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The 2009 CMA Awards Nominees–Our Picks For Winners

Our Country

Hey, hey! It's that time of year again--and we don't just mean football, sportsfans. The Country Music Association released its complete list of nominees for its 43rd annual awards show today.

This year's list is rather interesting. The usual suspects are duly represented--Brad Paisley leading the pack with six nominations--but some fresh blood and unexpected choices entered the ranks as well, including Darius Rucker, Joey + Rory, Zac Brown, Randy Houser, and the Raconteurs.

The show will be broadcast live on ABC November 11. It'll be held at Nashville's Sommet Center, with Paisley and Carrie Underwood serving as hosts.

Here's the list of nominees, with our picks for winners. Check back here in November and keep tally on how good our score is!

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

_ Kenny Chesney

_ Brad Paisley

_ George Strait

_ Taylor Swift

_ Keith Urban

This is a good one. Taylor is, of course, taking on an almost comically formidable Boys' Club in this category (with the stiffest competition probably coming from four-time-winner Kenny Chesney). We'd love to see her win. But aren't too sure this is going to happen. Overall we'll place our money on George Strait, who rustled things up considerably this summer with Twang and is a decent bet to upstart Kenny's winning streak.

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

_ Miranda Lambert

_ Martina McBride

_ Reba McEntire

_ Taylor Swift

_ Carrie Underwood

Tough call on this one. Miranda Lambert is the most artistically interesting of the crew, Carrie Underwood is the easy bet, and Reba's "Strange" was one of the most stunning statements of the year. However, we'll give this one to Taylor--2009 was clearly her time to shine (in a career that has, truthfully, never been dull). She likely will not win Entertainer award, but we think she'll be granted this one.

MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

_ Kenny Chesney

_ Brad Paisley

_ Darius Rucker

_ George Strait

_ Keith Urban

We'd love to see Darius win this award. In terms of moving from a rock or pop career to strictly country, all we can say about that is "many are called, but few are chosen." Darius did it flawlessly and gracefully. In a word: Kudos. And his hold on the Country Singles chart has been extraordinary. However, we will play it safe, as the CMAs generally do themselves, and guess the award will go to Brad Paisley.

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR

_ Randy Houser

_ Jamey Johnson

_ Jake Owen

_ Darius Rucker

_ Zac Brown Band

Here's where Darius actually may win. However, he's up against some serious contenders. Randy Houser is a phenomenal songwriter and vocal talent, as is last year's critical darling and Grammy nominee Jamey Johnson. For sheer impact, however, we will choose the Zac Brown Band, whose "Chicken Fried" and "Whatever It Is" were cross-genre phenomenons.

VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR

_ Eagles

_ Lady Antebellum

_ Little Big Town

_ Rascal Flatts

_ Zac Brown Band

The Eagles are nominated again! Yay! Always fun to see these guys back in action. Sorry, though--this category will go to to longtime winners Rascal Flatts. We never mind seeing the Flatts win this award repeatedly, because they get shafted in other categories and at other awards shows, losing to songs/events/artists that they can perform rings around.

VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR

_ Big & Rich

_ Brooks & Dunn

_ Joey + Rory

_ Montgomery Gentry

_ Sugarland

"Can You Duet" pair Joey + Rory make a debut here, with the rest of the category quite predictable. Will Brooks & Dunn win the award due to their earth-shattering breakup announcement this summer? Or will Sugarland prevail again? We'll throw all caution to the wind and say, aw hell, give it to B&D one last time.

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

_ "Chicken Fried," Zac Brown Band

_ "I Run To You," Lady Antebellum

_ "In Color," Jamey Johnson

_ "People Are Crazy," Billy Currington

_ "Then," Brad Paisley

Brad may prevail here, and Jamey is a strong bet as well--but in the end we suspect Zac Brown is going to take it.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR (Award goes to Artist and Producer)

_ American Saturday Night, Brad Paisley

_ Defying Gravity, Keith Urban

_ Fearless, Taylor Swift

_ Love On The Inside, Sugarland

_ That Lonesome Song, Jamey Johnson

This one comes down, in our opinion, to Brad vs. Taylor. (Jamey, again, being a dark horse.) Very tough call. We guess that Taylor will win this one, in addition to the Female Vocalist award. But this is one of the riskier bets on our part and we aren't too sure of it.

SONG OF THE YEAR (Award goes to Songwriter(s))

_ "Chicken Fried," Zac Brown/Wyatt Durrette

_ "I Told You So," Randy Travis

_ "In Color," Jamey Johnson/Lee Thomas Miller/James Otto

_ "People Are Crazy," Bobby Braddock/Troy Jones

_ "Then," Brad Paisley/Chris DuBois/Ashley Gorley

If Jamey is going to win an award, this is our guess for the category he'll win it in. We'd probably give the award ourselves to Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis's "I Told You So," but are betting on "In Color" to take the prize.

MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR (Award goes to each Artist)

_ "Cowgirls Don't Cry," Brooks & Dunn featuring Reba McEntire

_ "Down The Road," Kenny Chesney with Mac McAnally

_ "Everything But Quits," Lee Ann Womack with George Strait

_ "I Told You So," Carrie Underwood featuring Randy Travis

_ "Old Enough," The Raconteurs featuring Ricky Skaggs and Ashley Monroe

Another interesting entry here--the Raconteurs. Jack White, of course, has made his Nashville impact quite soundly (the Oak Ridge Boys covering the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" this year is alone enough to country-mortalize him, let alone his past collaboration with the legendary Loretta Lynn). However, we don't think the Raconteurs will take the award. Too many other strong contenders. Betting on Carrie and Randy, but would ideally like to see B&D plus Reba win this one.

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR (Award goes to Artist and Director)

_ "Boots On," Randy Houser

_ "Love Story," Taylor Swift

_ "People Are Crazy," Billy Currington

_ "Start A Band," Brad Paisley (duet with Keith Urban)

_ "Troubadour," George Strait

It's great to see the phenomenally talented Randy Houser nominated again, here, and the rockin' toddler video is too cute for words. George Strait holds a bit of a chance in this category--he doesn't make too many videos. However, Brad's duet with Keith is an awfully strong visual powerhouse to compete with. The only one who can take "Start A Band" on reliably is Taylor Swift in flowing frocks and locks. However, bet's on the boys to win this one.

So--what do you think? Are we on, or real gone, with our picks? Let us know what you think.

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