If the duo category has never been more competitive, the vocal group race has never been less.   With one of last year’s nominees being dropped from their label (Lonestar) and another moving to the duo category (Sugarland), who knows how voters will round out the category?  I’m fumbling in the dark here, folks, but here it goes…


Certain to Be Nominated:

Rascal Flatts
They may become the first act to win five Vocal Group trophies since The Statler Brothers.   Yes, that’s right.  Since the Statler Brothers.    They’ll need to win another five to become the all-time winners.  As of now, they’re tied with Diamond Rio and the Dixie Chicks for second place.

Little Big Town
The other obvious nominee, they’ve had an awesome year, racking up nominations at the Grammys, ACM’s and CMT awards.  Do they have enough support among voters to stop the Flatts juggernaut?   We’ll find out in November.   They’re certainly guaranteed to have a shot at it.

Likely to Be Nominated:

Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas
Even though Krauss has pursued solo projects this year, the wide respect and admiration this band has on its side will likely lead to a third straight nomination in this category.

Could Be Nominated:

Emerson Drive
The problem with the rest of this category is that the bands who’ve had some success are on independent labels, and the major label bands who’ve struggled have bloc voting on their side.  I’m thinking that their #1 hit “Moments” will power them to a nomination, but I can’t swear by it.

They’ve gone from hot new band to one-hit wonder in record time, and they aren’t even on the indie label that powered “I Loved Her First” to the top spot anymore.   I think they might slide in there on name recognition, though I’d be no more suprised if they didn’t.

Cole Deggs & The Lonesome
If major label voting powers a band into the race, it will be Cole Deggs & The Lonesome.  Despite abysmal sales, they are part of the Sony BMG family of labels, though it’s usually the BMG artists that get the big push.  In any other year, they’d have no chance, but what a wide open year this is.

Dixie Chicks
They’ve won four times before, and they’ve had one of the top-selling albums of the past twelve months, but it’s clear that their label isn’t pushing for them to get a nod, or they’d have gotten one last year.   Sony did merge with BMG, ya know.   The only way they’d end up nominated is with an overwhelming amount of support from the musician voters, which probably won’t be enough if the label isn’t also pushing for it.

Final Prediction:

Vocal Group of the Year

  • Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas
  • Emerson Drive
  • Heartland
  • Little Big Town
  • Rascal Flatts