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CMA Award countdown begins: Final predix

November 12, 2008 |  3:34 pm

And we're off.

The music award season officially begins tonight, with the Country Music Assn. Awards, live from Nashville. Pop & Hiss will be blogging with performance reviews -- as fast as we can update -- and updating a winners list as they're announced.

In the meantime, here are some predictions, utilizing the handy-grid available on the official CMA Awards Web page.

Entertainer of the year:


Who will win: Kenny Chesney

As noted in an earlier post, Chesney rules country radio and touring these days and has done so for the last few years. He's been a virtual lock on this category, and without a new album from Keith Urban, expect him to take home the prize again.

Who should win: Sugarland. The duo had a breakout year in 2008, scoring its first ever No. 1 album. While not the touring powerhouse that Chesney is, the act's honest, easy-to-relate-to tales would be a welcome change of pace.

Female vocalist of the year:


Who will win: Taylor Swift. Granted, it's hard to bet against an "Idol" (Carrie Underwood) and a legend (Alison Krauss), but Swift has been christened as country's future. Like it or not, it's her time.

Who should win: Miranda Lambert. Tune in tonight. Her performance will be the highlight. And if it's not, watch her performance of "Gunpowder and Lead" from last year. It will probably be better than anything that happens tonight.

Male vocalist of the year:


Who will win: Brad Paisley. He's hosting the show, and he'll be shut out of the entertainer prize by Chesney. Look for him to repeat as male vocalist, thanks to his hits "Waiting on a Woman" and "Letter To Me," which illustrate his sense of humor and ability to look back without getting overly nostalgic.

Who should win: Going to have to go with Paisley, amongst the nominated field. George Strait and Alan Jackson released well-received efforts, but Paisley's a fresher star, though his "I'm Still A Guy" is problematic.

New artist of the year:


Who will win: Lady Antebellum. The "newest" of the crop. While not a stellar debut, it's consistent country-soul, and the group stands out amongst its single-artist peers in the category.

Who should win: Lady Antebellum. See above. But it's an award more for the act's promise rather than its self-titled debut. That all being said, James Otto is more fun.

--Todd Martens