Watch the CMA Awards
CBS Nov. 11, 8 p.m. ET/PT
Entertainer of the Year
WHO WILL WIN: Chesney, who took home the trophy four of the last five years, is going for a record fifth win, while Swift is the first female solo artist in nine years to get a nomination here, and Paisley is coming on strong. This could be a close one.
Female Vocalist of the Year
WHO WILL WIN: Reba has a record four of these trophies, but neither she, Lambert nor Underwood had new CDs released during the eligibility period. McBride’s Shine is likely no match for Swift’s Fearless.
Male Vocalist of the Year
WHO WILL WIN: This is a highly competitive category, with only new-kid-on-the-block Rucker really out of the running. Chesney and Urban, though, have had better years. And while Strait is the class of the field, look for Paisley to repeat.
New Artist of the Year
Zac Brown Band
WHO WILL WIN: Rucker is hardly a new artist—he picked up a Best New Artist Grammy with Hootie & the Blowfish back in 1996. Still, with a Nashville debut that spawned three consecutive No. 1 country singles, he’s almost a lock to win here.
Vocal Group of the Year
Little Big Town
Zac Brown Band
WHO WILL WIN: Eagles aren’t considered real country, and the rest of the contenders just don’t have the multiplatinum muscle to knock off Rascal Flatts.
Vocal Duo of the Year
Big & Rich
Brooks & Dunn
Joey + Rory
WHO WILL WIN: Brooks & Dunn owned this category before Sugarland downsized to a duo. Now, after three wins in a row, it’s Sugarland’s to lose.
Album of the Year
(Award goes to artist and producer)
American Saturday Night
Produced by Frank Rogers and Chris DuBois
Produced by Dann Huff and Keith Urban
Capitol Records Nashville
Fearless Taylor Swift
Produced by Nathan Chapman and Taylor Swift
Big Machine Records
Love on the Inside Sugarland
Produced by Byron Gallimore, Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles
That Lonesome Song
Produced by the Kent Hardly Playboys
WHO WILL WIN: Although there is a chance Sugarland could sneak through, this is shaping up as a battle between Paisley and Swift. Fearless may be a little too pop for some voters, though, so we’re picking Paisley.