Jon Kopaloff, FilmMagic
Our picks for the 2011 CMA Awards:
Entertainer of the Year
With the year he's had ('The Voice,' marriage to Miranda Lambert, hits galore), we could see this going to Blake Shelton. But reigning champ Brad Paisley remains country music's gold standard. His H20 II Wetter and Wilder world tour continued to whet the appetites of fans around the globe. Brad should easily repeat his well-deserved 2010 win.
New Artist of the Year
Any of the three strong male acts in the category (Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Chris Young) could take the award but they could just as easily cancel each other out, too. With three of country music's freshest new faces and one of the biggest hits of the year with 'If I Die Young,' the Band Perry are just getting started. That's what this award is all about and that's why their only real battle of the night will be over who gets the hairspray first.
Jon Kopaloff, FilmMagic
She took home a passel of awards last year on the strength of her 'Revolution' album. This year a headlining tour, the critical success of the Pistol Annies side project, a high-profile wedding and anticipation for her 'Four the Record' album will all help pave the way to another win for Miranda Lambert.
Male Vocalist of the Year
It wouldn't be a shock to see first-time nominee Jason Aldean take this one, but it's tough to argue with Blake Shelton's success in the past year, as he permeated TV, print, radio and social media. He sold more than a few albums and concert tickets, too. The honeymoon is far from over but let's hope Blake and the Mrs. don't squabble over shelf space.
Album of the Year
(Award goes to the artist and producer)
Four words: 'This Is Country Music.' Without a hint of hyperbole or (more importantly) an inflated sense of himself or his place in country music, Brad Paisley (and producer Frank Rogers) crafted yet another brilliant collection of tunes that represent our genre in the best possible light.
Bryan Bedder, Getty Images
Their strongest competition in this category this year comes from the Zac Brown Band, who kept fans entertained -- and well-fed -- at their shows this year, so that's got to count for something. Still, unless a bit of overexposure leading up to the release of 'Own the Night' works against them, expect a Lady Antebellum three-peat!
Vocal Duo of the Year
The Incredible Machine rolled throughout the year and in the face of one tragic night last August, Sugarland have held their heads high, waving a banner of love and healing. Not all of their musical choices have suited every taste but Kristian and Jennifer continue to stand tall, towering above the competition.
Single of the Year
(Award goes to the artist and the producer)
While the Band Perry are nearly a lock to take this one, a win in the Single and Song categories hasn't happened since 2006. Don't count out 'Don't You Wanna Stay,' the blockbuster duet by Jason Aldean with Kelly Clarkson and produced by Michael Knox. Debuted at last year's awards show, it went on to become the most downloaded country collaboration of all time.
Michael Loccisano, WireImage
(Award goes to the songwriters)
Songwriter Kimberly Perry and her brothers Neil and Reid touched millions with 'If I Die Young.' It's the kind of soul-searing tune this award was made to honor. Single and Song double winners of the past decade include Brooks & Dunn's 'Believe' and Tim McGraw's 'Live Like You Were Dying.' This one fits right in.
Musical Event of the Year
With five nominations, Jason Aldean's first year in the big show was an impressive one. But with tough competition in every category, he could be shut out. If he doesn't leave empty-handed, look for Jason's best chance for victory to come with 'Don't You Wanna Stay,' his duet with Kelly Clarkson.
Music Video of the Year
(Award goes to the artist and the director)
Taylor Swift continues to make buzzworthy videos and the clip for 'Mean,' directed by Declan Whitebloom, is no exception. Laced with style, humor and a whole lot of cute, at its core, this one still manages to deliver a potent message.
Musician of the Year
They mainly stay behind the scenes, but it's a shame to keep any of these guys and their musical talent relegated to the background. Always one of the toughest calls when the tunes they play on would sound a little more naked without them, but as a three-time winner in the category, Dobro wizard Jerry Douglas is likely to regain the award he last claimed in 2007.
Those are our predictions, how about yours? Let us know on our Twitter or Facebook page, or in the 'Add a Comment' section below. Then tune in to see how we did when the 45th Annual CMA Awards, hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, air live, Nov. 9 at 8:00 PM ET on ABC.