2013 CMA Awards Predictions
Predicting who will win the nine major honors at the 2013 CMA Awards seems pretty easy ... until you begin to overthink it. Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton and Kacey Musgraves lead the way in number of nominations, but it's not far-fetched to imagine all three coming away empty-handed. This is the sort of stuff that happens when there's two months to mull over the possibilities.
Given our history, one would think we'd give up this whole award show prognostication business before the 2013 CMA Awards on Nov. 6. However, we take some solace knowing that Taste of Country readers haven't fared any better. Typically, this good-natured staff vs. readers competition results in both sides getting about one-third of the categories correct. The big show in Nashville features nine very difficult-to-call primary categories.
On Nov. 7, we'll recap how we did and how the collective ToC readership did. To date, the record stands at 1-1-1 -- each side has outsmarted the other one time, and in 2012 we tied with CMAs predictions.
Entertainer of the Year
Our Choice: Taylor Swift - Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton also have a fair chance at winning this honor, but Swift continues to set the sales, radio and concert ticket records. She's the most popular country singer on the planet, and in a year that she has a new album to consider, she's practically unstoppable. Get ready to see her famous shocked face on Nov. 6.
Female Vocalist of the Year
Our Choice: Carrie Underwood - Only one artist has won this award four straight years: Reba McEntire did it between 1984-87. A win for Miranda Lambert will be her fourth in a row, but it won't happen. She's deserving, but is between albums -- something that's not true for Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. We like Underwood because her past year was too strong to ignore.
Male Vocalist of the Year
Our Choice: Luke Bryan - Luke Bryan's surprise win at the 2013 ACM Awards is still fresh on everyone's minds, and he'll get a lot of votes here, especially from those leaving him out of the Entertainer of the Year voting. Of these five nominees, Bryan's career trajectory has been the steepest. He seems to be in that sweet spot where one is nominated for a bunch of awards and wins most of them.
Vocal Group of the Year
Our Choice: Little Big Town - The group won this award last year after a career year, and things haven't slowed down much since. Lady Antebellum and the Band Perry have both released fine albums in the last 12 months, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see either reading a long list of thank yous.
Vocal Duo of the Year
Our Choice: Florida Georgia Line - With Brooks and Dunn retired, Montgomery Gentry missing and Sugarland on hiatus, this has become a weak category. The Civil Wars will get a few votes from the artists, but the masses will choose Florida Georgia Line for the win. No one else on this list has had nearly as much success over the last year or two.
New Artist of the Year
Our Choice: Florida Georgia Line - Florida Georgia Line have had chart success, sales success and touring success. They're the fastest rising new country group in America, and while fans may argue that Kip Moore and Kacey Musgraves have released better albums, the FGL train can't be denied.
Album of the Year
Our Choice: Blake Shelton, 'Based on a True Story' - It's without a doubt Shelton's best album. 'Red' and 'Blown Away' could also win this award, but even though it's been his year for several years now, 2013 still feels like Blake Shelton's year.
Song of the Year
Our Choice: Miranda Lambert, 'Mama's Broken Heart' - Miranda Lambert has said this is her favorite song from the 'Four the Record' album. It fits her like a camouflage corset. Kacey Musgraves helped write the hit, and voters (music insiders, not fans) may want to reward her strong year with something, especially if they're leaving her off the ballot elsewhere.
Single of the Year
Our Choice: Florida Georgia Line, 'Cruise' - This may be the only "safe" bet at the 2013 CMA Awards. 'Cruise' was the hottest song of the year, with the two different versions selling more singles than any other nominated song. Artists from all walks of life were singing its praises when it first came out, and few fans have been able to get it out of their heads. It could be a very, very big night for Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard.