Anticipating the 57th CMA Awards: Predicting the Nominees for Top Categories


The countdown has begun for the unveiling of the final nominees for the 57th CMA (Country Music Association) Awards. This year has seen an exceptional surge in the world of country music, with artists such as Morgan Wallen and Luke Combs reigning supreme on both the pop and country charts. Emerging talents like Zach Bryan and Oliver Anthony Music have emerged from obscurity to captivate not only the charts but also the national conversation.

What distinguishes this year is the diversity of artists who’ve left their indelible mark on the genre. Acts like Jelly Roll and Lainey Wilson, who swept the Academy of Country Music Awards, have injected fresh sounds and unique styles into the country music scene.

While predicting some of the nominees might be straightforward, especially for established artists, other categories, particularly “New Artist of the Year,” present a delightful challenge due to the abundance of emerging talents.

Scheduled for November 8th, the CMA Awards, decided by the votes of eligible CMA members, will feature co-hosts Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning, and will be broadcast live on ABC. To qualify for the 2023 awards show, singles, albums, music videos, and qualified music products must have achieved peak national prominence or been released between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023.

Here are some educated predictions for the key artist categories:

Entertainer of the Year

  • Luke Combs
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Shania Twain
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Morgan Wallen

Luke Combs, the reigning champion, seems a strong contender for another nomination, given the resounding success of his current arena/stadium tour. While Morgan Wallen secured his first nomination last year, it’s possible that the return of Shania Twain, absent from the nominations since her 1999 win, could add intrigue to the category. Additionally, Kane Brown, who embarked on a massive tour this year, might clinch his debut nomination.

Male Vocalist of the Year

  • Luke Combs
  • Jordan Davis
  • Jelly Roll
  • Morgan Wallen

While Nashville boasts a surplus of solo male artists, a fresh wave of distinctive voices is emerging as leaders of a new generation. Luke Combs, the seasoned artist with a major label debut six years ago, stands out. It’s challenging to envision Chris Stapleton, who boasts a record of six wins and consecutive victories over the past two years, not securing a nomination. Consequently, he may take a slot that could have otherwise gone to Jelly Roll or HARDY.

Female Vocalist of the Year

  • Kelsea Ballerini
  • Ashley McBryde
  • Megan Moroney
  • Carly Pearce
  • Lainey Wilson

Much like the male vocalist category, the female vocalist category is ripe for honoring newer talents. While Miranda Lambert holds the record with seven wins, this could be the year to celebrate fresh voices such as Megan Moroney and Lainey Wilson. Although Carrie Underwood is typically an automatic nomination, this year’s emerging talents are making their mark.

New Artist of the Year

  • Zach Bryan
  • Megan Moroney
  • Jelly Roll
  • Nate Smith
  • Bailey Zimmerman

The new artist category boasts an unprecedented level of competition this year, with several artists achieving remarkable success. While the mentioned artists have all enjoyed significant accomplishments, there are at least five others who could potentially hear their names called on nomination day, including Hailey Whitters, Warren Zeiders, Jackson Dean, and Corey Kent.

Vocal Group of the Year

  • Lady A
  • Little Big Town
  • Old Dominion
  • Parmalee
  • Zac Brown Band

Old Dominion has consistently dominated this category, clinching the win for the past five years. However, it’s high time to acknowledge the exceptional talent of acts like Parmalee, who achieved Billboard’s No. 1 Country Airplay Song of 2022 with “Take My Name” and are continuing their success this year.

Vocal Duo of the Year

  • Brooks & Dunn
  • Brothers Osborne
  • Dan + Shay
  • Maddie & Tae
  • Tigirlily Gold

The vocal duo category offers ample room for fresh talent. Brothers Osborne and Dan + Shay are undoubtedly deserving of nominations. Brooks & Dunn, though still touring, have not released new music since 2019; however, their legacy is undeniable. As for the remaining slots, one may be allocated to eight-time nominees Maddie & Tae, who released the second half of an album in September. The final spot could potentially go to the emerging duo Tigirlily Gold, who made their debut on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart with “Shoot Tequila.”

In a landscape where solo artists tend to dominate the charts, both vocal group and vocal duo categories present exciting opportunities for recognizing new talents. It’s an opportune moment for A&R executives to scout and nurture promising duos to fill this void.

The excitement is building as we await the official nominee announcements, and country music enthusiasts around the world eagerly anticipate the big reveal. Stay tuned for the 57th CMA Awards and witness who takes center stage at this prestigious event!

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