November 1, 2012 at 6:40 PM
Entertainer of the Year:
Who will win: Kenny Chesney
Who should win: Blake Shelton
Chesney will most likely win for his huge tour with Tim McGraw this summer (the duo already won for Musical Event of the Year), but Shelton is just as deserving. Not only does he have a thriving music career, but he is also a judge on the hit singing competition TV show, "The Voice." Also, Shelton has been on the country music map more than Chesney in the past year, so the award is fitting for him.
However, Swift won last year and 2009, Paisley in 2010 and Chesney won from 2006 to 2008, so Shelton has some stiff competition.
Female Vocalist of the Year:
Who will win: Carrie Underwood
Who should win: Miranda Lambert
Let's be honest — Lambert, Swift and Underwood have had their hands on this award for the past five years. The three blond bombshells of country music all deserve this award, but for this year, I can narrow it down to Lambert and Underwood. Swift may have a chance with her recent album release, "Red," but Underwood and Lambert have been consistently on the radio for the past year. Underwood will most likely win for her solid "Blown Away" album, but Lambert is more compelling vocally and is a fantastic performer live. And besides, Lambert has won the past two years, while Underwood hasn't won since her three-year streak from 2006 to 2008.
Also, the fact that Kelly Clarkson is nominated in this category baffles me. While she has incorporated country into her recent music, who says she is deserving of this award over, let's say, Reba McEntire or Sara Evans?
New Artist of the Year:
Love and Theft
Who will win: Hunter Hayes
Who should win: Hunter Hayes
While all the other nominees are deserving of this coveted award, Hayes had a huge year. He's country music's Justin Bieber, so to speak, as he draws in the younger demographic, much like Taylor Swift did when she started out. "Storm Warning" and "Wanted" are fantastic songs and his performance at the CMA Music Festival this past June was just the icing on the cake of reasons why he will be around for a long time.
Vocal Group of the Year:
Eli Young Band
Little Big Town
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band
Who will win: Lady Antebellum
Who should win: Little Big Town
All the groups nominated this year are equally deserving, so the easiest way to figure out who will win is to narrow the list down. Eli Young Band and Zac Brown Band will most likely not win because while they are popular, they haven't had as huge of a year as the other three nominees. That leaves Lady A, LBT and The Band Perry to duke it out for the title.
With Little Big Town's huge summer hit "Pontoon," the group has a chance to dismantle Lady Antebellum's three-year streak on the award. But with Lady A's huge popularity and crossover qualities, the group could continue its streak. However, The Band Perry could come through with a huge upset as the new reigning Vocal Group of the Year.
All nominee lists complied from the CMA Awards' official website, cmaworld.com.