CMA Award Predictions #3: Male Vocalist and Female Vocalist of the Year

For our third round of five rounds of CMA Award Show Predictions, we discuss who we think will win the Male Vocalist of the Year and the Female Vocalist of the year during "Country Music's Biggest Night?"  Who did we choose and why?

Late last week, we gave you the first two set of predictions for the 43rd CMA AWARDS show.  After running down, video of the year and event of the year, we gave our predictions for Vocal group, vocal duo and best new artist.  Today we bring you the third of five predictions with our choices for the Male Vocalist of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year categories.  First we will start with the female vocalists.

The Female Vocalist of the Year category represents five of this year’s most successful female artists.  While one could argue that Kellie Pickler or Lee Ann Womack belong in the category more than nominees Reba McEntire or Miranda Lambert might, based on hit singles, in reality, their actually no more successful with singles than Miranda or Reba and they certainly haven’t achieved the sales levels that either artist has.  Others would argue that Taylor Swift has no business being in a ‘vocalist’ competition as she doesn’t perform with the melisma that fellow nominees Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride or sometimes McEntire do. In reality, while her voice can’t reach for the rafters, should that disqualify her from nominated?  Is this what we’ve come to now, thanks to television Karaoke contests?  We shouldn’t be there because the fact of the matter is that this category doesn’t include Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland so it really should be titled Female SOLO Vocalist of the Year.

Arguments aside, what we do have here are five of this year’s most successful female artists.  This year Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift both find themselves in this category against icon Reba McEntire, former winner Martina McBride and reigning champion Carrie Underwood.  If you take what each artist has done into account during the eligibility period of these awards, Underwood has this award in virtual lock-down.  Given the ‘block-voting’ that can happen within record companies, this would leave Miranda and Martina completely out of the race due to being at the same record company (Sony Nashville) as Miss Underwood.  This leaves Taylor and Reba vying for the award from Carrie and I don’t believe that Reba did enough this year nor do I think enough voters will choose 2009’s biggest-selling (living) artist, Swift, because of her vocals. This means that Carrie Underwood is once-again the winner of the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Award.


Miranda Lambert

Martina McBride

Reba McEntire

Taylor Swift

Carrie Underwood

The male category features one new artist to this list and that is Platinum-selling Darius Rucker.  With three chart-topping singles (and a fourth well on its way), the Hootie frontman certainly took the country music world by storm in 2008/2009 and has a well-earned spot in the Male Vocalist of the Year category.  George Strait has been nominated in and won this so many times since his start in 1981 that nominations are all but guaranteed until he retires from country music.  Kenny Chesney joins Garth Brooks as notable stars who have never won this category despite winning multiple Entertainer of the Year awards.  Brad Paisley and Keith Urban have both won this category multiple times (Paisley the last two years, Urban the three before that).   

With the pedigree of each contender for Male Vocalist of the Year it’s time to eliminate a few.  Normally, I’d discount Rucker from winning here but his stellar year leaves him from easy disqualification.  Despite a stellar single that was nominated for Vocal Event, Single and Song of the year (“Down The Road”), I don’t think that Kenny Chesney will take home this award either.  He’ll continue to be a footnote in this category, much like Garth Brooks.  Paisley continues to be the traditionalist for which all other traditionalists are measured by which, coupled with his remarkable string of Number One singles and successful album releases makes him a front-runner.  George Strait is considered the ‘king of country music’ and that alone makes him a top contender, let alone a few chart-topping hits and the successful Twang album.  Keith Urban has consistently been nominated for this award this decade and while he won it three years in a row from 2004-2006 (also winning the Entertainer trophy in 2005), he isn’t likely to steal it away from Paisley this year. 

In fact, I think the only artist with a real shot of getting this award away from Brad Paisley is Darius Rucker.  He not only crossed over to country music from another genre (rock) but he also showcased a deep love for Country Music and its traditions, something that goes very, very far with old-school CMA members.  In the end, though, I have a feeling Brad Paisley has enough good-will (and block votes) to get the award a third time. 


Kenny Chesney

Brad Paisley

Darius Rucker

George Strait

Keith Urban

Tomorrow we’ll look at Single of the Year and Song of the Year nominee categories for this year’s 43rd Country Music Association Awards Show which will be televised on ABC TV from 8-11pm Eastern/Western time.

Check out part one of the series by clicking here.

Check out part two of the series by clicking here.

Check out part four of the series by clicking here.

Check out part five of the series by clicking here.