media recognition related to the launch of their career. Any artist who has previously won a CMA Award (except Song of the Year, Musical Event of the Year and Video of the Year) or who has twice been a final nominee for the Horizon Award or New Artist of the Year Award is ineligible for nomination. Award to artist.

CMIL Prediction: All five nominees are deserving of this, but we’re holding out for Lee Brice. He’s has had a banner year as both an artist and a songwriter. His sophomore album was a hit with fans and critics alike, and thanks to hits such as “A Woman Like You” and “Hard To Love,” his sales surged like never before. Brice may not be a “new artist” to many Country Music fans since he’s been in the spotlight since 2007, but he’s paid his dues and is 100% deserving of this award.

Hosted for the fifth time by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, “The 46th Annual CMA Awards” airs live Thursday, Nov. 1 (8:00-11:00 PM/ET) from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

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