Steve Granitz, WireImage
The Zac Brown Band's Clay Cook, while grateful for his band's ongoing recognition at all of the country awards shows, is partial to the Grammy voters. He explained backstage at Sunday's show, just after ZBB's win for Country Album of the Year for Uncaged. "This is the pinnacle of our genre and honestly I don't think any of use thought we stood a chance against [Miranda Lambert]," he admitted. "Normally, in all of the country awards shows that we go to, we end up going zero. We were up for 60 awards and I think we won like four or something, because we're not really a part of the politics or the cliques in Nashville. There's a lot of vote trading and all sorts of stuff going on. That's what makes me think higher of the Recording Academy because I feel like people are voting with their real conscience."
Criticism of voting practices among the country shows is nothing new. While it has been long-rumored that music companies -- who receive a large number of votes due to their membership size -- manipulate the results, there has been disapproval of having fan-voted awards as well. In 2008, after being named Entertainer of the Year by the Academy of Country Music, Kenny Chesney voiced his objection to the organization's choice to make the category fan-voted.
"I think it's a complete disrespect of the artist -- what they've lowered us to, to get entertainer of the year," he said in the pressroom. "Because of that, it really diminishes the integrity of the music that we're making and how much work goes into it. That's what really matters. That's what Entertainer of the Year really is. It's not about flying somebody to some shows and giving free songs away -- and giving this and that -- and seeing how hard you can push people's buttons on the Internet. As much as I love the ACMs and what they've done for my life, that's how I really feel about it.. And I can say that because I won tonight."
The ACM Entertainer of the Year title is still fan-voted, as is the Academy's New Artist honors.
What do you think? Are the Grammys more prestigious because talent is awarded over popularity? Are fan-voted awards unfair? Take our poll below.