CMA Awards:The Country Music Association’s 53rd annual CMA Awards are poised to make history on Wednesday night, with this year’s show spotlighting a half-century of female artistry and opening with an all-star, all-women collaboration.
Here’s everything you need to know before the CMAs get underway from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
How to watch: The show airs live on November 13th at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC, with multiple digital outlets carrying live red-carpet coverage prior to the ceremonies. Ahead of some 40 female performers and presenters, co-hosts Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, and Reba McEntire will set the tone for the night’s festivities with an opening medley built around some legendary country songs. Joining the trio will be Tanya Tucker, Crystal Gayle, Martina McBride, Terri Clark, Sara Evans, Gretchen Wilson, Jennifer Nettles, and the Highwomen — the group consisting of Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires, Natalie Hemby, and this year’s nominations champ, Maren Morris.
Who’s hosting: With her 12th consecutive appearance, Underwood now ties Vince Gill as host-with-the-most. But instead of her straight-woman role beside comical Brad Paisley, her longtime co-host, she’s teamed up with two Hall of Fame legends in Dolly and Reba. Expect high class, quick wits, and a palpable sense of female empowerment.
Who will take the stage: Along with the show’s opening, notable performances include Entertainer of the Year nominee Garth Brooks joining Blake Shelton on their nominated hit “Dive Bar”; new Hall of Fame members Brooks & Dunn reprising their smash “Hard Workin’ Man” with Brothers Osborne; and Chris Stapleton, who teamed with Justin Timberlake in 2015 for a star-making collaboration, singing with Pink on her current single “Love Me Anyway,” which she wrote with “The House That Built Me” songwriters Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin.
If, as many expect, Carrie Underwood steps to the stage at the 53rd annual Country Music Association Awards on Wednesday to pick up the award for entertainer of the year, this will be just the 10th time in CMA history that a female solo artist or group has won that award.
But there’s a twist here that’s unexpected. There’s much more consciousness about female equality than there used to be, so you might expect that back in the ’60s and ’70s, the winners were almost all men and that the female victories have mostly come in recent years. Surprisingly, it’s the other way around.
In the CMA Awards‘ first 20 years (1967-86), four women won entertainer of the year a total of five times. Loretta Lynn was the first woman to win, in 1972, followed by Dolly Parton in 1978. Barbara Mandrell was the first artist — male or female — to win twice in the category (1980-81). Reba McEntire won in 1986.
In the last 32 years (1987-2018), three female acts won entertainer of the year a total of four times. Shania Twain won in 1999, followed by Dixie Chicks in 2000. Taylor Swift won in 2009 and 2011.
Here’s another way of looking at this: In the CMA Awards’ first 20 years, there were never more than five consecutive years with a male entertainer of the year. But in the last 32 years, there have been three runs of male winners that extended seven or more years. There was a 12-year streak (1987-1998) where the winners were all male solo artists (or a male duo: Brooks & Dunn), followed by an eight-year streak (2001-08) and a seven-year streak (2012-18).
That latter streak will either extend to eight years if Garth Brooks, Eric Church, Chris Stapleton or Keith Urban wins on Wednesday, or it will end if Underwood wins.
This would be the record-extending seventh win in the category for Brooks, the third for Urban and the first for Church, Stapleton or Underwood.
The 53rd annual CMA Awards will be presented Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The show will be telecast live on the East Coast on ABC.
you think will win?
Morris has only won one CMA Award to date: New Artist of the Year in 2016. But since that breakthrough year she’s been a regular fixture at the event. She has been nominated a total of 16 times, including a previous Album of the Year bid for her major label breakthrough “Hero.” She lost that prize, but most derbyites think the association will make it up to her, including 17 of our Top 24 Users who got the highest scores predicting last year’s CMAs, which gives their 2019 predictions greater weight in our odds.
But who did Morris lose to in 2016 when she was last nominated? None other than Church, who prevailed for “Mr. Misunderstood.” In fact, he won two of his last three nominations in the category; he also took home Album of the Year for “Chief” in 2012. You might think CMA voters would consider him duly rewarded after two victories, but the association doesn’t seem to mind repeat winners. In just the last 10 years Miranda Lambert and Chris Stapleton have also doubled up.
The competition is friendly but fierce at Wednesday’s Country Music Association Awards, which air live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena at 7 p.m. CT on ABC. Here are our picks for who will take home the night’s top prizes – and the performers who also deserve the recognition.
Entertainer of the Year
Should win: Carrie Underwood
If not now, when? Underwood just wrapped her most elaborate concert tour yet. She’s hosting the CMAs for the 13th straight year – now in the company of the legendary Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire.
She’s the lone woman up for the top prize – in a year where the conversation has only grown louder about the lack of female artists on country’s airwaves, festival lineups and awards ballots.
CMA AWARDS 2019 NOMINEES:Maren Morris tops full list of nominees
Female Vocalist of the Year
Should win: Carrie Underwood
For the same reasons she deserves to win Entertainer of the Year. And as a bonus, she’s unmatched in terms of sheer vocal power. But it’s not that simple…
Will win: Kacey Musgraves
There’s a fair chance that while Underwood’s label (UMG Nashville) will throw all their voting weight behind her for Entertainer of the Year, they’ll choose to support their other nominee – Musgraves – for Female Vocalist.