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Few surprises at the CMAs

Jeffrey Remz  |  November 10, 2011

The win of Taylor Swift as the Entertainer of the Year at the Country Music Association awards on Wednesday was not a surprise. After all, as stated in yesterday's predictions, Swift unleashed an excellent album, which, of course, was a huge commercial success. She undertook a world-wide tour, hitting areas country singers just don't visit and brought her extravaganza to the stadium level quite easily. And she definitely has improved her musical chops as well.

Swift may have enjoyed stiff competition from Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban, but none had as important a year as the winner did. So congrats to Swift. She got what she deserved.

The Album of the Year award was a bit of a head scratcher. "My Kinda Party" from Aldean was a big step up for him, more country and less rock, but it's hard to argue that Swift's "Speak Now" should not have been the winner, considering that she won the big enchilada. Both were improvements over previous efforts, but Swift made far more major strides than other nominees.

I guess voters wanted to split the honors in giving Miranda Lambert the Female Vocalist award over Swift, Sara Evans, Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood. Only Swift had a chance. Lambert is deserving of the award - she's put out quality music and enjoyed the hits. And after all she is one-half of the King and Queen of country with Shelton, who took the Male Vocalist honor somehow over Jason Aldean, Paisley, Urban and Chesney. That is quite an accomplishment for Shelton who sometimes seems to spend more time on getting publicity than putting out high level music. Still, he has been on a huge role for more than a year with hit albums and singles.

The Band Perry was a big winner as well. A big hit song can do that for you, aka If I Die Young. The disc earned the sibling trio Single of the Year, New Artist of the Year and Kimberly Perry Song of the Year.

I'm glad they won the New Artist award. First, they were deserving, but second, three of the nominees were far far far from new artists (Chris Young, Luke Bryan and Eric Church, although I must point out it's nothing against them. It's not their fault they were nominated. Just change the rules so this kind of thing doesn't happen again).

Winning the single and song award is a crapshoot. I suppose the voters felt If I Die Young was a career-type song that really resonated with the public compared to such songs as Sara Evans' A Little Bit Stronger or Shelton's Honey Bee. The latter are likely not going to have a lot of staying power.

As for the song award, You And Tequila was well written by Matraca Berg and Deana Carter as was Mean by Swift, one of her most dyed-in-the-wool country songs ever. But it's still hard to stack them up against Perry's.

You and Tequila earned Chesney and Grace Potter the Musical Event of the Year award, and that was not an easy competition as any of the five nominees could have won. Aldean's Don't You Wanna Stay was a strong contender, and Paisley brought back Alabama on Old Alabama.

About the surest bet of the night was that Sugarland would win the Vocal Duo award. Too bad for the excellent duo, The Civil Wars, but I wonder how many voters even heard of them. Steel Magnolia was no match either. Thompson Square and Montgomery Gentry just had no chance.

Lady Antebellum's win for Vocal Group of the Year was no surprise with Zac Brown Band and The Band Perry posing the biggest competition, but considering the kind of year Lady A has had...

It's hard to argue that anyone who won an award wasn't deserving as there were no huge upsets at all. Question marks, yes, but shocks, no. Congrats to all who won awards.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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