CMA Nominations 2013 – Press Day: Recap, Reaction & Photos

CMA_KeyArt copy

The Country Music Association unveiled the nominees for this year's 47th Annual CMA Awards, set for Nov. 6 live from Nashville's Bridgestone arena, on Tuesday (Sept. 10). Kacey Musgraves leads the pack with a whopping eight nominations (including producer credits for her stirring "Merry Go 'Round" and "Same Trailer Different Park" album). Taylor Swift quickly follows with an impressive seven nods, including for Album of the Year (a producer and artist credit for the multi-platinum "Red") and Single of the Year (for "Highway Don't Care" with Tim McGraw and Keith Urban).

Nashville Gab had a chance to attend Tuesday's live press event from Best Buy Theatre in New York City. The prestigious nominations were announced by smash hit-makers Florida Georgia Line and rocker Sheryl Crow. Also, Steve Wariner was on hand from the CMA offices in Music City to reveal the Broadcast finalist nominees.

Take a look at photos, a recap of the event and brief reactions to the nominations.


The live event kicked off promptly at 9 am for media load-in. As various print, broadcast and radio outlets gathered in the glossy theatre, the air was abuzz for the announcements. While many of the awards show's biggest categoriers were revealed live on "Good Morning America," there was still plenty of anticipation to go around. As I sat on a very comfy chair scanning Twitter posts, the press murmured quietly throughout the room. I heard the names Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean tossed around like a tennis match.

Once the event officially started at 9:45, the room was so quiet you could literally hear a pin drop. When Florida Georgia Line and Sheryl Crow hit the stage, sweeping screams and cheers filled the space. FGL, in particular, elicited joyous shouts throughout the nearly one hour extravaganza. Once the nominations got rolling, Sheryl and Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard shared some comical moments on stage — the crowd ate up every minute of it.

Afterwards, there was very little talk of the nominations as the focus shifted to one-on-one and group interviews with Sheryl and the FGL boys. As expected, print-only reporters were saved til last. Unfortunately, Sheryl left 30 minutes early due to an "emergency," whatever that means is anyone's guess. NG had the chance to chat rather briefly with FGL, but more on that later.

In case you missed it, here is this year's list of nominees (with my reactions):

Entertainer of the Year:

  • Jason Aldean
  • Luke Bryan
  • Blake Shelton
  • George Strait
  • Taylor Swift

OK, let's just image Carrie Underwood's massive year didn't happen at all. As I said before, at the end of the day, awards don't mean anything except feed artists' egos. It's all about impact. Carrie has already proven that her cultural reach is too big for country music alone, thus why her double platinum single "Blown Away" won two Grammys this year. George Strait? I get it. This is his last year touring, and I've admired him and his body of work for years now, but stealing a slot of Carrie is ludicrous. I'm rooting for Taylor this year, and she has a tough road ahead. Luke is coming off his ACM win for Entertainer and his gold debut of "Crash My Party" and Blake is the reigning victor. It'll come down to those three.

Female Vocalist of the Year:

  • Kelly Clarkson
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood

I had hopes going into this award season, but now I'm not so sure. Miranda will most likely win, earning her fourth consecutive title and tying Martina McBride and Reba McEntire with total number of crowns. Carrie is the only other possible winner, and I'm not so sure the voters care.

Male Vocalist of the Year:

  • Jason Aldean 
  • Luke Bryan
  • Eric Church
  • Blake Shelton
  • Keith Urban

I'm rather shocked/surprised that Hunter Hayes or Tim McGraw didn't sneak in. Granted, I didn't predict them in my initial list, but I always thought it was going to be a high possibility. Keith? His album and success with "Little Bit of Everything" came after the elgibility period. Things that make you go hmm. This is a battle between Luke and Blake, honestly.

Vocal Group of the Year:

  • Eli Young Band
  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town
  • The Band Perry
  • Zac Brown Band

It all comes down to Little Big Town (critical acclaim) and The Band Perry (sales). While both albums have done remarkably well, the sibling trio has the edge heading into the fall. I say they'll take it.

Vocal Duo of the Year:

  • Big and Rich
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Love and Theft
  • Sugarland
  • Civil Wars
  • Thompson Square

Is this category being serious right now? No one can compete with FGL right now. They're the hottest thing happening in country music these days. Unstoppable.

New Artist of the Year:

  • Lee Brice
  • Brett Eldredge
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Kip Moore
  • Kacey Musgraves

Again, this will go to FGL. While Kacey has critical acclaim in her corner, I'm not so sure that'll be enough to topple the massive "Cruise" fellas. It would be a pleasant (and much needed) surprise if it happened.

Album of the Year:

  • Based on a True Sory – Blake Shelton
  • Blown away – Carrie Underwood 
  • Red – Taylor Swift 
  • Same Trailer Different Park – Kacey Musgraves
  • Tornado – Little Big Town 

Can I say how surprised I am Carrie's album was even nominated? It was officially released on May 1, 2012 — a good two months before the eligibility period began. I dig it, but it has stiff competition with "Tornado" and "Same Trailer Different Park," both stellar showings from critics darlings. "Blown Away" has four #1 singles, sales and a worldwide headling tour to back it up. It could very well win, too. At this point, Taylor's "Red," while a sensational pop album, is the weakest country link.

Song of the Year (Awarded to songwriters):

  • I Drive Your Truck –  Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, Jimmy Yeary (Lee Brice)
  • Mama's Broken Heart – Brandy Clark, Shane McNally, Kacey Musgraves (Miranda Lambert)
  • Merry Go 'Round – Shane McNally, Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark (Kacey Musgraves)
  • Pontoon – Barry Dean, Natalie Hemby, Luuke Laird (Little Big Town)     
  • Wagon Wheel – Bob Dylan and Ketch Secor (Darius Rucker)

A very nice collection of some of this year's best songs. I'm pulling for "I Drive Your Truck," as it possesses great storytelling and taps into the tearducts. "Merry Go 'Round" could become a surprise win, though.

Single of the Year:

  • Cruise – Florida Georgia Line 
  • Highway Don't Care – Tim McGraw with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban
  • Mama's Broken Heart – Miranda Lambert 
  • Merry Go 'Round – Kacey Musgraves
  • Wagon Wheel – Darius Rucker

FGL has this sewn up. "Wagon Wheel" is the only true opponent in this category. Snubs? Carrie's "Blown Away," Hunter Hayes' "Wanted" and The Band Perry's "Better Dig Two." Actually, with "Highway Don't Care" being a triple threat, I wouldn't put it past the voters to award Keith, Tim and Taylor, either.

Musical Event of the Year:

  • Boys 'Round Here – Blake Shelton featuring the Pistol Annies
  • Cruise – Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly
  • Don't Rush – Kelly Clarkson featuring Vine Gill
  • Highway Don't Care - Tim McGraw featuring Taylor Swift and Keith Urban
  • The Only Way I Know – Jason Aldean with Luke Bryan and Eric Church

"Cruise" could very well sweep this category, too. But my money is on "The Only Way I Know." Three dynamite performers on one song equals the industry foaming at the mouth. Period.

Music Video of the Year:

  • Blown Away – Carrie Underwood, directed by Randee St. Nicholas
  • Boys 'Round Here – Blake Shelton, directed by Trey Fanjoy
  • Downtown – Lady Antebellum, directed by Peter Zavadil
  • Highway Don't Care – Tim McGraw, directed by Shane Drake
  • Mama's Broken Heart – Miranda Lambert, directed by Trey Fanjoy 

Interesting group. We get the dynamics of "Blown Away" and "Mama's Broken Heart" up against the cliched (yet catchy as all get out) "Boys Round Here." This could go so many ways. As far as artistry/pushing the envelope, I give the edge to Carrie…and this might be the only award she wins come the fall.

Let's just stop for a second and note the big omissions for this year's list. Where's Hunter? Brad Paisley? More nods for The Band Perry? Confused.





Awards13-nominees-fl-133367_4551 (1)

Awards13-nominees-fl-133367_4561 (1)
Awards13-nominees-fl-133367_4613 (1)
Awards13-nominees-fl-133367_4632 (1)

Photos courtesy of the Country Music Association

What do you think of this post? What are your winner predictions? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter. Also, feel free to email me to keep the conversation going.


Man Crush Monday

Michigan native Frankie Ballard hit the country music scene full force back in 2010/2011 with his two top 30 singles titled "Tell Me You Get

Read More »