Jon Kopaloff, FilmMagic
Entertainer of the Year
The most coveted award of the evening could go to any of the five nominees. Reigning Entertainer winner Taylor Swift's Speak Now World tour wrapped up in March to sold-out crowds. Blake Shelton is performing triple-duty as a country music superstar, tour headliner and a judge on the hit TV show, "The Voice." But it's hard to overlook Jason Aldean's sold-out My Kinda Party tour, best-selling album and back-to-back No. 1 hits. Four-time Entertainer of the Year winner Kenny Chesney had the top tour in all genres this summer, which just might give him five-time bragging rights. But show host Brad Paisley is a CMA voters' favorite and had his own spectacular tour. Tough category!
|Jason Aldean||326 (30.7%)|
|Kenny Chesney||97 (9.1%)|
|Brad Paisley||139 (13.1%)|
|Blake Shelton||287 (27.0%)|
|Taylor Swift||214 (20.1%)|
Male Vocalist of the Year
Five lauded male singers converge in this category. Keith Urban has been nominated for CMA Male Vocalist of the Year every year since 2004, but hasn't won it since 2006, even though he's arguably one of the most-talented vocalists. Blake Shelton has won the award the last two years and could easily take it home again this year given his continued success. But look at the charts and you'll see that Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Eric Church have absolutely dominated country radio this year.
|Jason Aldean||141 (23.6%)|
|Luke Bryan||130 (21.8%)|
|Eric Church||90 (15.1%)|
|Blake Shelton||185 (31.0%)|
|Keith Urban||51 (8.5%)|
Female Vocalist of the Year
We're predicting this award will go to a blonde. We just don't know which blonde! Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift have all had phenomenal years, as has brunette beauty Martina McBride, but we're guessing the former three are the toughest contenders. Sometimes-blond Kelly Clarkson is really the only underdog here, but with her new duet with Vince Gill hitting the airwaves this month, we won't likely be saying the same next year.
|Kelly Clarkson||15 (2.4%)|
|Miranda Lambert||269 (43.3%)|
|Martina McBride||15 (2.4%)|
|Taylor Swift||79 (12.7%)|
|Carrie Underwood||243 (39.1%)|
Album of the Year
It's rare that five albums with both outstanding critical and commercial acclaim are all nominated in this category, making it an unbelievably tight race. Each album nominated for Album of the Year went all the way to No. 1, with Tailgates & Tanlines, Chief, and Own the Night all earning platinum-status as well, making this an impossibly tight race.
|Luke Bryan, Tailgates and Tanlines||121 (20.4%)|
|Eric Church, Chief||163 (27.5%)|
|Dierks Bentley, Home||30 (5.1%)|
|Miranda Lambert, Four the Record||153 (25.8%)|
|Lady Antebellum, Own the Night||126 (21.2%)|
New Artist of the Year
All of the nominees in this category have actually been around for several years except for Hunter Hayes, but he did earn the opening slot on Carrie's Blown Away tour, not to mention played every instrument on his killer debut album. Hunter and his competitors -- Brantley Gilbert, Love & Theft, Thompson Square and Lee Brice -- have all had a turn living in the country singles chart's penthouse this year. But this category usually goes to someone you're surprised is even nominated, given they've been around for awhile. So perhaps it'll go to the guy who's not so "hard to love."
|Lee Brice||103 (18.7%)|
|Brantley Gilbert||116 (21.0%)|
|Hunter Hayes||227 (41.1%)|
|Love & Theft||27 (4.9%)|
|Thompson Square||79 (14.3%)|