In less than 24 hours, the 2010 CMA Awards will air on ABC and a brand new Entertainer of the Year will be crowned, joining an elite club of country musicians including Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks, and reigning champ Taylor Swift. Just one of the five nominees — Aussie Keith Urban in 2005 — has captured the high honor in the past, so it’s literally anyone’s award to win… or lose. Here’s a peek at the 2010 Entertainer of the Year CMA Award nominees as listed on the official CMA website and an assessment of each’s chances of walking away from Country Music’s Biggest Night a big winner.
2010 CMA Entertainer of the Year Nominee #1: Brad Paisley. The three-time (and reigning) Male Vocalist of the Year and sometimes-funnyman will return to once again helm this year’s CMAs alongside newlywed Carrie Underwood. So he’ll have plenty of stage-time. But will he take the big cheese? It’s not the likeliest scenario. He’s had a good year, but not a standout year.
2010 CMA Entertainer of the Year Nominee #2: Lady Antebellum. Looking back, it seems like this trio simply rocketed their way to the top of the country music scene, where they currently rest in comfortable fashion. Entering the CMAs, Lady A has not just one but two albums in the top 20 of the Billboard Country Charts in Need You Now and the Christmas offering A Merry Little Christmas. On top of that, they’re the reigning CMA Vocal Group of the Year as well as the owners of the 2009 Single of the Year I Run to You. They’re my odds-on fave to take the prize, even though they haven’t been around all that long.
2010 CMA Entertainer of the Year Nominee #3: Keith Urban. As previously noted, Urban is the only nominee to have previously won the prestigious award. While his current hit Put You in a Song is catchy and cute (like many of his tunes), when I think ‘recent success’, his isn’t the first name to come to mind. Sorry Keith.
2010 CMA Entertainer of the Year Nominee #4: Zac Brown Band. This one’s an interesting nomination. The six-man band has had a great year in country music, no doubt. They can sing a reflective tearjerker like Highway 20 Ride with the same passion, intensity and effectiveness as a chill-out song like Toes. That takes talent. But at the same time, they’ve just not been on the scene long enough to harness the full wattage of their star power. Pending the same level of success in the future, look for them to make another go at EOTY in 2011.
2010 CMA Entertainer of the Year Nominee #5: Miranda Lambert. When it comes to CMA Awards of the past, Lambert has found herself under the powerful thumbs of the likes of Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. But 2010 could be her breakout year if she can ride The House that Built Me and White Liar, two hugely successful songs, to the top of the heap. Although I’m still banking on Lady Antebellum, she could play the spoiler role and surprise everyone with a win.
Tune in to the 2010 CMA Awards to see which of these nominees takes the coveted Entertainer of the Year crown.