NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - AUGUST 24: Lainey Wilson performs during the 15th Annual Academy Of Country Music Honors at Ryman Auditorium on August 24, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images for ACM

CMA Awards 2022: Surprises and Snubs on This Year's Ballot

As expected, Wednesday's (Sept. 7) announcement of the 55th annual CMA Awards nominees delivered pleasant surprises for fans of up-and-coming country artists and fueled outrage over perceived snubs of huge names with sustained airplay and box office success.

Here's some of the biggest shockers and most glaring oversights on Country Music Association (CMA) voters' final ballot.

Surprise: Lainey Wilson's Six-Nomination Haul

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - AUGUST 24: Lainey Wilson performs during the 15th Annual Academy Of Country Music Honors at Ryman Auditorium on August 24, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Mickey Bernal/Getty Images

Lainey Wilson's a first-time nominee six times over, earning Album of the Year (Sayin' What I'm Thinkin'), Female Vocalist of the Year, Music Video of the Year (Cole Swindell duet "Never Say Never"), Musical Event of the Year ("Never Say Never"), New Artist of the Year and Song of the Year ("Things A Man Oughta Know") consideration.

It's a history-setting haul, with Wilson tying Glen Campbell (1968), Brad Paisley (2000) and Kacey Musgraves (2013) for the most nominations as a first-timer.

Snub: Luke Bryan's Out of Entertainer of the Year Contention

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JUNE 11: Luke Bryan performs during day 3 of CMA Fest 2022 at Nissan Stadium on June 11, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Terry Wyatt/WireImage

Luke Bryan won't exactly be lacking further exposure, considering he's co-hosting this year's CMA Awards with NFL great Peyton Manning. Yet it seems off that one of country music's biggest celebrities and most consistent live draws only made it onto the final ballot as a featured artist on Jordan Davis' "Buy Dirt."

Indeed, Bryan (and by the same logic, The Voice's Blake Shelton) should be in the Entertainer of the Year running because of his ambassadorship role on American Idol. Singing competition series and other pop culture platforms should carry some weight here, as voters are challenged to give consideration "not only to recorded performance" but to an act's "in-person performance, public acceptance, leadership and overall contribution to country music."

Surprise: Taylor Swift's Music Video of the Year Nod

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 28: Taylor Swift attends the 2022 MTV VMAs at Prudential Center on August 28, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey.

Catherine Powell/Getty Images for MTV/Paramount Global

A talent whose fame transcended country music a long time ago, Taylor Swift's back on the final CMA ballot for the "I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)" music video. A win would be shared with collaborator and deserved awards show darling Chris Stapleton as well as the ballot's biggest curveball: celebrity Swiftie and video director Blake Lively.

Snub: Scotty McCreery Gets Shut Out

PANAMA CITY BEACH, FLORIDA - JUNE 05: Scotty McCreery performs during the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam on June 05, 2022 in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Michael Chang/Getty Images

Despite the commercial and critical success of "Damn Strait," Scotty McCreery's still a zero-time CMA nominee. The American Idol winner's picked up only one industry award (the 2012 ACM New Artist of the Year) on either of country music's biggest nights.

Kane Brown also stays on the perennial snubs list, with his only nominations to date coming last year for Chris Young collaboration "Famous Friends."

Mixed Bag: The New Artist of the Year Field

BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN - JULY 24: Morgan Wade performs during 2022 Faster Horses Festival at Michigan International Speedway on July 24, 2022 in Brooklyn, Michigan.

Erika Goldring/WireImage

Beyond Wilson and fellow rising star Parker McCollum, the New Artist of the Year nominees consist of an established hit songwriter (Hardy) and two certified hitmakers (social media supernova Walker Hayes and Male Artist of the Year hopeful Cody Johnson). Although there's an argument that all five deserve voter consideration, a broader, more diverse and less obviously famous range of recent success stories (Morgan Wade, Jelly Roll) would better represent country music's potential future.

This year's CMA Awards will take place on Nov. 9 at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena and air live on ABC (7 p.m. EST). 

2022 CMA Award Nominees

Entertainer of the Year

  • Luke Combs
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Morgan Wallen

Single of the Year

Award goes to Artist(s), Producer(s) and Mix Engineer

  • "Buy Dirt" - Jordan Davis featuring Luke Bryan
    Producer: Paul DiGiovanni
    Mix Engineer: Jim Cooley
  • "half of my hometown" - Kelsea Ballerini (feat. Kenny Chesney)
    Producers: Kelsea Ballerini, Ross Copperman, Jimmy Robbins
    Mix Engineer: Dan Grech-Marguerat
  • "Never Wanted To Be That Girl" - Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde
    Producers: Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
    Mix Engineer: Ryan Gore
  • "'Til You Can't" - Cody Johnson
    Producer: Trent Willmon
    Mix Engineer: Jack Clarke
  • "You Should Probably Leave" - Chris Stapleton
    Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton
    Mix Engineer: Vance Powell

Album of the Year

Award goes to Artist(s), Producer(s) and Mix Engineer(s)

  • Growin' Up - Luke Combs
    Producers: Luke Combs, Chip Matthews, Jonathan Singleton
    Mix Engineers: Jim Cooley, Chip Matthews
  • Humble Quest - Maren Morris
    Producer: Greg Kurstin
    Mix Engineer: Serban Ghenea
  • Palomino - Miranda Lambert
    Producers: Luke Dick, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall, Mikey Reaves
    Mix Engineer: Jason Lehning
  • Sayin' What I'm Thinkin' - Lainey Wilson
    Producer: Jay Joyce
    Mix Engineer: F. Reid Shippen
  • Time, Tequila & Therapy - Old Dominion
    Producers: Shane McAnally, Old Dominion
    Mix Engineer: Justin Niebank

Song of the Year

Award goes to Songwriter(s)

  • "Buy Dirt"
    Songwriters: Jacob Davis, Jordan Davis, Josh Jenkins, Matt Jenkins
  • "Never Wanted To Be That Girl"
    Songwriters: Shane McAnally, Ashley McBryde, Carly Pearce
  • "Sand In My Boots"
    Songwriters: Ashley Gorley, Michael Hardy, Josh Osborne
  • "Things A Man Oughta Know"
    Songwriters: Jason Nix, Jonathan Singleton, Lainey Wilson
  • "You Should Probably Leave"
    Songwriters: Chris DuBois, Ashley Gorley, Chris Stapleton

Female Vocalist of the Year

  • Miranda Lambert
  • Ashley McBryde
  • Carly Pearce
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Lainey Wilson

Male Vocalist of the Year

  • Eric Church
  • Luke Combs
  • Cody Johnson
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Morgan Wallen

Vocal Group of the Year

  • Lady A
  • Little Big Town
  • Midland
  • Old Dominion
  • Zac Brown Band

Vocal Duo of the Year

  • Brooks & Dunn
  • Brothers Osborne
  • Dan + Shay
  • Maddie & Tae

Musical Event of the Year

Award goes to Artist(s) and Producer(s)

  • "Beers On Me" - Dierks Bentley with BRELAND & HARDY
    Producers: Dierks Bentley, Ross Copperman
  • "If I Didn't Love You" - Jason Aldean & Carrie Underwood
    Producer: Michael Knox
  • "Longneck Way To Go" - Midland (featuring Jon Pardi)
    Producers: Dann Huff, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
  • "Never Say Never" - Cole Swindell (with Lainey Wilson)
    Producer: Zach Crowell
  • "Never Wanted To Be That Girl" - Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde
    Producers: Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne

Musician of the Year

  • Jenee Fleenor, Fiddle
  • Paul Franklin, Steel guitar
  • Brent Mason, Guitar
  • Ilya Toshinskiy, Banjo
  • Derek Wells, Guitar

Music Video of the Year

Award goes to Artist(s) and Director(s)


  • "I Bet You Think About Me" (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault) - Taylor Swift (featuring Chris Stapleton)
    Director: Blake Lively
  • "Longneck Way To Go" - Midland (featuring Jon Pardi)
    Director: Harper Smith
  • "Never Say Never" - Cole Swindell (with Lainey Wilson)
    Director: Michael Monaco
  • "Never Wanted To Be That Girl" - Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde
    Director: Alexa Campbell
  • "'Til You Can't" - Cody Johnson
    Director: Dustin Haney

New Artist of the Year

  • Walker Hayes
  • Cody Johnson
  • Parker McCollum
  • Lainey Wilson

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