The Academy of Country Music has just announced its 2017 batch of award nominees, and as you can imagine, it is the same usual suspects of superstar names receiving circumspect recognition in an event that is not much more than an infomercial for the industry, and fails to recognize the impact many of country’s independent artists are having on the direction of the genre at the moment.
A few of the bright spots are that Chris Stapleton is being considered for Male Vocalist, as well as Video of the Year for “Fire Away,” and Song of the Year for “Tennessee Whiskey” (even though it was never released as a single). The ACM’s actually nominated Kacey Musgraves for Female Vocalist, instead of reaching outside the genre as they often do to fill the fifth spot in mainstream country’s female void. Rhiannon Giddens also receives a nomination for her duet with Eric Church on “Kill A Word.”
But all of this is counteracted by nominations such as Kane Brown for New Male Vocalist. The only justice in that is he will very likely lose. And Keith Urban continues to be an awards show darling this cycle inexplicably.
The 2017 ACM Awards are set to take place in Las Vegas, Nev., on April 2, and air live on CBS beginning at 8PM ET. For the first time ever, the show will take place at T-Mobile Arena; Luke Bryan and Bentley will return as co-hosts.
Find some predictions and knee jerk reactions below.
2017 Academy of Country Music Awards Nominees
Entertainer of the Year
This is a two horse race that will likely result in Luke Bryan once again coming out the victor since the ACM’s didn’t add the wild card of nominating Garth Brooks. Maybe Jason Aldean slips in, but not likely. Don’t expect this to be Carrie Underwood or Keith Urban’s year. Florida Georgia Line has no chance.
Luke Bryan – WINNER
Florida Georgia Line
Male Vocalist of the Year
This is Chris Stapleton’s again, right? Is there really enough energy behind any of these other folks to put them over the top? Jason, Dierks, and even Thomas Rhett will get a push, but folks will vote their hearts, and Chris Stapleton will likely win.
Chris Stapleton – WINNER
Female Vocalist of the Year
Hypothetically this should be Carrie Underwood’s, but Miranda’s new album and the critical acclaim it has received will at least make this interesting. What happens in the next few months may determine the winner.
Miranda Lambert – Other potential winner
Carrie Underwood – WINNER
Vocal Duo of the Year
Normally this would be a no brainer, but with Brothers Osborne shocking everyone, including themselves at the CMA’s with a win, who knows? Florida Georgia Line has become cold product, and this throws everything into question, except that Maddie & Tae have no chance.
Big & Rich
Brothers Osborne – Potential Winner
Dan + Shay – Potential Winner
Florida Georgia Line- Potential Winner
Maddie & Tae
Vocal Group of the Year
Hard to see Little Big Town’s big winning streak slowing, unless Lady Antebellum has a strong couple of months.
Eli Young Band
Little Big Town – WINNER
Album of the Year
Yikes. Awful except for Miranda. Let’s hope she wins, but this feels like an open race fulls of dogs, and a critical underdog. Anyone’s guess, but Miranda is not a bad one. Maren has an outside chance.
Black, Dierks Bentley
Dig Your Roots, Florida Georgia Line
Hero, Maren Morris
Ripcord, Keith Urban
The Weight of These Wings, Miranda Lambert – Let’s hope.
New Male Vocalist of the Year
New Female Vocalist of the Year
Why only four nominees? See, this is why females in country are so systemically marginalized. Find another name and put it here. Give that artist some recognition. Margo Price?
Maren Morris – WINNER
New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year
A Thousand Horses
Dan + Shay
Maddie & Tae
Video of the Year (Awarded to Producer(s) / Director(s) / Artist(s))
“Fire Away” should win this, just like it did at the CMA’s.
“Fire Away,” Chris Stapleton – WINNER
“Forever Country,” Aritsts of Then, Now and Forever
“Humble and Kind,” Tim McGraw
“Peter Pan,” Kelsea Ballerini
“Vice,” Miranda Lambert
Vocal Event of the Year (Awarded to Artist(s) / Producer(s) / Record Label(s))
“Different for Girls,” Dierks Bentley feat. Elle King
“Forever Country,” Artists of Then, Now and Forever
“May We All,” Florida Georgia Line feat. Tim McGraw
“Setting the World on Fire,” Kenny Chesney feat. Pink
“Think of You,” Chris Young feat. Cassadee Pope
Single Record of the Year (Awarded to Artist(s) / Producer(s) / Record Label(s))
Keith Urban and Florida Georgia Line won’t win. Otherwise open field, and fairly strong.
“Blue Ain’t Your Color,” Keith Urban
“H.O.L.Y.,” Florida Georgia Line
“Humble and Kind,” Tim McGraw – Potential winner
“My Church,” Maren Morris – Potential winner
“Vice,” Miranda Lambert – Potential winner
Song of the Year (Awarded to Songwriter(s) / Publisher(s) / Artist(s)
Should be a no-brainer. Stapleton’s surge with this song is just a little old. A decently-strong field.
“Blue Ain’t Your Color,” Keith Urban (Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey, Steven Lee Olsen)
“Die a Happy Man,” Thomas Rhett (Thomas Rhett, Sean Douglas, Joe Spargur)
“Humble and Kind,” Tim McGraw (Lori McKenna) – WINNER
“Kill a Word,” Eric Church feat. Rhiannon Giddens (Eric Church, Luke Dick, Jeff Hyde)
“Tennessee Whiskey,” Chris Stapleton (Dean Dillon, Linda Hargrove)
“Vice,” Miranda Lambert (Miranda Lambert, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne)
Songwriter of the Year
This should be Lori McKenna, but Shane McAnally is Music Row’s golden goose at the moment.
Shane McAnally – Other Potential Winner
Lori McKenna – WINNER