2018 ACM Awards Predictions & Winners List!

See who we think will win tonight's (the pictured) Reba McEntire-hosted ACM Awards show in Las Vegas!

It's time for the ACM to give out their awards while providing audiences a great award show broadcast. Here are our annual ACM Awards predictions!

Entertainer of the Year:

  • Jason Aldean
  • Garth Brooks
  • Luke Bryan
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Keith Urban

Jason Aldean has won this one the last two years and there’s no reason to think that will change, even if the last time an artist won this award more than two years in a row was from 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 when Kenny Chesney took home this honor. Garth Brooks and Kenny Chesney are two of four acts to win this award three years or more in a row. Alabama and Hank Williams Jr are the others. Luke Bryan is a two time winner here (Garth has won it six times, the most of any ACM winner). So, while it’d be cool to see Garth Brooks win this, I don’t know if Jason Aldean will join the exclusive three in a row club. So that leaves Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban as the only non winners here (Urban has won a pair of vocalist awards through the years). What this all means is it could literally go to anyone here but I’m thinking the ACM’s will go with the new blood this year and choose Stapleton, especially since they can claim to have noticed his Entertainer of the Year status first, since he’s yet to get such an honor from the CMA Awards, the program which made him a star.

Will win: Chris Stapleton

Male Vocalist of the Year:

  • Jason Aldean
  • Thomas Rhett
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Keith Urban
  • Chris Young

Four of the five men in this category have won before, Urban in 2004 & 2005, Aldean from 2012, 2013, 2014, Stapleton in 2015 and Thomas Rhett for last year’s 2016 ceremony (the ACM Awards take place the year AFTER the calendar year has turned, unlike most other award shows). Chris Young is the only non-winner here and while I’d be cool with him taking the trophy, I think this one will go to either Thomas Rhett or Chris Stapleton, with Thomas Rhett likely to take the category a second year in a row.

Will win: Thomas Rhett.

Female Vocalist of the Year:

  • Kelsea Ballerini
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Reba McEntire
  • Maren Morris
  • Carrie Underwood

This category is interesting in that Miranda Lambert won this for the past eight years and Carrie Underwood won it the three years before that. So, for the past 11 years this category has been on lock-down. This leads me to believe that Maren Morris and Kelsea Ballerini both have a great shot at taking the award home this year, just to give somebody else the award. Reba is hosting and did release a best-selling gospel/roots album last year but it’s doubtful she’ll win here and neither will Carrie Underwood because she’s had a relatively quiet year despite switching record labels. That leaves Morris, Ballerini and Lambert. I’ll roll the dice and say that Morris takes it home (even if Ballerini’s had more mainstream radio success). Morris is more critically-acclaimed.

Will win: Maren Morris

Vocal Duo of the Year:

  • Brothers Osborne
  • Dan + Shay
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • LoCash
  • Tim McGraw & Faith Hill

This category went to Brothers Osborne last year after four years of wins for FGL. LoCash have scored hit after hit with their label but feel like the least likely to win here. Dan+Shay are consistent and FGL have had a huge year with massive crossover success and a big tour. That being said, I think this is between Tim & Faith and Brothers Osborne.  Tim and Faith have won (many times) individually in the past and the Academy would likely like to reward them again for making a strong album and a popular tour. That being said, I can easily see Brothers Osborne winning but my gut is going to go with Tim & Faith.

Will win: Tim McGraw & Faith Hill

Vocal Group of the Year:

  • Lady Antebellum
  • LANCO
  • Little Big Town
  • Midland
  • Old Dominion

Little Big Town has won this award four out of the past five years and could win again here. LANCO and Midland feel too new to win and Lady Antebellum, who won this category in 2009, 2010, & 2011, released an album which hasn’t been the big record they were hoping for. Of the bands here, Old Dominion has had the best year and I suspect that if anyone is to derail Little Big Town from this award, it’ll be Old Dominion.

Will Win: Old Dominion

New Male:

  • Kane Brown
  • Luke Combs
  • Devin Dawson
  • Russell Dickerson
  • Brett Young

This award was awarded to Brett Young already.

New Female:

  • Lauren Alaina
  • Danielle Bradbery
  • Carly Pearce
  • RaeLynn

This award was presented to Lauren Alaina already.

New Vocal Duo/Group:

  • High Valley
  • LANCO
  • LoCash
  • Midland
  • Runaway June

This one went to Midland already.

Album of the Year:

  • Breaker - Little Big Town
    • Producer: Jay Joyce
    • Record Label: Capitol Records Nashville
  • California Sunrise -  Jon Pardi
    • Producers: Bart Butler, Jon Pardi
    • Record Label: Capitol Records Nashville
  • From A Room: Vol. 1 - Chris Stapleton
    • Producers: Chris Stapleton, Dave Cobb
    • Record Label: Mercury Records Nashville
  • Happy Endings - Old Dominion
    • Producer: Shane McAnally
    • Record Label: RCA Nashville
  • Life Changes - Thomas Rhett
    • Producers: Jesse Frasure, Thomas Rhett, Dann Huff, Julian Bunetta, Joe London
    • Record Label: The Valory Music Co.

Plenty of good albums here. And with critical and ACM darlings dotted through here, It’ll be interesting to see what album the ACM picks. My guess is that this is Little Big Town or Chris Stapleton’s award to lose but there’s really a good chance that the Academy will pick any of these records. So while I could get into the merits of each recording, I’ll just go with my gut intuition here.

Will win: Chris Stapleton - “From A Room, Volume 1”

Single Record of the Year:

  • "Better Man" - Little Big Town
    • Producer: Jay Joyce
    • Record Label: Capitol Records Nashville
  • "Body Like A Back Road" - Sam Hunt
    • Producer: Zach Crowell
    • Record Label: MCA Nashville
  • "Broken Halos" - Chris Stapleton
    • Producers: Chris Stapleton, Dave Cobb
  • "Drinkin' Problem" - Midland
    • Producers: Dann Huff, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
    • Record Label: Big Machine Records
  • "I'll Name The Dogs" - Blake Shelton
    • Producer: Scott Hendricks
    • Record Label: Warner Bros. Records

It’s odd to see “Better Man” not listed amongst the top “Song of the Year” nominees  It was a huge, well-written hit hit (perhaps the biggest of Little Big Town’s considerable career) but that’s also a red flag that normally would draw attention to itself as not loved enough. That’s not the case with last year when FGL’s “H.O.L.Y.” won this single record of the year (best hit song). So with that in mind, I’d say it still has a shot but really, “Body Like A Back Road” is the only “Single Record of the Year” not in the category for “Song of the Year” (a songwriter’s award). So, With that in mind, I HAVE to go with Body Like A Back Road as the choice here.

Will win: “Body Like A Back Road”

Song of the Year:

  • "Body Like A Back Road" - Sam Hunt
    • Songwriters: Sam Hunt, Zach Crowell, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
  • "Female" - Keith Urban
    • Songwriters: Nicolle Galyon, Shane McAnally, Ross Copperman
  • "Tin Man" - Miranda Lambert
    • Songwriters: Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram, Jon Randall
  • "Whiskey And You" - Chris Stapleton
    • Songwriters: Chris Stapleton, Lee Thomas Miller

This is an odd category this year with only four songs. It’s been much-discussed through message boards and board rooms on  music row so we’ll leave that discussion alone and instead look at what are here. What we have are two songs universally praised for their songwriting (“Tin Man” and “Whiskey And You”), one gigantic hit “Body Like A Back Road”) and a song of the “Me Too” movement (“Female”).  “Whiskey And You” is from an older album and the surprise nominee here but it is a real contender but since the ACM loves Miranda, it’s hard to deny her this award for “Tin Man.”

Will win: “Tin Man”

Music Video of the Year:

  • "Black," Dierks Bentley
  • "It Ain't My Fault," Brothers Osborne
  • "Legends," Kelsea Ballerini
  • "Marry Me," Thomas Rhett
  • "We Should Be Friends," Miranda Lambert

I rarely watch videos so I can’t tell you which one deserves to win here. So, instead, I’ll choose “Marry Me” to give Thomas Rhett something.

Will win: Thomas Rhett’s  “Marry Me”

Songwriter of the Year:

  • Rhett Akins
  • Ashley Gorley
  • Hillary Lindsey
  • Shane McAnally
  • Josh Osborne

All great writers with many hits year after year but the academy has already awarded Rhett Akins this award.

Vocal Event of the Year:

  • "Craving You," Thomas Rhett f/Maren Morris
  • "Dear Hate," Maren Morris f/Vince Gill
  • "(Funny) How Time Slips Away," Glen Campbell and Willie Nelson
  • "The Fighter," Keith Urban f/Carrie Underwood
  • "What Ifs," Kane Brown f/Lauren Alaina

“Dear Hate” was released AFTER the Las Vegas tragedy and I can easily see it winning this award. It’s a fantastic song and a message we all need to hear. But I can also see “Craving You” and “What Ifs” winning. I also LOVED “The Fighter” and that’d probably be my personal choice. That being said, I suspect the ACM will have to go with “Dear Hate” just because.

Will win: “Dear Hate” - Maren Morris/Vince Gill

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