With the 51st Annual CMA Awards just days away, the Sounds Like Nashville staff has made its predictions on who will take home trophies during “Country Music’s Biggest Night.”
The competition is fierce once again this year. And fans want to know the answers to burning questions like…Will Garth Brooks claim the top prize for the second consecutive year? Will Miranda Lambert re-claim the Female Vocalist of the Year title from Carrie Underwood? Who will be crowned Male Vocalist of the Year? We answer these questions and more with our CMA Awards picks!
See our predictions below and tweet us @soundslikenash with yours!
Entertainer of the Year
SLN Pick: This category will forever be the most difficult to predict as a valid argument could be made of each of the nominees to win. However, Garth Brooks re-claimed his Entertainer of the Year title in 2016 and we have a pretty good feeling he’s not done yet. His massively successful world tour has continued to sell out night after night and he continues made his mark on the radio charts. Brooks is not only an incredible artist, he also has a heart of gold and makes himself accessible to fans and industry alike. This category is his to lose.
Single of the Year
(Award goes to Artist, Producer(s), and Mix Engineer(s))
“Better Man” – Little Big Town, Producer: Jay Joyce, Mix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” – Keith Urban, Producers: Dann Huff, Keith Urban Mix Engineer: Chris Lord-Alge
“Body Like A Back Road” – Sam Hunt, Producer: Zach Crowell, Mix Engineer: Zach Crowell
“Dirt On My Boots” – Jon Pardi, Producers: Bart Butler, Jon Pardi, Mix Engineer: Ryan Gore
“Tin Man” – Miranda Lambert, Producers: Frank Liddell, Eric Masse, Glenn Worf, Mix Engineer: Eric Masse
SLN Pick: Sam Hunt’s “Body Like A Back Road” spent a whopping 34 weeks atop Billboard’s Hot Country Songs Chart. If that isn’t worthy of a Single of the Year win, we aren’t sure what is. This song was a smash and is one of the biggest singles of 2017.
Album of the Year
Nominees: (Award goes to Artist and Producer(s))
The Breaker – Little Big Town Producer: Jay Joyce
From A Room: Volume 1 – Chris Stapleton Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton
Heart Break – Lady Antebellum Producer: busbee
The Nashville Sound – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit Producer: Dave Cobb
The Weight of These Wings – Miranda Lambert Producers: Frank Liddell, Glenn Worf, Eric Masse
SLN Pick: After her highly publicized divorce, Miranda Lambert poured her heart and soul into her double album, The Weight of These Wings. The singer/songwriter channeled her heartache and healing into the 24-track release, which is quite possibly the best album of her career. We’ll be shocked if she doesn’t take home a win here.
Song of the Year
(Award goes to Songwriter(s))
“Better Man” Songwriter: Taylor Swift
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” Songwriters: Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey, Steven Lee Olsen
“Body Like A Back Road” Songwriters: Zach Crowell, Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
“Dirt On My Boots” Songwriters: Rhett Akins, Jesse Frasure, Ashley Gorley
“Tin Man” Songwriters: Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall
SLN Pick: “Better Man” is a great song through and through, whether Taylor Swift wrote it or not. Our money is on this song to win and for Swift to take home her first CMA Award since winning Musical Event of the Year in 2013.
Female Vocalist of the Year
SLN Pick: With Carrie Underwood laying a bit low this year, look for Miranda Lambert to claim the title of Female Vocalist of the Year back after a year hiatus.
Male Vocalist of the Year
SLN Pick: This category is always one of the toughest to predict. All of the nominees have had standout years and are deserving of the award, but it’s Keith Urban who seems to stand out among the rest. Urban has had one of the most successful years of his career and we have a feeling CMA voters will take notice of it.
Vocal Group of the Year
Little Big Town
Zac Brown Band
SLN Pick: Although it would be nice to see Lady Antebellum, who just wrapped a wildly successful world tour and released their comeback album, Heart Break, to much critical acclaim, take this one home, we’re betting industry favorites Little Big Town will come out on top once again this year.
Vocal Duo of the Year
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae
SLN Pick: Brothers Osborne got the surprise of a lifetime in 2016 when they took home the Vocal Duo of the Year trophy and beat out three-time winner Florida Georgia Line. We have a feeling John and TJ Osborne will see a repeat of that this year with another win in this category.
Musical Event of the Year
Nominees: (Award goes to each Artist)
“Craving You” – Thomas Rhett featuring Maren Morris
“Funny How Time Slips Away” – Glen Campbell with Willie Nelson
“Kill A Word” – Eric Church featuring Rhiannon Giddens
“Setting the World on Fire” – Kenny Chesney with P!nk
“Speak to a Girl” – Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
SLN Pick: There’s something magical about Kenny Chesney and P!nk’s “Setting the World on Fire.” The singers’ voices compliment each other so well and the descriptive lyrics of the tune paint a picture of the whirlwind California romance in listeners’ heads. The chart-topping, and genre-bending, tune is practically a shoe-in for Musical Event of the Year.
Musician of the Year
Jerry Douglas (Dobro)
Paul Franklin (Steel Guitar)
Dann Huff (Guitar)
Mac McAnally (Guitar)
Derek Wells (Guitar)
SLN Pick: Dan Huff dethroned Mac McAnally and his eight-year run as Musician of the Year in 2016. Huff will likely take home the win once again this year, earning his fourth CMA Musician of the Year trophy.
Music Video of the Year
Nominees: (Award goes to Artist and Director(s))
“Better Man” – Little Big Town, Directors: Becky Fluke and Reid Long
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” – Keith Urban, Director: Carter Smith
“Craving You” – Thomas Rhett featuring Maren Morris, Director: TK McKamy
“It Ain’t My Fault” – Brothers Osborne, Directors: Wes Edwards and Ryan Silver
“Vice” – Miranda Lambert, Director: Trey Fanjoy
SLN Pick: There’s just something about Miranda Lambert’s “Vice” that sends chill down your spine. The cinematic video was the perfect pairing for the raw and gritty tune and is more than deserving of a CMA win.
New Artist of the Year
SLN Pick: We adore each of the New Artist of the Year nominees, but nobody has had a year like Jon Pardi. Coming off of three consecutive No.1 singles and a slot on Dierks Bentley’s massive summer tour, we have a feeling Pardi has an edge over the others in this category.
The 51st Annual CMA Awards, hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, will air live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Wednesday, November 8, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Fans can follow @soundslikenashville on Instagram for exclusive red carpet access featuring our host Nicole Franzel, winner of Big Brother, and updates from backstage throughout the show.