The Shotgun Seat’s ACM Picks and Predictions

With the Academy of Country Music awards just a couple of days away, we here at The Shotgun Seat have made our picks and predictions for the show! Feel free to contribute your own thoughts or complain about the nomination list in the comments section!

Entertainer of the Year

Should win:

Miranda Lambert – Annie Dineen, Laura Spinelli
Garth Brooks – Markus Meyer
Jason Aldean
Florida Georgia Line
Luke Bryan

Will win:

Miranda Lambert – Markus Meyer, Annie Dineen, Laura Spinelli
Garth Brooks
Jason Aldean
Florida Georgia Line
Luke Bryan

Markus: Garth should win this. He’s setting touring records, and released a pretty solid, though not spectacular record. Radio hasn’t warmed up to his comeback yet, but he has been the undisputed entertainer of the year in my mind. Miranda will probably win this, and I guess she’s earned it, but tactics like the Beyonce shout-out just rub me the wrong way. As a side note, it’s shocking to see how many people are surprised by Florida Georgia Line’s inclusion here. They were one of the biggest acts all year, and definitely deserve a spot in this category.

Annie: FGL’s inclusion is questioned by anyone? Very few acts can play stadiums. FGL are among those few.

Male Vocalist of the Year

Should win:

Jason Aldean
Dierks Bentley – MM, AD
Blake Shelton
Luke Bryan
Eric Church – LS
Brad Paisley

Will win:

Jason Aldean
Dierks Bentley
Blake Shelton – AD, LS
Luke Bryan – MM
Eric Church
Brad Paisley

Markus: ACM’s haven’t been as Blake-heavy as the CMA’s have, as proven by Jason Aldean’s victories the last two years, so I don’t think he’ll win here. If Luke doesn’t take home the entertainer trophy, he’s a virtual lock here, as I highly doubt he goes home empty handed. Jason, Dierks and Eric are solid dark horses, but Brad? I mean, he’s had a good year for sure, but better than the likes of Tim McGraw or Kenny Chesney? Not sure I agree with that. Doesn’t really matter though, as he has pretty well zero chance here.

Annie: Would love Dierks or Church to walk away with this, as I think both have stuck to their guns and produced incredibly strong albums, but Blake’s combination of bro-ey tunes and melody-strong songs will probably take it. I’m the furthest thing from a Blake Shelton fan, so I’ll leave it at that.

Female Vocalist of the Year

Should win:

Miranda Lambert – LS
Carrie Underwood
Brandy Clark – MM, AD
Martina McBride
Kacey Musgraves

Will win:

Miranda Lambert – MM, AD, LS
Carrie Underwood
Brandy Clark
Martina McBride
Kacey Musgraves

Markus: These five nominees had a combined five charted singles. Blake Shelton alone had four charted singles. This is depressing.

Laura: Here’s to hoping we see some new names in this category come CMA awards season *cough*Mickey Guyton*cough

Vocal Duo of the Year

Should win:

Florida Georgia Line – MM, LS
Brothers Osborne – AD
Maddie & Tae
The Swon Brothers
Dan + Shay

Will win:

Florida Georgia Line – MM, AD, LS
Brothers Osborne
Maddie & Tae
The Swon Brothers
Dan + Shay

Markus: It’s adorable that some people think Maddie & Tae have any sort of shot here.

Laura: Love ’em or hate ’em Florida Georgia Line has had the biggest year of all of these nominees.

Vocal Group of the Year

Should win:

Zac Brown Band – MM, AD
Little Big Town – LS
The Band Perry
Lady Antebellum
Rascal Flatts

Will win:

Zac Brown Band
Little Big Town – MM, AD, LS
The Band Perry
Lady Antebellum
Rascal Flatts

Markus: None of these groups really did anything spectacular this year, in terms of success or quality. Lady A had a mega-hit in “Bartender”, but backed it up with a bomb in “Freestyle”, that only scraped the top 20 and sold like, three copies. Not to mention the fact that their album hasn’t sold very well at all, and you have to wonder whether they can be considered a lock for this category going forward. Zac Brown Band had a solid hit in “Sweet Annie” and a top 20 in “All Alright”, but nothing else. The Band Perry had “Chainsaw”, that barely scraped the top 10 and didn’t sell very well, while Rascal Flatts didn’t do much outside of a top five in “Rewind”. Little Big Town had a solid top five hit in “Day Drinking”, but it wasn’t a huge hit, and their album sales were a bit underwhelming, but that’s more than most can say here, so they should have this one in the bag.

Annie: LBT’s had a good year, and while I’m forever partial to ZBB for their harmonies and outside-of-the-box choices, I think LBT are beyond deserving. The other three didn’t have particularly exciting offerings of late, as Markus said.

 

Single of the Year

Should Win:

“Dirt” (Florida Georgia Line) – MM
“American Kids” (Kenny Chesney) – LS
“Drunk on a Plane” (Dierks Bentley)
“I Don’t Dance” (Lee Brice) – AD
“Automatic” (Miranda Lambert)

Will win:

“Dirt” (Florida Georgia Line)
“American Kids” (Kenny Chesney)
“Drunk on a Plane” (Dierks Bentley)
“I Don’t Dance” (Lee Brice)
“Automatic” (Miranda Lambert) – MM, AD, LS

Markus: “Automatic” is by far the weakest of what is a pretty solid group, but check out who sings it. This likely won’t be close, despite the fact that the other four are FAR superior records (in my opinion), and that it was the only one to not go #1 and get a platinum certification.

Laura: Nostalgia for the win…”Automatic” will take the prize.

Song of the Year

Should win:

“Follow Your Arrow” (Kacey Musgraves/Shane McAnally/Brandy Clark) – MM, AD
“American Kids” (Rodney Clawson/Luke Laird/Shane McAnally)
“Automatic” (Miranda Lambert/Nicolle Galyon/Natalie Hemby)
“Drink a Beer” (Chris Stapleton/Jim Beavers)
“I Hold On” (Dierks Bentley/Brett James)
“Give Me Back My Hometown” (Eric Church/Luke Laird) – LS

Will win:

“Follow Your Arrow” (Kacey Musgraves/Shane McAnally/Brandy Clark) – LS
“American Kids” (Rodney Clawson/Luke Laird/Shane McAnally)
“Automatic” (Miranda Lambert/Nicolle Galyon/Natalie Hemby) – MM
“Drink a Beer” (Chris Stapleton/Jim Beavers)
“I Hold On” (Dierks Bentley/Brett James) – AD
“Give Me Back My Hometown” (Eric Church/Luke Laird)

Markus: Not sure I understand what “American Kids” is doing here, but then again, it was also nominated at the Grammys, so maybe that’s just me. Overall, there are four outstanding songs in this group, and they’ll all lose out to the single most overrated lyrical composition of the year.

Annie: This one’s tough. I’d love a lot of these to get recognition – Kacey obviously deserves it for multiple reasons, and I thought Dierks and Church’s offerings were particularly strong. I thought the imagery leading to the anthemic chorus was nice with “I Hold On,” and could see it getting recognized as such.

 

Album of the Year

Should win:

Old Boots, New Dirt (Jason Aldean)
The Outsiders (Eric Church) – AD
Pain Killer (Little Big Town) – LS
Platinum (Miranda Lambert)
Riser (Dierks Bentley) – MM

Will win:

Old Boots, New Dirt (Jason Aldean)
The Outsiders (Eric Church)
Pain Killer (Little Big Town)
Platinum (Miranda Lambert) – MM, AD, LS
Riser (Dierks Bentley)

Markus: Pain Killer was immensely underwhelming to me, but otherwise, a very good group of albums. Riser was the best album in years, The Outsiders is another outstanding album from Church, Old Boots, New Dirt is very solid, while Platinum is a very solid album as well. I think this will come down to Eric and Miranda, so I’ll bet on the latter.

New Artist of the Year

Should win:

Sam Hunt – AD, LS
Thomas Rhett – MM
Cole Swindell

Will win:

Sam Hunt – MM, AD, LS
Thomas Rhett
Cole Swindell

Markus: It’s kind of a joke that Sam Hunt is included here. I like the guy as an overall artist, but he has absolutely ZERO ties to the country genre even by today’s standards, and has no business being nominated here. His label has done a nice job choosing his singles (first three singles were three of the better tracks off a very weak album), but really, Cole Swindell is textbook-generic, and doesn’t do a whole lot for me. Rhett gets my vote because his performances are insanely infectious, no matter how stupid his lyrics are. Hunt wins this going away though. He’ll be an A-list powerhouse in no less than a year.

Annie: Not to be a contrarian, but I think Hunt has earned his spot on this list. Montevallo skyrocketed Hunt as far as debuts, and while Swindell and Rhett have done their part to stand out – Rhett’s last two singles being particularly impressive – none have created quite the buzz that Hunt has, and his fan base should show.

Laura: Sam Hunt has done a tremendous job of mobilizing his fans, too, which is one reason he has rocketed so speedily this year. They’ll definitely pull through for him here.

Vocal Event of the Year

Should win:

“Lonely Tonight” (Blake Shelton featuring Ashley Monroe) – LS
“Meanwhile Back At Mama’s” (Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill) – MM, AD
“Somethin’ Bad” (Miranda Lambert with Carrie Underwood)
“The South” (The Cadillac Three featuring Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley, and Mike Eli) “This Is How We Roll” (Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan)

Will win:

“Lonely Tonight” (Blake Shelton featuring Ashley Monroe) – AD
“Meanwhile Back At Mama’s” (Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill)
“Somethin’ Bad” (Miranda Lambert with Carrie Underwood)
“The South” (The Cadillac Three featuring Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley, and Mike Eli)
“This Is How We Roll” (Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan) – MM, LS

Markus: Tim has a decent shot at this, but the power of the FGL/Luke combo will be too much for the voters to go against.

 

Video

Should win:

“American Kids” (Kenny Chesney | Director – Shaun Silva)
“Cop Car” (Keith Urban | Director – John Urbano)
“Drunk On A Plane” (Dierks Bentley | Director – Wes Edwards)
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (Glen Campbell | Director – James Keach) – MM
“Somethin’ Bad” (Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood | Director – Trey Fanjoy) – AD, LS

Will win:

“American Kids” (Kenny Chesney | Director – Shaun Silva)
“Cop Car” (Keith Urban | Director – John Urbano)
“Drunk On A Plane” (Dierks Bentley | Director – Wes Edwards)
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (Glen Campbell | Director – James Keach) – MM
“Somethin’ Bad” (Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood | Director – Trey Fanjoy) – AD, LS

Markus: Meh. If Glen Campbell wasn’t nominated here, I wouldn’t give two craps about this category. Do the right thing voters.

Laura: The “Somethin’ Bad” girl power is hard to argue with here. Clever video and took the song in a completely different direction.