2011 CMA Awards: Early Contenders

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With the eligibility period for the 2011 CMA Awards now over (it ended on June 30), All Things Country is going to look at who the early contenders are to land a nomination for this year’s ceremony. Here are a few artists we feel have had a big enough year since July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011 to be among the nominees.


Rather than going category by category we’re going to instead list the artists who could score nominations and the categories they could be nominated in.

Jason Aldean

  • Entertainer of the Year
  • Male Vocalist of the Year
  • Album of the Year (My Kinda Party)
  • Musical Event (“Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson)

Once again Jason Aldean has been one of the biggest artists in country music this year. He’s charted four Top 5 singles (“Crazy Town,” “My Kinda Party,” “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” “Dirt Road Anthem”) and his album, My Kinda Party, is the best selling album by a male artist this year. He’s continued to sell out dates on his My Kinda Party tour and has landed appearances on shows like American Idol. Jason could be one of this year’s most nominated artists as I think he’ll land nominations in the big categories like Entertainer, Album, and Male Vocalist.

Zac Brown Band

  • Entertainer of the Year
  • Album of the Year (You Get What You Give)
  • Vocal Group of the Year
  • Single of the Year (“Colder Weather” or “As She’s Walking Away”)
  • Song of the Year (“Colder Weather” or “As She’s Walking Away”)
  • Musical Event (“As She’s Walking Away” featuring Alan Jackson)
  • Video of the Year (“Colder Weather” or “As She’s Walking Away”)

Last year it was Lady Antebellum who proved to be the year’s biggest group, but this year that title goes to the Zac Brown Band. Since July of 2010 the group has charted 3 consecutive number one singles (“Free,” “As She’s Walking Away,” “Colder Weather”) from their platinum selling album, You Get What You Give. The album has been critically acclaimed and helped earned the group an Album of the Year nomination at this year’s ACMs. They have potential to be this year’s leading nominee as I think they’ll land nominations in nearly every category they are eligible for including their second Entertainer nomination.

Kenny Chesney

  • Entertainer of the Year
  • Album of the Year (Hemingway’s Whiskey)
  • Male Vocalist of the Year
  • Song of the Year (“You and Tequila”)
  • Musical Event (“You and Tequila” featuring Grace Potter)

After having a somewhat quiet year in 2010, Kenny Chesney returned with a bang in 2011. Chesney charted 3 straight number one singles (“The Boys of Fall,” “Somewhere with You,” “Live a Little”) and released a gold selling album in Hemingway’s Whiskey. After a year away from the road he is back to selling out arenas, pavilions, and stadiums on his Going Coastal tour. This year could see his return back into the Entertainer race as well as te Male Vocalist and Album categories.

Taylor Swift

  • Entertainer of the Year
  • Album of the Year (Speak Now)
  • Female Vocalist of the Year
  • Song of the Year (“Back to December”)
  • Video of the Year (“Back to December”)

After claiming four trophies during the 2009 CMAs, she went home empty handed last year as she lost to Miranda Lambert for Female Vocalist. This year she could reclaim that crown thanks to her 3-time platinum album Speak Now, which sold over one million copies in its first week of release. The album has spawned three top 5 singles (“Mine,” “Back to December,” “Mean”) and has become country’s best selling album (within the eligibility period). Taylor could be the night’s leading female nominee as I think she’ll score at least three nominations.

Brad Paisley

  • Entertainer of the Year
  • Album of the Year (This is Country Music)
  • Male Vocalist of the Year
  • Musical Event (“Old Alabama” featuring Alabama or “Remind Me” featuring Carrie Underwood)

After claming his first Entertainer of the Year award during last year’s ceremony, Brad Paisley could find himself in the running once again this year. His tours have continued to draw millions of fans and he continues to deliver top notch performances. This year he released This is Country Music which is nearing the 500,000 mark after only a little over a month. He’s charted three number one singles with “Water,” “Anything Like Me,” and “Old Alabama” as well as a number two hit with “This Is Country Music.” This has been another consistent year for Paisley which, I think, the CMA will recognize with multiple nominations.

Sara Evans

  • Female Vocalist of the Year
  • Single of the Year (“A Little Bit Stronger”)
  • Song of the Year (“A Little Bit Stronger”)
  • Video of the Year (“A Little Bit Stronger”)

After a few years away from the business to reorganize her personal life, Sara Evans came back “stronger” than ever. Her comeback hit, “A Little Bit Stronger,” became the first song by a female artist to reach number one in 2011 and it spent two weeks atop the chart. Her album, Stronger, has sold over 200,000 copies since its release in March. This year she could make her return to the CMA nominations list since 2006.

The Band Perry

  • Vocal Group of the Year
  • New Artist of the Year
  • Single of the Year (“If I Die Young”)
  • Song of the Year (“If I Die Young”)
  • Video of the Year (“If I Die Young”)

When you think about the top new artist in country  music you’d probably automatically think about The Band Perry. The trio has had a huge year thanks to their smash hit, “If I Die Young.” The song became the trio’s first number one single and has been certified double platinum for over two million digital downloads. They are this year’s frontrunner for the New Artist award and could be ZBB’s biggest competition for Vocal Group.

Chris Young

  • Male Vocalist of the Year
  • New Artist of the Year
  • Single of the Year (“Tomorrow” or “Voices”)
  • Song of the Year (“Tomorrow” or “Voices”)
  • Music Video of the Year (“Tomorrow”)

Chris Young is on track to become one of country’s biggest superstars. This year he scored his fourth number one single with “Voices” as well as a top five smash with his fastest rising single, “Tomorrow.” Last year he broke through into the New Artist category and this year he could garner his second nomination as well as a nomination in the exclusive Male Vocalist category.

Obviously there are other artists who could secure nominations (Reba, Miranda, Carrie for Female Vocalist; Thompson Square, Luke Bryan, Easton Corbin for New Artist) but there are the ones who we think could land multiple nominations and who have had some of the biggest years in country music.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Chris Young only has 3 number ones, but other that that I really like these predictions. You should write your predtictions for all the categories especially Song and Album of the Year that would be interesting. Great article.

    Like

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hey, the nominations are next week. Think you can write down who you think will be nominated in each category? Thanks!!

    Like

  3. @Anonymous: I'm starting our "For Your Consideration" series where I'll predict the nominees for most of the categories. I probably won't have time do to all the categories but the major ones will definitely get covered. But for now you can check out our first post about the New Artist of the Year category!

    Like

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