The competition is heated at this year’s 50th annual Academy of Country Music Awards, so who will come out on top?
This year’s ACM Awards are a must-watch to see unique performances from your favorite artists and to find out who takes home the most trophies. In the following list, you’ll find out who I predict will leave the ceremony with a smile and who will go home empty handed.
Vocal Event of the Year: “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” – Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill
Although both “This Is How We Roll” and “Somethin’ Bad” earned a lot of airplay and love from fans, the classic combo of Faith and Tim is hard to deny. Even without their star power, “Meanwhile” is a touching and incredibly well-written nod to the olden days that deserves the award.
Other nominees: “Lonely Tonight” – Blake Shelton featuring Ashley Monroe, “Somethin’ Bad” – Miranda Lambert duet with Carrie Underwood, “The South” – The Cadillac Three, featuring Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley and Mike Eli, “This Is How We Roll” – Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan
Video of the Year: “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” – Glen Campbell
The ACM’s have a history of tipping their hats to artists through their award selections, even if they may not have made as big of a commercial impact as the other nominees. With Campbell’s lengthy and impactful career coming to a close, this poignant video is sure to tug at voter’s heartstrings and fill the ballot box.
Other nominees: “American Kids” – Kenny Chesney, “Cop Car” – Keith Urban, “Drunk on a Plane” – Dierks Bentley, “Somethin’ Bad” Miranda Lambert duet with Carrie Underwood
Song of the Year: “Give Me Back My Hometown” – Eric Church
Song of the Year is another category that is almost impossible to choose from. Lambert’s “Automatic” is a stellar example of her strength as an artist, and Musgraves’ “Follow Your Arrow” deserves a lot of recognition for its candor and well-written honesty. Still, Eric Church’s haunting ballad has a good chance of pushing through the competition.
Other nominees: “American Kids” – Kenny Chesney, “Automatic” – Miranda Lambert, “Drink a Beer” – Luke Bryan, “Follow Your Arrow” – Kacey Musgraves, “I Hold On” – Dierks Bentley
Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert
If you come into the ACM’s with a long list of nominations, it’s not crazy to think you might leave with a good chunk of those awards in your hand. Miranda Lambert’s growth as an artist over the past year is what earned her so many nominations, and what will help he walk out with multiple awards at the end of the night. Brandy Clark has rightfully fought her way into this category with her fantastic album, 12 Stories, but I predict the scales will still tip in Lambert’s favor this time.
Other nominees: Brandy Clark, Martina McBride, Kacey Musgraves, Carrie Underwood
Single Record of the Year: “Automatic” – Miranda Lambert
This category is a great representation of the wide net that mainstream country music has been casting out. Bentley and Chesney’s catchy and fun singles were well received, but “Automatic” has the sentiment and nostalgia that hits just the right note without being trite.
Other nominees: “American Kids” – Kenny Chesney, “Dirt” – Florida Georgia Line, “Drunk on a Plane” – Dierks Bentley, “I Don’t Dance” – Lee Brice
Album of the Year: Platinum – Miranda Lambert
All five albums in this category mark new high points in these artists’ careers. Little Big Town tackles edgy content and experiments with their sound, while Aldean, Bentley and Church hone in on what makes them unique and true artists of country music. Lambert’s effort still shines the brightest in terms of songwriting, production and finding her own sound that fans can latch on to and recognize.
Other nominees: Old Boots, New Dirt – Jason Aldean, Pain Killer – Little Big Town, Riser – Dierks Bentley, The Outsiders – Eric Church
New Artist of the Year – Thomas Rhett
All three of these nominees are young, inspired artists who each have earned the title of best new artist. The three newcomers each have had huge years with incredible success. I think Thomas Rhett’s wide appeal gives him an extra foot in the door, but it’s really anyone’s award.
Other nominees: Sam Hunt, Cole Swindell
Vocal Group of the Year – Little Big Town
Although this is another very close category, Little Big Town’s latest effort puts them on a different plane as artists than previous years. If voters are smart enough to recognize the impact of what they’ve accomplished, Little Big Town is an easy choice for this award.
Other nominees: Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry, Zac Brown Band
Vocal Duo of the Year: Florida Georgia Line
While all of the other nominees have had strong releases this year, they are still small in comparison to Florida Georgia Line’s accomplishments. They’ve been on a stream of success that doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon and are the obvious frontrunners in the category.
Other nominees: Brothers Osbourne, Dan + Shay, Maddie & Tae, The Swon Brothers
Male Vocalist of the Year: Luke Bryan
Blake Shelton has won this award for the past five years in a row, and it’s time for a new winner. Luke Bryan had three number one singles in 2014 and shouldn’t be one to walk out of the arena empty handed.
Other nominees: Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton
Entertainer of the Year: Garth Brooks
Entertainer of the Year is always a tough category. With such big names and the power of the fan’s voting at work, it can be the most unpredictable category of the entire award ceremony. With so much excitement and support from his fans since his comeback, Garth is going to be the one to beat for the top prize.
Other nominees: Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line