Roughstock's Predicitons for 2013's 47th Annual CMA Awards

Yep, it's that time again. CMA Awards Week. Always a busy time in Nashville, we've got our predictions for Wednesday November 6, 2013's big day right here for y'all. Take a look to see who we think will and should win in each of the categories!

This year’s CMA Awards show — the 47th annual CMA Awards, hosted by Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley — is set to happen Wednesday, November 6 on ABC TV (3 hours of Country Music entertainment) and that means it’s time today to showcase our predictions for this year’s crop of nominees, a crop that’s lead by upstart Kacey Musgraves and Platinum Country/Pop star Taylor Swift’s 6 nominations each, with Swift up for Entertainer of the year with legend George Strait and the top 3 current male vocalists, Jason Aldean, ACM Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan and reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year, Blake Shelton. We hope you enjoy our list of predictions, predictions we’re usually good for 75% accuracy since our start in 2008.

Entertainer of the Year

Jason Aldean

Luke Bryan

Blake Shelton

George Strait

Taylor Swift

This is an interesting collection of nominees. Strait won this award — twice — over 20 years ago and with him in the midst of his final tour (a 2 year tour) he may get quite a few votes to give the most iconic of modern Country Music singers and Entertainers (he’s been a top artist for over 30 years now) and the template from which every Male artist has sprang from in some form since. Despite that, he’s not the shoo-in I thought he was when the nominees were announced in September. Last year’s winner — Shelton — and previous two-time winner Taylor Swift present quite a trio of top-line stars great for front-runners in any award cycle but add in Stadium-tour sellout Jason Aldean and ACM winner Luke Bryan and you’ve got quite a group of Entertainers to choose from. It gives this category all the more reason to consider the top-draw Entertainers not nominated here, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Toby Keith, Zac Brown Band, Kenny Chesney or Carrie Underwood, to know how tough this category is.   

Will Win: Blake Shelton

Should Win: George Strait

Actually Won: George Strait


Male Vocalist of the Year

Jason Aldean

Luke Bryan

Eric Church

Blake Shelton

Keith Urban

First, you have to wonder where co-host and former 3x winner Brad Paisley is. But other than that, this is pretty much the top-drawer talent of Country Music (except 2001 winner Toby Keith, of course). Four of these five stars have had major years in 2012/2013 and Keith Urban’s no slouch either with a strong-selling pair of albums and a string of hit singles released during the time period. Still, he — even as a 3 time winner from ’04-’06 isn’t likely to win here. Except for Vince Gill’s 5 year reign from 1991-1995, not one artist has ever had more than three consecutive years, not even King George Strait (who has 5 total wins in this category). So that leads me to want to believe that our friend Blake Shelton is likely due to be replaced here except I just don’t see how he’ll be replaced. Yes, Aldean and Church have had remarkable years but so has Shelton. So I think those two are out as is Urban. That leaves Shelton and the best-selling Luke Bryan as the top-line guys here. In the end I think Shelton takes the award for the fourth year in a row, joining Vince Gill and Reba as the only artists with that long of a reign in a given category.

Will Win: Blake Shelton

Should Win: Blake Shleton

Actually Won: Blake Shelton

Female Vocalist of the Year

Kelly Clarkson

Miranda Lambert

Kacey Musgraves

Taylor Swift

Carrie Underwood

When last year’s CMA Award nominees were announced, we were all surprised at Kelly Clarkson’s inclusion given that she hadn’t released many singles to country radio as a solo artist (she did have two major duets before that) but now that she has — and is releasing a country album in 2014 — it seems that the time is ripe for the singer to be here. Still, one could’ve made a case for any other female artist with equal amounts of success on the charts — Jana Kramer and Maggie Rose among them — to take that slot. This is a lot of words to say that Kelly Clarkson isn’t going to take home this award.  

Kacey Musgraves is probably too new herself to take the award so that leaves the three female artists who garner any sort of regular Country Radio airplay (what’s up with that, radio?), all of them previous winners, with Carrie Underwood winning from ’06-’08, Taylor Swift in 2009 and the reigning 3x winner, Miranda Lambert. Underwood may have had the most consistent — as she always has — of radio airplay of the three but Lambert isn’t far behind and Swift has had one of the best years of her career, even if most of that came in the pop music world and charts. This leads me to believe that this award is down to a “fight” between Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert and I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Carrie takes home the award instead of her Sony Nashville label mate. 

Will Win: Carrie Underwood

Should Win: Carrie Underwood

Actually Won: Miranda Lambert

Duo of the Year

Big & Rich

The Civil Wars

Florida Georgia Line

Love & Theft


Thompson Square

This one’s very easy. Sugarland’s dormant. The Civil Wars are too indie/folk (and broke up), Big & Rich have done alright but certainly not to the level of their biggest days. Love and Theft are doing well but they’re also not likely winners here. That leaves reigning winning duo Thompson Square and hot shot upstarts Florida Georgia Line. Quite honestly, Florida Georgia Line would have to do a lot to not win here and that is enough to say with 99.9% certainty that they’re the winners here (and likely for years to come).

Will Win: Florida Georgia Line

Should Win: Florida Georgia Line

Actually Won: Florida Georgia Line

Group of the Year

Eli Young Band

Lady Antebellum

Little Big Town

The Band Perry

Zac Brown Band

From 2009-2011 this award was firmly in Lady Antebellum’s hands. Then, on the strength of “Pontoon” and Tornado, Little Big Town scored the CMA. Upstarts Eli Young Band and The Band Perry are both strong contenders but like Zac Brown Band and now Lady Antebellum, they’re likely not to take home the award, though I could see The Band Perry sneaking out a win here at some point but probably not this year. I’m going to hedge my bets and say that Little Big Town — who are also up for Album of the Year for Tornado — take this award for a second year in a row, even if I’d personally choose Zac Brown Band because of how remarkably consistent they’ve been and that like LBT, they ‘deserve’ to win this award at some point in their career.

Will Win: Little Big Town

Should Win: Zac Brown Band

Actually Won: Little Big Town

Album of the Year

Based On A True Story..., Blake Shelton

Blown Away, Carrie Underwood

Red, Taylor Swift

Same Trailer, Different Park, Kacey Mugraves

Tornado, Little Big Town

Here’s an interesting collection of five albums. four of these are part of 2012/2013’s top-selling albums and the other — Same Trailer Different Park — is perhaps the most critically-acclaimed album released by a major label in all of 2013. That means it’s a big contender but it does have to contend with Swift’s Red, an album that has sold the most but also has quite a few actual pop songs contained on the album, Shelton’s Based…, the star’s fastest-selling album and a collection that contains two #1 hits and one well on its way. Then you have Underwood’s massive nearly multi-platinum Blown Away, an album with 4 #1 hits (all of those RIAA certified hits as well). Finally we have Tornado, an album from the summer of 2012 that still remains one of Roughstock’s favorite albums. Can Little Big Town score an Album of the Year title? I don’t know. This is probably the hardest category to choose outside of Entertainer of the Year. CMA has lately chosen more “rock-leaning” albums since 2009 when Swift took home the award for Fearless but they’ve yet to give Carrie Underwood recognition for the consistent albums she delivers so I’m going to say the voters should give her the award but that in the end they’ll give it to Little Big Town. 

Will Win: Tornado - Little Big Town

Should Win: Blown Away - Carrie Underwood

Actually Won: Based On A True Story - Blake Shelton

New Artist

Lee Brice

Brett Eldredge

Florida Georgia Line

Kacey Musgraves

Kip Moore

Let’s be completely honest, after selling 6 million singles for “Cruise” and being multi-platinum with Here’s To The Good Time and scoring 3 multi-week #1 hits out of the gates (all within 16 months), is there anyone else but Florida Georgia Line to take this award. It just is too obvious, even if I like the other nominees too. The duo is on a rocket to stardom that rarely hits Country music — not even Swift rose this fast — so how could I choose anyone but them? I can’t.

Will Win: Florida Georgia Line

Should Win: Kacey Musgraves

 Actually Won: Kacey Musgraves


Single of the Year

"Cruise", Florida Georgia Line

"Highway Don't Care", Tim McGraw feat. Taylor Swift and Keith Urban

"Mama's Broken Heart", Miranda Lambert

"Merry Go Round", Kacey Musgraves

"Wagon Wheel", Darius Rucker

Once again, each song could really make a case for itself. “Cruise” was mentioned above. “Highway Don’t Care” features three superstars and was also one of the best hits of the year.” “Mama’s Broken Heart” defied traditional logic and went from deep cut to massive #1 hit, Musgraves broke the glass ceiling for female artists with her critically-acclaimed single and Darius Rucker took a well-known, oft-played bar song and made it the biggest hit of his career. This tells me that any of these songs could win. Musgraves is likely to win somewhere and this may be her best shot but it’s also the least-successful (though still Gold and a Top 10 hit) of the bunch. My gut says to go with "Cruise" as it was the biggest hit so that's who will win but perhaps the voters go for "Wagon Wheel" instead as it's the most traditionaly 'country' of the tracks here. Still, if we're going by markers about the biggest, most well-known song for 2012/2013, "Cruise" definitely is/was it.

Will Win: Florida Georgia Line "Cruise"

Should Win: Florida Georgia Line "Cruise"

Actually Won:  Florida Georgia Line "Cruise"

Song of the Year

"I Drive Your Truck", Lee Brice

"Mama's Broken Heart", Miranda Lambert

"Merry Go Round", Kacey Musgraves

"Pontoon", Little Big Town

"Wagon Wheel", Darius Rucker

How awesome would it be for “Wagon Wheel” to win a songwriting award from Country music for Bob Dylan? That being said, I don’t know if CMA will give the award to Bob or Ketch Secor. Instead, I think this one will come down to the other four tracks. There’s sentimentality in “I Drive Your Truck,” put fun in “Pontoon” and strong song craft in both “Merry Go Round” and “Mama’s Broken Heart” (both songs feature similar writers). Given that “Pontoon” won the Single of the Year in 2012. I’m gonna suspect it’s got a lot of support to win “Song of the Year” here too. That being said, How can you not give Kacey Musgraves an award somewhere? So I’m going to say that Kacey and her co-writers win here.

Will Win: Kacey Musgraves “Merry Go Round”

Should Win: Kacey Musgraves “Merry Go Round” 

Actually Won:  Lee Brice "I Drive Your Truck"

Video of the Year

"Blown Away", Carrie Underwood

"Boys 'Round Here", Blake Shelton feat. Pistol Annies and Friends

"Downtown", Lady Antebellum

"Highway Don't Care", Tim McGraw feat. Taylor Swift and Keith Urban

"Mama's Broken Heart", Miranda Lambert

"Tornado", Little Big Town

Quite simply a collection of strong music videos but the cinematic quality of “Highway Don’t Care” makes it the best-choice to win (it’s likely to get a Grammy Short Form video nomination too) and my only real chance at winning, except maybe Carrie Underwood’s equally grand “Blown Away.” 

Will Win: “Highway Don’t Care”

Should Win: “Highway Don’t Care”

Actually Won: "Highway Don't Care"

Musical Event of the Year

"Boys 'Round Here", Blake Shelton feat. Pistol Annies and Friends

"Cruise", Florida Georgia Line feat. Nelly

"Don't Rush", Kelly Clarkson feat. Vince Gill

"Highway Don't Care", Tim McGraw feat. Taylor Swift and Keith Urban

"The Only Way I Know", Jason Aldean feat. Luke Bryan and Eric Church

Is 2012/2013 the year that CMA chooses a “rap” song for any sort of award? I don’t think so which means “The Only Way I Know” and “Cruise” are out. The old-school voters love themselves some Vince Gill but does that mean “Don’t Rush” can win a second Event of the Year award for Clarkson (who won with Aldean for “Don’t You Want To Stay” in 2011)? I think not. So that one’s out. This leaves “Highway Don’t Care” and “Boys Round Here” by process of elimination. Some would say “Boys” is a ‘rap’ song but to me it’s more of a recitation. Still, I think McGraw, Swift and Urban take home the award for “Highway.” 

Will Win: “Highway Don’t Care”

Should Win: “Highway Don’t Care”

Actually Won: "Highway Don't Care"


Musician of the Year

Sam Bush

Paul Franklin

Dann Huff

Brent Mason

Mac MacAnally 

Most voters just pick Mac MacAnally, who has won every year since 2008. But perhaps 5 years is enough for Dann Huff or Paul Franklin to take the award instead. I’d actually LOVE for Franklin to win — he did have a high profile release with Vince Gill — but I still think Mac McAnally takes the pre-telecast award for a 6th year in a row. 

Will Win: Mac McAnally

Should Win: Paul Franklin

Actually Won: Mac McAnally

Well, folks, there you have it, our choices to win. We’d love for y’all to submit your winners to our Facebook and twitter pages. We have a pair of cool Sheryl Crow ZinePak editions of her Feels Like Home album to give to anyone who tweets or posts a comment and tags us in Facebook.