The 2018 CMA Awards are just around the corner now, and that means it's time for the staff of Taste of Country and our readers to engage in our annual friendly face-off to predict the night's biggest winners.

Chris Stapleton leads the CMA Awards nominees in 2018 with seven in total, including Album, Male Vocalist, Song, Single and Entertainer of the Year. Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Thomas Rhett and Keith Urban each have four nominations, but we predict at least two of them will be going home empty-handed after Country Music's Biggest Night.


Who do you think should win the most important categories at the 2018 CMA Awards? Take a look at the nominees below and check out our predictions, and make your own. Then check back with us on Nov. 15, the day after the awards are handed out, and see who got it right! You're allowed to vote once an hour from now until the polls close on Nov. 14 at 6PM ET.

The 2018 CMA Awards will broadcast live from Nashville on Wednesday, Nov. 14, via ABC at 8PM ET. Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley are returning to host the biggest awards show in country music for the eleventh consecutive year.

Remember: The best way to watch the 2018 CMAs is on TV, with ToC on your phone!

See Brad + Carrie's Best CMA Awards Moments

2018 CMA Awards Nominees:

Entertainer of the Year

Our Pick: Jason Aldean

Garth Brooks has scored back-to-back EOTY wins in 2016 and 2017, but with his massive comeback tour wrapping this year, he's not even nominated. We predict Aldean will step into the gap, based in no small part on the success of his latest album, Rearview Town. Aldean's stock has also risen in country music over the last year in response to his classy handling of the aftermath of the mass shooting that took place during his set at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas in October of 2017.

Female Vocalist of the Year

Our Pick: Miranda Lambert

Lambert has won Female Vocalist of the Year at the CMA Awards seven times, and she's not done yet. Taste of Country predicts that Lambert will take home Female Vocalist for the eighth time in 2018, partly due to her duet with Aldean, "Drowns the Whiskey."

Male Vocalist of the Year

Our Pick: Chris Stapleton

There's plenty of talent in this category, and really, anyone would be a valid choice. But Stapleton has been on a hot streak for several years now, and it's not hard to predict that Stapleton will win Male Vocalist again in 2018.

Album of the Year (Awarded to Artist(s) and Producer(s))

Our Pick: Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves

Musgraves doesn't get anywhere near the radio support that the other artists in this category do, but that could actually work in her favor. Sometimes CMA voters use their power to even out the playing field for a favored artist, and Musgraves' latest album has been one of the most critically acclaimed of the year, for good reason. The singer-songwriter displays a new maturity and emotional richness on Golden Hour that we predict will triumph at the 2018 CMA Awards.

New Artist of the Year

Our Pick: Lauren Alaina

No disrespect to any of the other talented, hard-working rising stars vying for New Artist, but Alaina just has that something special that makes her stand out from the pack. She's got the voice, and she's got the hits to back her up, but she's also got a special "It" factor that will her apart as the 2018 New Artist of the Year.

Song of the Year (Awarded to Songwriters)

Our Pick: "Tequila," Dan + Shay

This is another category in which you could make a sound, convincing argument for every nominee. But with its alluring melody, plaintive vocal and evocative imagery, "Tequila" is the song that we predict will take home the win.

Single of the Year (Awarded to Artist(s), Producer(s) and Mix Engineer(s))

Our Pick: "Meant to Be," Bebe Rexha Feat. Florida Georgia Line (Producer: Willshire; Mix Engineer: Serban Ghenea)

FGL practically re-defined what crossover success between a country and pop artist could look like with the massive success of "Meant to Be," and it's hard to imagine any other song winning Single of the Year at the 2018 CMA Awards.

Vocal Group of the Year

Our Pick: Old Dominion

It would be easy to argue that Lady Antebellum or Little Big Town could easily dominate this category, but Old Dominion have been quietly building a huge career as one of country music's coolest vocal groups. They've been nominated twice before in this category, and their continued strong output makes 2018 their year to take home Vocal Group of the Year.

Vocal Duo of the Year

Our Pick: Dan + Shay

This is another category that is hard to predict, especially in a year where Sugarland made a comeback and all of the other nominated artists made such strong showings. But we can only pick one winner, and we think Dan + Shay have Vocal Duo of the Year sewn up this year.

Musical Event of the Year

"Drowns the Whiskey," Jason Aldean with Miranda Lambert

Aldean and Lambert not only sound tailor-made to harmonize with each other, they also happen to have recorded one of the better songs at country radio this year. "Drowns the Whiskey" will be the hands-down winner for Musical Event of the Year.

Music Video of the Year (Awarded to Artist(s) and Director(s))

Our Pick: "Babe," Sugarland Feat. Taylor Swift (Director: Anthony Mandler)

There were plenty of innovative, impactful and cool videos released in country music in 2018, but only one of them marks Taylor Swift's return to country music. The superstar wrote "Babe," and she recorded it with her friends in Sugarland. She plays against type as a woman who is having an affair with Jennifer Nettles' onscreen husband, and the stylish, '60s-themed video, shot on the set of Mad Men, is the best video to come out of country music in 2018.

Musician of the Year

Our Pick: Mac McAnally

This is an under-the-radar category that's always filled with some of the top talent in country music, whose behind-the-scenes efforts help make the genre what it is. McAnally is a multi-instrumentalist who is ubiquitous in the Nashville session scene, and he's more than deserving of the Musician of the Year CMA.

Greatest CMA Moment of All Time? Here's Our Faves

More From 98.1 Minnesota's New Country