• Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley
  • Rascal Flatts
  • George Strait
  • Keith Urban

Who’s In: George Strait

Who’s Out: Brooks & Dunn

George Strait replaced Brooks & Dunn instead of Carrie Underwood, which was my prediction. This indicates a strong amount of support for the Hall of Famer. Urban’s hanging in there too, and given his other noms, his low profile earlier this year didn’t harm him.

Male Vocalist

  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley
  • George Strait
  • Josh Turner
  • Keith Urban

Who’s In: Josh Turner

Who’s Out: Alan Jackson

I went 5 for 5 in this race, with Turner earning his first nomination. Can the traditionalist bloc carry him to a win?

Female Vocalist

  • Alison Krauss
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Martina McBride
  • Reba McEntire
  • Carrie Underwood

Who’s In: Alison Krauss, Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire

Who’s Out: Sara Evans, Faith Hill, Gretchen Wilson

It was painful watching Evans stand there as the first name read for this category began with K. I expected Lambert, but I’m surprised by McEntire. I thought the impact of her new hit single came too late to push her into the race. Then again, I’m seeing a strong showing from MCA on this ballot. They must be happy over there.

Vocal Duo

  • Big & Rich
  • Brooks & Dunn
  • Montgomery Gentry
  • Sugarland
  • The Wreckers

Who’s In: Sugarland

Who’s Out: Van Zant

Very predictable. Sugarland becoming a duo had to end in one act’s elimination, and Van Zant was the least successful of last year’s five nominees.

Vocal Group

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

Who’s In: Dixie Chicks, Emerson Drive

Who’s Out: Lonestar, Sugarland

Well, I’ll be damned!

Horizon Award

  • Jason Aldean
  • Rodney Atkins
  • Little Big Town
  • Kellie Pickler
  • Taylor Swift


  • Dierks Bentley, Long Trip Alone
  • Vince Gill, These Days
  • Brad Paisley, 5th Gear
  • George Strait, It Just Comes Natural
  • Keith Urban, Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy Thing

The big shock: an album nomination for Dierks Bentley. It’s a fantastic record, but didn’t set the charts on fire like his previous album did. I had predicted Tim McGraw would get a nomination, but he failed to get a nomination for a studio album for the first time in more than a decade.


  • “Anyway” – Martina McBride
  • “Before He Cheats” – Carrie Underwood
  • “Lost in This Moment” – Big & Rich
  • “Ticks” – Brad Paisley
  • “Wrapped” – George Strait


  • “Anyway” – Martina McBride/Brad Warren/Brett Warren
  • “Before He Cheats” – Josh Kear/Chris Tompkins
  • “Give it Away” – Bill Anderson/Buddy Cannon/Jamey Johnson
  • “Lost in This Moment” – John Rich/Keith Anderson/Rodney Clawson
  • “Stupid Boy” – Dave Berg/Deanna Bryant/Sarah Buxton

Musical Event

  • “Because of You” – Reba McEntire & Kelly Clarkson
  • “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” – Tracy Lawrence, Kenny Chesney & Tim McGraw
  • “Hey Good Lookin’ (Live)” – Jimmy Buffett, George Strait & Alan Jackson
  • “Missing You” – Alison Krauss & John Waite
  • “The Reason Why” – Vince Gill & Alison Krauss

Music Video

  • “Anyway” – Martina McBride
  • “Before He Cheats” – Carrie Underwood
  • “Moments” – Emerson Drive
  • “Online” – Brad Paisley
  • “You Save Me” – Kenny Chesney


  • Eddie Bayers Jr.
  • Jerry Douglas
  • Dann Huff
  • Mac McAnally
  • Randy Scruggs