For the better part of the past decade the Female Vocalist of the Year category has been won by a clear favorite. Last year, Miranda Lambert was the overwhelming favorite and claimed her first win in the category after four nominations. However, this year the race for the trophy isn’t as clear cut. In fact, this year three women have a pretty big shot to take this award home.
Sara Evans has been nominated in this category five times, but has yet to win. After having a largely successful comeback year, this could be Sara’s year to claim her first Female Vocalist trophy. Her smash hit “A Little Bit Stronger” was the first single by a solo female artist to hit number one in 2011. The song stayed atop the chart for two weeks, and has become the singer’s first platinum selling single. Her comeback album, Stronger, made its debut at number one on the country albums chart and has sold nearly 300,000 copies since its March release. The CMA’s usually loves a comeback story (i.e. Lee Ann Womack owning the night during the 2006 ceremony) and this has been the best of the year.
In 2009 Taylor Swift claimed her first Female Vocalist of the Year win (alongside three other wins) and this year she has a shot at claiming her second win. Taylor has sent more singles to the top five of the country singles chart than any other female artist as she’s added three more to her resume. In addition to the successful singles, she’s added another triple platinum album to her credit as her 2010 album, Speak Now, as moved over 3 million copies in less than a year. Not to mention her Speak Now World Tour has quickly become one of the most attended concert tours in any musical genre. After 2010 was the year of Miranda Lambert, 2011 could end up to be the year of Taylor Swift.
The current Female Vocalist of the Year has had another consistent year although it doesn’t measure up to the massive 2010 she experienced. Miranda Lambert’s 2009 Revolution album was certified platinum and added another number one song to her credit with “Heart Like Mine” reaching the summit. Lambert managed to keep her name in the headlines as she married longtime boyfriend Blake Shelton and announced the release date of her fourth album, Four the Record. It’s possible that Lambert could repeat as Female Vocalist this year, but I think it’ll be hard for her to compete with the success Sara and Taylor have experienced.
Reba McEntire has once again delivered a solid year. She ended 2010 with a number one single as “Turn on the Radio” shot straight to the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. The two follow up singles from her All the Women I Am album both peaked inside the top 40 on the same chart. The album, the singer’s 26th studio album, made its debut at number three on the country albums chart. Reba doesn’t really have a shot at winning, but she’s done enough to land a nomination.
This past year has been relatively quiet for the three time Female Vocalist of the Year winner, Carrie Underwood. She’s had another consistent year at radio by sending “Undo It” to number one and “Mama’s Song” to number two, and she just recently hit number one as part of Brad Paisley’s song “Remind Me.” Underwood had a successful tour in last year’s Play On Tour which should be enough to get her into the category. But without having released an album since 2009 and a new single since last year, Underwood has little to no chance at pulling off a win.
Martina McBride – The singer once again had a tough time regaining any momentum at country radio. Her lone single of the past year, “Teenage Daughters,” peaked at number 17. This year could be the first time since 1997 that McBride isn’t among the Female Vocalist nominees.