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CMA’s set to rattle Nashville
ABC presents the 42nd Country Music Association Awards (CMA’s) tonight, which is considered one of the biggest nights for country music. The CMA’s will be hosted by country superstars Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood and will air live from the Sommet Center in Nashville, Tenn.
Paisley has won nine awards since 2000 and Underwood has triumphed four times within the last two years. This year, Paisley is nominated for four awards, including Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year. Underwood is up for two awards, one of which is Female Vocalist of the Year, which she has won the last two years.
“I am so excited to host a show I grew up watching, and am so thrilled to spend this night with the fans and Brad,” Underwood said when it was announced she would perform hosting duties alongside Paisley.
In addition to hosting, Paisley and Underwood will perform on the awards telecast. Other country superstars scheduled to perform include Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, George Strait, Sugarland, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban.
The most prestigious award of the night is the hotly contested race of Entertainer of the Year. This year’s nominees include Chesney, George Strait, Sugarland, Urban and Paisley. In the last five years past, Chesney has won this category three times. Strait has won twice; however, his last wins came in 1989 and 1990. Strait has remained a force at the CMA’s, garnering 75 nominations over the last 25 years. Urban last won this award in 2005, but has lost to Chesney the last two years. A welcomed addition to the category is Sugarland, a duo consisting of Jennifer Nettles, who provides the lead vocals and Kristian Bush, who sings backup and plays the mandolin as well as the guitar. The two won Vocal Duo of the Year last year over Brooks & Dunn, who had a stronghold over the category, winning 14 times over a 16 year span.
Interestingly, Nettles of Sugarland is the only female representation found in Entertainer of the Year, which rarely recognizes females in the category. In the last decade, the only females that prevailed were Shania Twain (1999) and the Dixie Chicks (2000).
Swift, who won the Horizon Award last year, (rewarded to the most promising up-and-comer), is nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year against Alison Krauss, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride and Underwood. Swift has exploded in the last year and her music has found its way to pop radio (namely “Teardrops on My Guitar,” which became a hit on top 40 radio). While this certainly increases her visibility, the Nashville contingent does not necessarily approve of artists that step away from their roots. Miranda Lambert should prevail for her candid and musically dynamic efforts that have been undervalued since her debut in 2005.
Male Vocalist of the Year mirrors Entertainer of the Year quite closely, though Jackson is the fifth nominee here. However, neither necessarily correlates with one another when voters choose a winner. Last year, Chesney won Entertainer, while Paisley won Male. The same was true in 2006, except Urban won Male Vocalist while Chesney took Entertainer.
While some categories are difficult to predict, Nashville is known for its welcoming community and ability to put on a show full of swagger and twang. This ceremony should be no different with a host of impressive performers set to shake country music by storm.
The CMA’s will air tonight on ABC at 8 p.m.