Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Tonight's the 38th annual CMA Awards, and hell yeah, I'm excited. This is the biggest night of the year in country music; there may be other awards in the genre, but these are the most serious - it's the Country Music Association which awards these, who's in charge of the Hall of Fame (Kris Kristofferson gets inducted tonight). Plus, no awards show has more performances, pound-for-pound; there are about 30 performers slated for tonight. So, who's gonna win? [Here's a list of the nominees.]

Single: Reaction record of the year x the biggest Nashville breakout since the Dixie Chicks = a nearly unbeatable "Redneck Woman." If Alan Jackson wins this, the CMAs are officially his bitch.

Song: A tough call. Jackson and Brad Paisley have emotional entries here, as does newbie Josh Turner (Gretchen Wilson's likely a non-factor here), but I've got a sneaking suspicion that Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying," released just after his own father passed away, takes the trophy.

Musical Event: Paisley's duet with Alison Krauss just killed, plus it was a top 5 hit, plus you can rely on every traditionalist in the CMA to vote for it. The Jimmy Buffet-and-friends "Hey Good Lookin'" is the dark horse here, only because it's got 4/5 of the nominees for Male Vocalist on it.

Album: Kenny Chesney still isn't seen as a serious enough artist, and Paisley and show hosts Brooks & Dunn just don't have enough support this year, which makes this a showdown between Wilson and Toby Keith. Because she's the only woman in this category, and such a hugely new star, give Wilson an edge, but only just.

Speed round:
Male: Toby, though never count out Alan. But it feels like Toby's year.
Female: When in doubt, go for the safe CMA bet, 2-time reigning champ Martina McBride.
Group: Rascal Flatts, duh.
Duo: In a close vote over Big & Rich and Montgomery Gentry (coming off a career year including their first-ever #1 single), it's Brooks & Dunn again.
Horizon: Hmm, who ever could win this new artist trophy? Gretchen Wilson, just maybe?

Entertainer: This is the big prize of the night, and yet again this year, it's an all-male crop of nominees. Again, I would never entirely count out Alan Jackson (the reigning champ), but I think this year it comes down to the two kings, Toby and Tim. And after a year like he's had - controversy-free, no less - can you vote against Toby? I think not; he finally nabs the big one.

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