48th Annual CMA Awards Complete Preview

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(Tune in Wednesday night for Saving Country Music’s LIVE Blog of the CMA Awards)

The 48th ANNUAL CMA AWARDS

When: 7 PM Central, 8 PM Eastern Wednesday, November 5th 2014 on ABC. Time delayed for the West Coat.

Where: The Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN.

Hosts: Brad Paisley & Carrie Underwood (7th consecutive year)

THINGS TO WATCH FOR

” Special Unannounced Country Music Legend

“There’s going to be a surprise guest in one of our performances from one of the biggest legends of country music of all time,” says CMA Executive Producer Robert Deaton. “I’ll just leave it at that. It’s going to be a great moment when people are going to want to get out their phones.”

This may make up for the fact that so far, no tribute to an older artist has been announced at the moment. There has also been no announcement of the recipient of the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award just yet, established two years ago, and given to Kenny Rogers last year.

” George Strait vs. Luke Bryan for Entertainer of the Year

The biggest prize of the night will be the Entertainer of the Year. George Strait won the distinction last year in what some believe was a sympathy vote, or a going away prize for the retiring performer. However the success of his farewell tour which transpired during this year’s eligibility window makes him a strong contender again this year. Luke Bryan is also a clear front runner, and members of his camp were openly angry and disappointed when George Strait was picked over Luke for the ACM Entertainer of the Year in April. Or the votes could get split and a 3rd nominee could walk away with the prize. THere’s been some buzz about it being Miranda Lambert’s year.

” Luke Bryan and/or Miranda Lambert Could Have a Huge Night

Though Miranda Lambert has the most total nominations with nine, Luke Bryan might be poised for the biggest night of all if he walks away with the trifecta of Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, and Album of the Year, all of which he has to be considered a top contender for. The absence of Jason Aldean nominations this year really clears the field for Luke to have a huge night. But if Miranda Lambert emerges out of the pack with Entertainer of the Year and picks up some wins for her song nominations, she could have a big night too. Miranda is considered a top contender for Female Vocalist of the Year.

THE PRESENTERS

Artists confirmed to present awards include Garth Brooks, Martina McBride, Brandy Clark, Brantley Gilbert, Darius Rucker, Dan + Shay, Brett Eldredge, Lee Brice, Trisha Yearwood, Kip Moore, and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler.

Non performers confirmed to be presenting include Connie Britton from ABC’s Nashville, Lucy Hale, and football player Tim Tebow.

THE PERFORMERS

Special Performances & Collaborations

” There will be a special, unannounced performance by “one of the biggest legends of country music of all time.”

” Miranda Lambert and Meghan Trainor will perform a version of Trainor’s hit “All About That Bass.”

” Miranda Lambert will also perform “Smokin’ & Drinkin'” with Little Big Town.

” Little Big Town and Ariana Grande will do a performance of the song “Day Drinking,” and Ariana’s song “Bang Bang.”

” Blake Shelton and Ashley Monroe will perform their duet “Lonely Tonight”

” The Doobie Brothers will perform with Jennifer Nettles, Hunter Hayes, and Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum.

” The recently retired George Strait will also be performing.

Other Performers

  • Dierks Bentley – “Drunk On A Plane”
  • Carrie Underwood – “Something In The Water”
  • Eric Church
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Cole Swindell – “Chillin’ It”
  • Keith Urban
  • Hunter Hayes
  • Kenny Chesney
  • Lady Antebellum – “Bartender”
  • Jason Aldean
  • Luke Bryan
  • Brad Paisley – “Perfect Storm”
  • The Band Perry
  • Thomas Rhett
  • Tim McGraw

AWARD NOMINEES

(READ: Saving Country Music’s Picks & Prognostications)

” Two awards were handed out Wednesday morning during Good Morning America. Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert won for Musical Event of the Year for “We Were Us,” and Dierks Bentley won Music Video of the Year for “Drunk On A Plane.”

” Check back as winners will be populated here as they’re announced.

Entertainer of the Year

  • Luke Bryan
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Blake Shelton
  • George Strait
  • Keith Urban

Male Vocalist of the Year

  • Dierks Bentley
  • Luke Bryan
  • Eric Church
  • Blake Shelton
  • Keith Urban

Female Vocalist of the Year

  • Miranda Lambert
  • Martina McBride
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood

Single of the Year

  • “Automatic,” Miranda Lambert
  • “Drunk On A Plane,” Dierks Bentley
  • “Give Me Back My Hometown,” Eric Church
  • “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s,” Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill
  • “Mine Would Be You,” Blake Shelton

Album of the Year

  • Crash My Party, Luke Bryan
  • Fuse, Keith Urban
  • Platinum, Miranda Lambert
  • Riser, Dierks Bentley
  • The Outsiders, Eric Church

Song of the Year

  • “Automatic,” Nicolle Galyon, Natalie Hemby, and Miranda Lambert 
  • “Follow Your Arrow,” Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves
  • “Give Me Back My Hometown,” Eric Church & Luke Laird
  • “I Don’t Dance,” Lee Brice, Dallas Davidson, & Rob Hatch
  • “I Hold On,” Dierks Bentley & Brett James

New Artist of the Year

  • Brandy Clark
  • Brett Eldredge
  • Kip Moore
  • Thomas Rhett
  • Cole Swindell

Vocal Duo of the Year

  • Dan+Shay
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Love & Theft
  • Swon Brothers
  • Thompson Square

Vocal Group of the Year

  • Eli Young Band
  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town
  • The Band Perry
  • Zac Brown Band

Musical Event of the Year

  • “Bakersfield,” Vince Gill & Paul Franklin
  • “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s,” Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill
  • “Somethin’ Bad,” Miranda Lambert duet with Carrie Underwood
  • “We Were Us,” Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert – WINNER
  • “Can’t Make Old Friends,” Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers

Music Video of the Year

  • “Automatic,” Miranda Lambert, directed by Trey Fanjoy
  • “Bartender,” Lady Antebellum, directed by Shane Drake
  • “Drunk On A Plane,” Dierks Bentley, directed by Wes Edwards – WINNER
  • “Follow Your Arrow,” Kacey Musgraves, directed by Honey & Kacey Musgraves
  • “Somethin’ Bad,” Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood, directed by Trey Fanjoy

Musician of the Year

  • Sam Bush, mandolin
  • Jerry Douglas, dobro
  • Paul Franklin, steel guitar
  • Dann Huff, guitar
  • Mac MacAnally, guitar