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CMA Awards preview: Remember these? Do award shows need to pick up the pace?

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When the Academy Awards air in February of next year, there will be debates and arguments about the nominated films. As they do nearly every year, fan and critics will scrutinize the fine print in multiple categories, wondering why a certain foreign film or documentary was barred from consideration.

But this much will be certain: The nominated films will have been released in 2008. As specified in the rules from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, recognized films will have been released between Jan. 1 2008, and Dec. 31, 2008.

This is hardly the case with music award galas. As we head into the Country Music Assn. Awards this Wednesday evening, whose eligibility period stretches from July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008, consider these tidbits:

  • Of the country records up for album of the year, only two were released in 2008, George Strait's "Troubadour" and Alan Jackson's "Good Time." Carrie Underwood's "Carnival Ride" and Brooks & Dunn's "Cowboy Town" were both released in October of last year, and Kenny Chesney's "Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates," was a September 2007 release.
  • Speaking of one King Chesney, he has already lapped the CMA Awards. His latest effort, "Lucky Old Sun," was released just a few weeks ago.
  • Sugarland's adultery tearjerker "Stay" is nominated for song of the year. The duo performed the song on last year's CMA Awards telecast and scored its first ever No. 1 album on the U.S. pop charts this summer. No song from the new effort, "Love on the Inside," is nominated. "Stay" was featured on 2006 release "Enjoy the Ride."
  • Jason Aldean is up for new artist of the year. But his sophomore album, "Relentless," was released in late May 2007, which fell during last year's eligibility period. And it's not like he was some country nobody; his album bowed at No. 4 on the U.S. pop charts.
  • Country music in 2008 is almost exactly like country music in 2007! At least that's what can be gleaned from the entertainer of the year field, which features the same exact nominations in 2008 as it did in 2007, save for one act. Swap your Rascal Flatts for your Sugarland, and everything else remains. Chesney, Brad Paisley, Strait and Keith Urban round out the field.
  • The single of the year field, which also features Sugarland's "Stay," features another song that was performed at last year's telecast: Miranda Lambert's "Gunpowder and Lead." She's set to perform again this year, but expect to hear the lovely bitterness that is "More Like Her."
  • Of the women up for female vocalist of the year, none released albums in 2008, at least not before the publishing of this blog post. Taylor Swift has a new album, "Fearless," in stores Tuesday, Nov. 11.

So don't be surprised if Wednesday night's telecast feels a bit like 2007.

--Todd Martens

Photo: Miranda Lambert. Credit: Courtesy WireImage

 
Comments () | Archives (1)

Eligibility periods are partly to blame, but also the state of country radio deserves some consideration. With songs spending 30-35 weeks on the chart, artists are unable to release more than one or two singles per year. The few exceptions are superstars like Chesney and Underwood, and even their songs don't speed up the chart like those in previous decades. Months can go by without much change in a radio playlist, and it makes it even more difficult for new, challenging artists and records to be noticed.


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