Jessica Simpson, Jamie Foxx, Kid Rock, and Sheryl Crow – not your typical country-music lineup, but they are among the stars expected to join country superstars like Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley at the 41st Annual CMA Awards on Wednesday night, to be broadcast live on ABC from the Sommet Center in Nashville.
Former Miss Tennessee Ashley Eicher will co-host the show with country singer Luke Bryan.
Crow and Kid Rock are scheduled to be presenters, while Foxx is due to perform a song he recorded with Rascal Flatts on their new album. And Simpson, who is leaning toward recording a country album herself and has spent time in Nashville lately, is expected to attend as a guest.
Those on tap to perform include Underwood, Paisley, Keith Urban, the Eagles, Martina McBride, Kenny Chesney, Alison Krauss and Brooks & Dunn.
Paisley and George Strait lead the nominations this year with five nods each.
Among the big country stars not expected to attend: the Dixie Chicks (despite being nominated for top group); Faith Hill and Tim McGraw (McGraw is among the nominees for Musical Event of the Year); Toby Keith, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.
In recent days, the Country Music Association has had to respond to suggestions that its nominees have been biased toward men in recent years. This year, all five nominees for Entertainer of the Year – Chesney, Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Strait and Urban – are men. In fact, not since 2001, with the Dixie Chicks, has there been a female artist or group nominated in the top category, the Associated Press reports.
The CMA has not officially responded to the criticism. Lon Helton, editor and publisher of the trade publication Country Aircheck, has a theory for the lack of women in top categories.
“The country music audience used to be split 51 to 49 female to male, and now it’s skewing about 57 percent female. There’s a theory that women really like to see male artists,” he said.