It’s a different race this year, with Sugarland moving from the Vocal Group category to Vocal Duo. I don’t think there have been so many credible contenders for this award since the late eighties.
VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR
Certain to Be Nominated:
Brooks & Dunn
They won multiple CMA and ACM awards last year for “Believe”, and seem as unstoppable as ever in this category. Seriously, they’ve only lost once, and that was seven years ago. I imagine they’ll even be nominated the year that they’re working solo projects!
They’ve moved from the Rascal Flatts category to the Brooks & Dunn category, and one thing hasn’t changed: they’re still the act best positioned to play spoiler. They’ve actually sold a lot more records than Brooks & Dunn lately, and their newest album is holding up nicely at radio and retail.
Big & Rich
Coming off their very first #1 hit, these guys have shown that they are here for the long haul. They may still have too many detractors to actually win the award, but at the rate he’s going, John Rich might end up writing a hit for every CMA voter. That has to count for something.
They’ve been a successful duo for quite a few years now, and while their record sales have cooled off a bit, they remain a favorite at radio. They might not ever win this again, but I expect them to be on the short list for a long time to come.
Could Be Nominated:
So who will get the fifth slot? With four nominees certain, the best positioned right now are The Wreckers. Radio didn’t embrace their third single, “Tennessee”, but they’ve actually sold some albums and “Leave the Pieces” remains a powerful recurrent. They have the best shot at finishing up the category.
These rockers slipped in there last year, but their attempts to launch their second album have met resistance at radio. The entrance of Sugarland makes it very difficult for them to remain in this race. I’d be surprised if they’re able to secure more votes than The Wreckers.
Halfway to Hazard
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding their debut album, which was co-produced by Tim McGraw. In earlier years, that would be enough to land them a slot, but there’s just too much competition right now. Keep an eye on these guys for 2008. If they connect at radio, they might break through in this category.
The Warren Brothers
They were nominated every year from 1999 through 2005, and while a comeback seems unlikely this year, it isn’t out of the question. If voters want to acknowledge their role in writing the stunning Tim McGraw song “If You’re Reading This”, they might have a shot.
Vocal Duo of the Year
- Big & Rich
- Brooks & Dunn
- Montgomery Gentry
- The Wreckers