Perfunctory Post on the 2021 ACM Awards Nominations

“I gotta cover the 2021 ACM Awards nominations, and I sure do dread it.”

Didn’t we just endure an installment of the ACM Awards just a few short months ago? Well yes we did. But thanks to COVID-19 the last cycle was protracted, and here it has come back around again. Whoopee. Get ready for (mostly) the same parade of names that get nominated every year, and the assholes on Twitter to use it as a springboard for proclaiming country music sexist and racist no matter what transpires.

Leading the nominations with six a piece are Chris Stapleton (yawn) and Maren Morris (ick), and Miranda Lambert gets five nominations as well, just like she’s done nearly every year for the last decade. There’s a couple of cool names in the “Best New Artist” categories, and it’s cool to see Ashley McBryde get so much love (and Sam Hunt to not get any). But overall, it’s par for the course.

Below find the nominations, and some knee jerk observations and predictions. NOTE: The Predictions are NOT saving Country Music picks.

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR:

WhErE ArE tHe WoMeN! Yeah, you would’ve thought these morons would at least throw a bone to Carrie Underwood. After all, she’s the reining ACM Entertainer of the Year … oh wait, CO-Entertainer of the Year with the stove-headed Thomas Rhett. Remember that messy moment at the end of the last ACMs?

Hard one to call here. Thomas Rhett and Luke Bryan shouldn’t even be in contention, which means they’ll both probably win it. Luke Bryan’s career has been in a tailspin. Chris Stapleton deserves it on past merit, as does Eric Church, who recently won this at the CMAs. But if we’re being honest, Luke Combs is the biggest artist at the moment in country music, and should win, which means he probably won’t.

Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Luke Combs
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR:

Another tough category to pick. Miranda has had a bit of a rebound lately, and the latest Maren Morris singles have been significantly lagging. Are Ballerini, McBryde, or Carly Pearce big enough yet for this? It’s going to really come down to whose label is willing to horse trade more for votes, meaning Maren Morris or Kelsea Ballerini are probably your top contenders.

Kelsea Ballerini
Miranda Lambert
Ashley McBryde
Maren Morris
Carly Pearce

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR:

No contest.

Dierks Bentley
Eric Church
Luke Combs – WINNER
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton

DUO OF THE YEAR:

Dan + Shay would be the big commercial front runners. But we know how this works. With T.J. Osborne’s recent revelation, and the way awards shows have favored the brothers in the past, they will be strong contenders. Still the problem for Brother Osborne is they are just not fielding the hits these days, despite the favorable press coverage.

Brooks & Dunn
Brothers Osborne – Other Potential Winner
Dan + Shay – WINNER
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae

GROUP OF THE YEAR:

Old Dominion has been strangely dominating this category lately, even though the average American (or dedicated country music blogger) can’t name you even one of their songs off the top of their head. The Highwomen would be an interesting pick here as well. A win for them would be the perfect opportunity for Amanda Shires to renounce the award and declare us all racists, while ignoring the groups own dubious past.

Lady A
Little Big Town
Old Dominion – WINNER
The Cadillac Three
The Highwomen – Other Potential Winner

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

Yes, all women, and some really worthy nominees here. But considering this is “Single” of the Year and commercial applicability is premier, you’d have to give it to “I Hope” by Gabby, which has been a monster on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for months and months. And hey, it’s a good song, just bad production. The Ingrid Andress song would be a better pick, but probably an outsider.

“Bluebird” – Miranda Lambert
“I Hope” – Gabby Barrett – WINNER
“I Hope You’re Happy Now” – Carly Pearce & Lee Brice
“More Hearts Than Mine” – Ingrid Andress
“The Bones” – Maren Morris

SONG OF THE YEAR

Another decent field, and a wide open category. Hard to call, but don’t get too married to the idea of Ashley McBryde winning this. She probably deserves it, but is unlikely to get the votes.

Bluebird – Miranda Lambert
One Night Standards – Ashley McBryde
Some People Do – Old Dominion
Starting Over – Chris Stapleton
The Bones – Maren Morris

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Wow, a side project mix tape from Kane Brown gets a nomination here? And Luke Bryan’s album which pretty much relegated him to the second tier of country males? Yikes. And yes, you have to consider Brothers Osborne a contender here because … well … we all know why. But that album was a misstep, and has sold absolutely horribly. It doesn’t deserve to win.

The one consolation for this weak category is it really gives Ashley McBryde the opportunity to step up and have a serious shot at winning this thing, which would be a huge victory, and windfall for McBryde. If her label horse trades for votes here and goes all in, she could pull it off. And it’s by far and away the one that deserves it, right behind Chris Stapleton. This will be a very interesting award to watch.

Born Here Live Here Die Here – Luke Bryan
Mixtape Vol. 1 – Kane Brown
Never Will – Ashley McBryde – Very well could win
Skeletons – Brothers Osborne
Starting Over – Chris Stapleton

NEW MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR:

Folks down in Texas are super excited for Cody Johnson and Parker McCollum, but that’s probably pie in the sky. Dad bod HARDY and Jimmy Allen are your contenders.

Jimmie Allen – WINNER
Travis Denning
HARDY – Other Potential Winner
Cody Johnson
Parker McCollum

NEW FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR:

Frankly, I feel it’s kind of insulting to consider Mickey Guyton a “new artist” at this point. Nonetheless a pretty strong field here. Tenille Arts is pretty great, and doesn’t get enough attention. But Gabby’s the one who’s put up the monster numbers.

Ingrid Andress
Tenille Arts
Gabby Barrett – WINNER
Mickey Guyton
Caylee Hammack

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Better Than We Found It – Maren Morris
Bluebird – Miranda Lambert
Gone – Dierks Bentley
Hallelujah – Carrie Underwood and John Legend
Worldwide Beautiful – Kane Brown

MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR

Meh.

Be A Light – Thomas Rhett featuring Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, Chris Tomlin, Keith Urban
Does To Me – Luke Combs featuring Eric Church
I Hope You’re Happy Now – Carly Pearce & Lee Brice
Nobody But You – Blake Shelton featuring Gwen Stefani
One Beer – HARDY featuring Lauren Alaina & Devin Dawson
One Too Many – Keith Urban, P!nk

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR:

Ashley Gorley
Michael Hardy
Hillary Lindsey
Shane McAnally
Josh Osborne

© 2021 Saving Country Music
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