Interesting category this year, in the sense that there really weren’t any massive hits except one, which is the only certain nominee by my calculation. After that, I’ve listed every possible nominee I could think of, and it’s still a pretty short list. I wouldn’t be shocked if this is a year where an artist has more than one nomination, perhaps Brad Paisley or Rodney Atkins.
SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Certain to Be Nominated:
Carrie Underwood, “Before He Cheats”
It was the year’s only real mega-hit, and it crossed over to pop in its original country mix. Underwood has been raking in the awards at a rate not seen since the Dixie Chicks, and for good reason: she’s already putting superstar numbers up on the board, with the top-selling country album of the century. Why did the album go from 3x platinum to 6x platinum? Three words: “Before He Cheats.” This one’s a lock.
Likely to Be Nominated:
George Strait, “Give it Away”
Strait’s been nominated for this award seven times, winning in 1996 for “Check Yes Or No.” He hasn’t been in the running since 1998, but he won at the ACM awards for this single, so he’s likely to get at least a nomination from the CMA.
Could Be Nominated:
Brad Paisley, “Ticks”
He’s been nominated six of the past seven years for this award, including the past five. The big question is whether he’ll be nominated for this or for his other big hit this year, “She’s Everything.” I’m thinking the push will be for the newer single, and the only reason I won’t say a nomination is likely is the possibility of the two hits splitting the vote. I actually wouldn’t be shocked to see both singles get nominated.
Rodney Atkins, “If You’re Going Through Hell”
Radio has been playing this guy like he’s a core artist already, with two multi-week #1 singles and another that’s on the verge of going #1. This was the big breakthrough hit, and it stands an excellent chance of earning a nomination.
Tracy Lawrence, “Find Out Who Your Friends Are”
As comebacks go, this was a huge one. The CMA didn’t shower him with attention the first time around, but the general theme of this song matches up so well with the comeback it earned him that I think he’ll be rewarded with a nomination.
Keith Urban, “Stupid Boy”
As I’ve written in other posts, I’m not sure that Urban fever is still going strong with the CMA voters. But if it is, a single nomination for “Stupid Boy” would be a strong indicator. Given that he earned a nod last year for the slight “Better Life”, this killer single would seem to have a strong chance at being nominated.
Kenny Chesney, “Never Wanted Nothing More”
I was shocked last year that he was nominated for “Summertime”, which for me was a clear indication that BMG was becoming dominant in the voting process. If they power him to another nomination this year, it will be for this genuinely big hit.
Tim McGraw, “If You’re Reading This”
A question solely of eligibility. If this was eligible for the ballot, I suspect he’ll be nominated, but I’m not sure if the organization will consider the date of the ACM performance over the date that the cleaned-up recording of it was sent to radio.
Big & Rich, “Lost in This Moment”
Can their first big radio hit waltz them into the race for Single of the Year? They’ve got a shot, though I suspect that they might not quite make it in with this particular song. Album sales have been decent, but not spectacular, given that radio was fully behind this song.
Emerson Drive, “Moments”
A beautiful message single, it would be nice to see something with so much meaning and substance in this category. On a major label, I’d expect this #1 hit to get the nod, but as an indie release, I’m not very confident.
Single of the Year
- “Before He Cheats” – Carrie Underwood
- “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” – Tracy Lawrence
- “Give it Away” – George Strait
- “If You’re Going Through Hell” – Rodney Atkins
- “Ticks” – Brad Paisley