CMAs 2020 nominees: Miranda Lambert leads pack with 7 nods

Although the Country Music Association Awards themed its 2019 telecast around women’s contributions to the genre, 2020 is turning out to be the year in which that’s actually born out in the nominations. In the slate of nominees announced Tuesday morning, female artists made up two or sometimes three of the five contenders in nearly …

Although the Country Music Association Awards themed its 2019 telecast around women’s contributions to the genre, 2020 is turning out to be the year in which that’s actually born out in the nominations. In the slate of nominees announced Tuesday morning, female artists made up two or sometimes three of the five contenders in nearly every category, marking far greater representation than usual in a genre that has taken heat for being disproportionately skewed toward male superstars and newcomers.

Making a major comeback in CMA Awards contention, as she recently has at country radio, Miranda Lambert earned the most nominations, with seven, upping her career tally to 55, a record for a female artist in CMA history. She is nominated for the top entertainer of the year prize for the first time in five years.

The genre’s newest legitimate superstar, Luke Combs, followed with six nods. Maren Morris (who was eligible for her crossover smash “The Bones,” but not her album, which fell in the previous awards cycle) is a strong contender with five nominations. Carly Pearce earned four, as did the duo Dan + Shay and producer Jay Joyce. Ashley McBryde and Keith Urban are up for three apiece, as is Justin Bieber, by virtue of his featured appearance on a Dan + Shay single.

Among the many double nominees are two freshman women who had No, 1 singles this year, Ingrid Andress and Gabby Barrett, who announced the nominees in a CMA livestream Tuesday morning (pictured above). Asked who they would celebrate with, Barrett cited “my beloved husband,” and Andress said “all the plants in my apartment.”

Notably, the most celebrated category, entertainer of the year — which in some years has had no female contenders — has two this year, Lambert and Carrie Underwood. The last time there were two women or female-fronted acts in contention in the entertainer category was a decade ago, when Lambert faced off against the group then known as Lady Antebellum. For the last time two solo women were nominated for entertainer of the year, you’d have to look all the way back to 1979, when the category included Barbara Mandrell and Crystal Gayle. (The last time a woman won entertainer of the year? When Taylor Swift got it in 2011.)

Joining Lambert and Underwood as nominees for entertainer of the year are Eric Church, Keith Urban and a first-time contender in this top division, Combs.

Garth BrooksGetty Images

Garth Brooks, who can usually be counted on as a nominee in the category — and won it last year — asked CMA voters not to fill out their ballots for him this year, to make room for the.new guard, and he got his wish. Although Brooks had added that he would love to be considered in other categories, like vocal event of the year for his duet with Blake Shelton, he got no nominations. (Neither did Shelton, for that matter.)

The hottest younger artist of the moment, Morgan Wallen, got just one nomination, for best new artist. He’s in a female-dominated category, as he’ll face off again Andress, Barrett and Pearce (who made it into the freshman category even though she’s on her sophomore album), as well as fellow newcomer Jimmie Allen, the only Black performer to receive a 2020 nomination.

Barrett got her second nomination for “I Hope” as single of the year, where three of five contenders are by women. The other nominees for single are Morris’ recent format-crossing No. 1 hit “The Bones,” Lambert’s “Bluebird,” Combs’ “Beer Never Broke My Heart” and Dan + Shay’s and Bieber’s “10,000 Hours.”

The song of the year category has four songs recorded and co-written by women in contention: Andress’ “More Hearts Than Mine,” Lambert’s “Bluebird,” Morris’ “The Bones” and “I Hope You’re Happy Now” by Pearce featuring Lee Brice, plus Luke Combs’ “Even Though I’m Leaving.” Combs has two nominations in the category, though, which goes to songwriters: he co-wrote the Pearce/Brice duet as well as his own hit.

The album of the year category, which traditionally tends to go a little more outside the box than some of the other categories, had a notable nod for McBryde’s acclaimed sophomore album, “Never Will,” as well as Lambert’s “Wildcard,” Jon Pardi’s “Heartache Medication,” Old Dominion’s self-titled album and Combs’ “What You See is What You Get.”

Artists with two nominations each are Church, Underwood, Andress, Barrett, Old Dominion, Thomas Rhett, Chris Stapleton and (by virtue of his Dan + Shay collaboration) Justin Bieber. Those earning a single nomination include Allen, Lady A, Little Big Town, Midland, the retiring Rascal Flatts, Brothers Osborne, Brooks & Dunn, Florida Georgia Line and Maddie & Tae.

The telecast is scheduled for Nov. 11 on ABC. Details about a venue, host and format amid the ongoing pandemic have not been revealed.

The full list of nominees:

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
• Eric Church
• Luke Combs
• Miranda Lambert
• Carrie Underwood
• Keith Urban

Carrie Underwood performs at the 54th Academy of Country Music Awards in April 2019.FilmMagic for ACM

SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Award goes to Artist(s), Producer(s), and Mix Engineer
• “10,000 Hours” – Dan + Shay (with Justin Bieber)
Producer: Dan Smyers; Mix Engineer: Jeff Juliano
• “Beer Never Broke My Heart” – Luke Combs
Producer: Scott Moffatt; Mix Engineer: Jim Cooley
• “Bluebird” – Miranda Lambert
Producer: Jay Joyce; Mix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce
• “The Bones” – Maren Morris
Producer: Greg Kurstin; Mix Engineer: Greg Kurstin
• “I Hope” – Gabby Barrett
Producers: Ross Copperman, Zach Kale; Mix Engineer: Buckley Miller

Maren MorrisMark Humphrey/AP

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Award goes to Artist and Producer(s)
• “Heartache Medication” – Jon Pardi
Producers: Bart Butler, Ryan Gore, Jon Pardi
• “Never Will” – Ashley McBryde
Producers: Jay Joyce, John Peets
• “Old Dominion” – Old Dominion
Producers: Shane McAnally, Old Dominion
• “What You See Is What You Get” – Luke Combs
Producer: Scott Moffatt
• “Wildcard” – Miranda Lambert
Producer: Jay Joyce

SONG OF THE YEAR
Award goes to Songwriters
• “Bluebird”
Songwriters: Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby, Miranda Lambert
• “The Bones”
Songwriters: Maren Morris, Jimmy Robbins, Laura Veltz
• “Even Though I’m Leaving”
Songwriters: Luke Combs, Wyatt B. Durrette III, Ray Fulcher
• “I Hope You’re Happy Now”
Songwriters: Luke Combs, Randy Montana, Carly Pearce, Jonathan Singleton
• “More Hearts Than Mine”
Songwriters: Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis, Derrick Southerland

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
• Miranda Lambert
• Ashley McBryde
• Maren Morris
• Kacey Musgraves
• Carrie Underwood

Keith UrbanGetty Images for Global Citizen

MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
• Eric Church
• Luke Combs
• Thomas Rhett
• Chris Stapleton
• Keith Urban

VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR
• Lady A
• Little Big Town
• Midland
• Old Dominion
• Rascal Flatts

VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR
• Brooks & Dunn
• Brothers Osborne
• Dan + Shay
• Florida Georgia Line
• Maddie & Tae

Justin BieberGC Images

MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR
Award goes to Artists and Producer(s)
• “10,000 Hours” – Dan + Shay (with Justin Bieber)
Producer: Dan Smyers
• “Be A Light” – Thomas Rhett featuring Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, Chris Tomlin, Keith Urban
Producer: Dann Huff
• “The Bones” – Maren Morris with Hozier
Producer: Greg Kurstin
• “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” – Miranda Lambert (feat. Maren Morris, Elle King, Ashley McBryde, Tenille Townes & Caylee Hammack)
Producer: Jay Joyce
• “I Hope You’re Happy Now” – Carly Pearce and Lee Brice
Producer: busbee

MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR
• Jenee Fleenor, Fiddle
• Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar
• Rob McNelley, Guitar
• Ilya Toshinskiy, Guitar
• Derek Wells, Guitar

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Award goes to Artist(s) and Director
• “10,000 Hours” – Dan + Shay (with Justin Bieber)
Director: Patrick Tracy
• “Bluebird” – Miranda Lambert
Director: Trey Fanjoy
• “Homemade” – Jake Owen
Director: Justin Clough
• “I Hope You’re Happy Now” – Carly Pearce and Lee Brice
Director: Sam Siske
• “Second One To Know” – Chris Stapleton
Director: David Coleman

Carly PearceHarper Smith

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR
• Jimmie Allen
• Ingrid Andress
• Gabby Barrett
• Carly Pearce
• Morgan Wallen

“THE 54th ANNUAL CMA AWARDS” – FINALISTS FOR BROADCAST PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR (by market size):

National
• “American Country Countdown” (Kix Brooks) – Westwood One
• “The Blair Garner Show” (Blair Garner and “Off Eric” Garner) – Westwood One
• “CMT After Midnite” (Cody Alan) – Premiere Networks
• “Country Countdown USA” (Lon Helton) – Westwood One
• “The Mayor of Music Row” (Charlie Monk) – Sirius XM Satellite Radio

Major Market
• “Angie Ward” – WUBL, Atlanta, Ga.
• “Chris Carr & Company” (Chris Carr, Kia Becht, and McKaila Granning) – KEEY, Minneapolis-St.
Paul, Minn.
• “Double-L” (Lois Lewis) – KNIX, Phoenix, Ariz.
• “Fitz in the Morning” (Cory Fitzner) – KNUC, Seattle-Tacoma, Wash.
• “Paul Schadt & Sarah Lee in the Morning with Producer Geof” (Paul Schadt, Sarah Lee and Geof
Knight) – WKKT, Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, N.C.-S.C.

Large Market
• “The Big Dave Show (“Big Dave” Chandler, Chelsie Shinkle, Jason Statt and Ashley Hempfling) – WUBE, Cincinnati, Ohio
• “Jim, Deb & Kevin” (Jim Denny, Deborah Honeycutt and Kevin Freeman) – WFMS, Indianapolis, Ind.
• “Lexi & Banks” (“Lexi” Elena Abatgis and “Banks” Jared Danielson) – KUBL, Salt Lake City-Ogden- Provo, Utah
• “Obie & Ashley” (“Obie” Obed Diaz and Ashley Morrison) – WWKA, Orlando, Fla.
• “Ridder, Scott and Shannen” (“Ridder” Shaun Ridderbush, Scott Dolphin, and Shannen
Oesterreich) – WMIL, Milwaukee-Racine, Wis.

Medium Market
• “Brent Michaels” – KUZZ, Bakersfield, Calif.
• “Clay & Company” (Clay Moden, Rob Banks, and Val Townsend) – WYRK, Buffalo-Niagara Falls,
N.Y.
• “Kenn McCloud” – KUZZ, Bakersfield, Calif.
• “Scott and Sarah in the Morning” (Scott Wynn and Sarah Kay) – WQMX, Akron, Ohio
• “Steve & Gina In The Morning” (Steve Lundy and Gina Melton) – KXKT, Omaha-Council Bluffs,
Neb.-Iowa

Small Market
• “Big Rick In The Morning” (“Big Rick” Daniels) – WGGC, Bowling Green, Ky.
• “Bobby & Steve (and Mandi!)” (Bobby Cook, Steve Schwetman and Mandi Turner) – WKYQ,
Paducah, Ky.
• “Brent and Candy – The Cat Pak Morning Show” (Brent Lane and Candy Cullerton) – WYCT, Pensacola, Fla.
• “Officer Don & DeAnn” (“Officer Don” Evans and DeAnn Stephens) – WBUL, Lexington-Fayette, Ky.
• “Steve And Jessica Mornings” (Steve Waters and Jessica Cash) – WFLS, Fredericksburg, Va.

“THE 54th ANNUAL CMA AWARDS” – FINALISTS FOR RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR (by market size):

Major Market
• KNUC – Seattle-Tacoma, Wash.
• KSCS – Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas
• KYGO – Denver-Boulder, Colo.
• WXTU – Philadelphia, Pa.
• WYCD – Detroit, Mich.

Large Market
• KNCI – Sacramento, Calif.
• KUBL – Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo, Utah
• WMIL – Milwaukee-Racine, Wis.
• WUBE – Cincinnati, Ohio
• WWKA – Orlando, Fla.

Medium Market
• KATM – Modesto, Calif.
• WHKO – Dayton, Ohio
• WQMX – Akron, Ohio
• WUSY – Chattanooga, Tenn.
• WXCY – Wilmington, Del.

Small Market
• KKNU – Eugene-Springfield, Ore.
• WBYT – South Bend, Ind.
• WKXC – Augusta, Ga.
• WXBQ – Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, Tenn.-Va.
• WXFL – Florence-Muscle Shoals, Ala.

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