The nomination for the 53rd CMA Awards were announce on Aug. 28, and there were a few questionable omissions—as well as surprising inclusions—in the nomination process.
Here are 9 snubs and surprises—off of the top of my head sans any deep research—from the 53rd annual CMA Awards nominations, which recognized artists’ works from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.
Entertainer of the Year
- Garth Brooks
- Eric Church
- Chris Stapleton
- Carrie Underwood
- Keith Urban
Snub – Maren Morris: You don’t lead all artists with six nominations—in six different categories—without deserving at least a mention for Entertainer of the Year.
Female Vocalist of the Year
- Kelsea Ballerini
- Miranda Lambert
- Maren Morris
- Kacey Musgraves
- Carrie Underwood
Male Vocalist of the Year
- Dierks Bentley
- Luke Combs
- Thomas Rhett
- Chris Stapleton
- Keith Urban
Looks right, but you could make a case for Blake Shelton or Chris Young.
Vocal Duo of the Year
- Brooks & Dunn
- Brothers Osborne
- Dan + Shay
- Florida Georgia Line
- Maddie & Tae
Surprise – Brooks & Dunn: Kudos to voters for recognizing Brooks & Dunn for their accomplishments over the past year. It’s a well-deserved nomination. Iconic artists are often excluded from receiving nominations for no apparent reason.
New Artist of the Year
- Cody Johnson
- Ashley McBryde
- Carly Pearce
- Morgan Wallen
Surprise – Cody Johnson: The Texan, who released his seventh album in July, ain’t new . . . but I guess he did gain “greater recognition” in the time frame. But come on, I’ve got a three-inch pile of his CDs on my desk.
Snub – Jimmie Allen: Jimmie joined Darius Rucker as the only African-American country artists to hit No. 1 with their debut singles. Jimmie’s “Best Shot” was No. 1 for two weeks in November/December 2018.
Single of the Year (Awarded to Singer, Producer and Engineer)
- “Burning Man” – Dierks Bentley Feat. Brothers Osborne – Producers: Ross Copperman, Jon Randall, Arturo Buenahora, Jr. – Mix Engineer: F. Reid Shippen
- “GIRL” – Maren Morris – Producer: Greg Kurstin – Mix Engineer: Greg Kurstin
- “God’s Country” – Blake Shelton – Producer: Scott Hendricks – Mix Engineer: Justin Niebank
- “Millionaire” – Chris Stapleton – Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton – Mix Engineer: Vance Powell
- “Speechless” – Dan + Shay – Producers: Dan Smyers, Scott Hendricks – Mix Engineer: Jeff Juliano
Snub – “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus: Love it or hate it, you can’t deny it’s the biggest song of 2019.
Album of the Year (Awarded to Artist & Producer)
- Center Point Road – Thomas Rhett – Producers: Dann Huff, Jesse Frasure, Thomas Rhett, Julian Bunetta, The Stereotypes, Cleve Wilson
- Cry Pretty – Carrie Underwood – Producers: David Garcia, Jim Jonsin, Carrie Underwo
- Dan + Shay – Dan + Shay – Producers: Dan Smyers, Scott Hendricks
- Desperate Man – Eric Church – Producers: Jay Joyce, Arturo Buenahora,
- Girl – Maren Morris – Producers: busbee, Maren Morris, Greg Kurstin
Snub – Experiment, Kane Brown: The No. 1 album also spawned two No. 1 singles, “Loose It” and “Good as You.” Kane gets no love from CMA voters.
Vocal Group of the Year
- Little Big Town
- Lady Antebellum
- Old Dominion
- Zac Brown Band
Song of the Year (Awarded to Songwriters)
- “Beautiful Crazy” – Luke Combs, Wyatt B. Durrette II, Robert Williford
- “Girl” – Maren Morris, Sarah Aarons, Greg Kurstin
- “God’s Country” – Devin Dawson, Jordan Schmidt, Michael Hardy
- “Rainbow” – Natalie Hemby, Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves
- “Tequila” – Dan Smyers, Nicolle Galyon, Jordan Reynolds
Surprise – “Tequila,” Dan Smyers, Nicolle Galyon, Jordan Reynolds: The tune was nominated in the Single of the Year category in 2018, but earned a Song of the Year nomination this cycle based on its longevity on the charts. It’s deserving . . . it’s just a little surprising.
Musical Event of the Year
- “All My Favorite People” – Maren Morris feat. Brothers Osborne
- “Brand New Man” – Brooks & Dunn feat. Luke Combs
- “Dive Bar” – Garth Brooks feat. Blake Shelton
- “Old Town Road” (remix) – Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus
- “What Happens in a Small Town” – Brantley Gilbert feat. Lindsay Ell
Music Video of the Year (Awarded to Artist & Director)
- “Burning Man” – Dierks Bentley Feat. Brothers Osborne – Director: Wes Edwards
- “GIRL” – Maren Morris – Director: Dave Meyers
- “God’s Country” – Blake Shelton – Director: Sophie Muller
- “Rainbow” – Kacey Musgraves – Director: Hannah Lux Davis
- “Some Of It” – Eric Church – Director: Reid Long
Snub – “I Don’t Remember Me Before You,” Brothers Osborne: Another great video from the Bros. and directors Wes Edwards and Ryan Silver.
Musician of the Year
- Jenee Fleenor, Fiddle
- Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar
- Mac McAnally, Guitar
- Ilya Toshinsky, Banjo/Guitar
- Derek Wells, Guitar
Snub – Dann Huff, Guitar: Off the top of my head, I know Dann lent his guitar chops to Kane Brown’s Experiment, Thomas Rhett’s Center Point Road and Brooks & Dunn’s Reboot.
photo by AFF-USA.com