Reacting to The Absolute Joke of the 2017 ACM Awards Nominations


Let’s be honest, I’ve never been that fond of country music award shows. Outside of the 2015 CMA Awards that helped launch Chris Stapleton to a brand new level of stardom, I’ve pretty much scoffed at these shows. As I’ve said before, no other genre spends more time patting themselves on the back than country music. This is evident by the heaps of award shows held throughout the year and this trains the viewer to basically not give a shit. But nevertheless we keep an eye on these shows in hopes they get it more right each time. Well we now have the nominations for the 2017 ACM Awards and there’s no other way to put it. These are an absolute joke. My first reaction was are these the mainstream country radio awards? Because it’s mostly a list of radio darlings that programmers fall over themselves to play. After seeing these nominations it makes me not want to watch and may not. Each category seems to have its own joke, so let’s pick through each.

Entertainer of the Year

  • Jason Aldean
  • Luke Bryan
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Keith Urban

No Eric Church or Chris Stapleton, but sure Aldean and Florida Georgia Line get nominations. Complete failure already before we even get to the more insane nominations. I know the ACMs are in the tank for Aldean, but could they be any less discreet about it? The only nomination even worthy of winning is Carrie Underwood for her excellent touring numbers and consistently churning out hits and I give her a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. Aldean and Bryan are the odds on favorites here.

Male Vocalist

  • Jason Aldean
  • Dierks Bentley
  • Thomas Rhett
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Keith Urban

Once again Eric Church isn’t a nomination. Church released the best album of his career and is releasing the best singles of his career. And every awards show is stiffing him. I guess the industry is pissed he isn’t giving them radio fodder anymore. But I’m guessing Church doesn’t give a shit. Another category with one worthy candidate in my mind: Chris Stapleton. Remember when Dierks Bentley was considered one of the good guys at these shows? Then he decided he wants to be Luke Bryan and make a bunch of cheesy and stiff adult contemporary schlock. No Tim McGraw. Also no Blake Shelton in any categories. Well there’s some good news.

Female Vocalist

  • Kelsea Ballerini
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Maren Morris
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Carrie Underwood

I don’t know why Kacey continues to go to these awards show when she and everyone else knows she’s just a token nomination to fill out the field. What did she do in 2016 to earn a nomination? She didn’t release any new music. And keep in mind this isn’t a jab at her. She’s one of the best on a major country label. You would think Miranda is the shoe-in to win, but with her turn towards a more songwriter/Americana-like side I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Maren Morris wins. She seems poised to usurp Lambert as the new female darling in mainstream country and is racking up awards like crazy.

Vocal Duo

  • Big & Rich
  • Brothers Osborne
  • Dan + Shay
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Maddie & Tae

Big & Rich are a Vocal Duo nomination in 2017…..hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! They released one single last year that took like 40 weeks to peak at #14 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. They’re completely irrelevant. What in the hell makes them deserving of a nomination? Maddie & Tae are a complete token nomination like Musgraves above. I don’t see Dan + Shay being quite in the position to win yet. So it’s between CMA 2016 Duo of the Year Brothers Osborne and past years favorite Florida Georgia Line. I’m hopeful the former wins, but being a radio favorites show I expect the latter to win.

Vocal Group

  • Eli Young Band
  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town
  • Old Dominion
  • Rascal Flatts

Eli Young Band?! Where are they getting these joke ideas for nominations? You’re telling me Eli Young Band is a nomination, but not Zac Brown Band who at least had a song reach the top 15 in the last year and are a mainstream staple? Get out of here! Lady Antebellum was on hiatus for all of 2016. Rascal Flatts are irrelevant. Yet despite this joke of a category, the best group Little Big Town should easily walk away with this award.

New Male

  • Kane Brown
  • Chris Janson
  • Chris Lane
  • Jon Pardi
  • Brett Young

Out of all the categories, this actually might be the one I have the least qualms with because these are all new male artists who have did something notable in the last year. Despite not being a fan of him, Kane Brown is deserving based on the fact that he does sell well and has great streaming numbers. While you and me might not like him, there are many he does resonate with and it’s ironic he’s one of the few nominations where the ACM looked beyond radio. Hands down this should go to Jon Pardi, who achieved a #1 album with California Sunrise, racked up a #1 hit in “Head Over Boots” and is on his way to another #1 in “Dirt on My Boots.” And I think it actually does go to him because his accomplishments blow the others out of the water. If anyone else wins I’m calling shenanigans.

New Female

  • Lauren Alaina
  • Cam
  • Brandy Clark
  • Maren Morris

That’s right they couldn’t even fill out the nominations for this one. Hey ACMs: Margo Price and Aubrie Sellers. Did you forget they exist? How is Brandy Clark new? This is just another award for them to give Maren.

New Vocal Duo/Group

  • A Thousand Horses
  • Brothers Osborne
  • Dan + Shay
  • LoCash
  • Maddie & Tae

None of these are really new, but then again barely anything else makes sense with these awards. I’m guessing Brothers Osborne or Dan + Shay win here.


  • Dierks Bentley – Black
  • Florida Georgia Line – Dig Your Roots
  • Maren Morris – Hero
  • Keith Urban – Ripcord
  • Miranda Lambert – The Weight of These Wings

This should 1000% go to Miranda Lambert for her great album. But it’ll probably go to Urban or Morris or maybe even Bentley. You could take the best material from all of the non-Lambert ones, put it in one album and it still wouldn’t top Lambert’s album.


  • Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color”
  • Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.”
  • Tim McGraw – “Humble and Kind”
  • Maren Morris – “My Church”
  • Miranda Lambert – “Vice”

Key distinction is this is single. I’m kind of surprised Thomas Rhett’s “Die A Happy Man” isn’t here, but rather under Song below. I don’t give Lambert a chance here either sadly. I could see any of the other four winning.


  • Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color”
  • Thomas Rhett – “Die A Happy Man”
  • Tim McGraw – “Humble and Kind”
  • Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word”
  • Chris Stapleton – “Tennessee Whiskey”
  • Miranda Lambert – “Vice”

I would be happy with any of the bottom four winning, but watch one of the top two win. If I had to pick the winner I would definitely go with “Kill A Word,” being the best song of the nominations and for Church getting screwed over in general.


  • Chris Stapleton – “Fire Away”
  • Various Artists – “Forever Country”
  • Tim McGraw – “Humble and Kind”
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan”
  • Miranda Lambert – “Vice”

With all due respect to the other videos, “Fire Away” is the no-brainer best video. It’s one of the powerful music videos I’ve watched in years and takes the song to a whole new level of meaning. Instead though “Forever Country” will probably win because it’s done insane numbers on YouTube and sold well (also great numbers on this very blog). The only hesitation I have of it winning is this song was specifically made for the ACM’s chief rival show CMA’s 50th Anniversary. How ironic would that be if it won an ACM Award?


  • Ashley Gorley
  • Luke Laird
  • Hillary Lindsey
  • Shane McAnally
  • Lori McKenna

McKenna has to win this one, right?

Vocal Event 

  • Dierks Bentley (feat. Elle King) – “Different For Girls”
  • Various Artists – “Forever Country”
  • Florida Georgia Line (feat. Tim McGraw) – “May We All”
  • P!nk (feat. Kenny Chesney) – “Setting The World on Fire”
  • Chris Young (feat. Cassadee Pope) – “Think of You”

I could see a case made for any of these conceivably winning. I think this will largely depend on the other categories’ winners.

25 thoughts on “Reacting to The Absolute Joke of the 2017 ACM Awards Nominations

  1. seak05 February 16, 2017 / 1:22 pm

    The ACM’s loves Miranda, I mean she won FV last year, when she didn’t even have a single. She will probably win nearly every category she’s in. (and she’ll deserve it).

    I don’t like Luke, but the dude has a massive tour, multiple #1’s, he deserves the EOTY nom. Garth should probably be in this category too, even though I hope Carrie wins (hah).

    Basically most of these nominations are a total joke. It’s about who the labels/industry are currently pushing & then some industry darlings to round out the pack. It has basically nothing to do with actual merit, or work done in the past year. Honestly, when you look at these nominations, the awards themselves lose merit. If it’s all just politics, then does winning really mean anything?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott February 16, 2017 / 4:50 pm

      It really doesn’t mean anything outside of Music Row circles. Performances are really more important at these shows than the awards themselves. Ask Chris Stapleton.


  2. Raymond February 16, 2017 / 1:23 pm

    The Lady Antebellum nomination only makes sense because groups are so bare, yeah they were on hiatus, but their a more recognizable name than say A Thousand Horses or Parmalee.

    Also on that note who else would get in for Vocal Duo. Now if I’m not honest they should’ve combined Duo and Group to one category

    Josh the reason why there’s only 4 females is that I believe that in order to be nominated for that award you have to reach the Top 40 on country radio within the year, which begs the question why isn’t Raelynn nominated? “Love Triangle” did reach the Top 40 within the eligibility year?

    I think for new male Jon Pardi will win but don’t rule out Brett Young. Even if Jon Pardi blows Brett Young out of the water on talent alone.

    I’ll watch the award shows but the CMAS I have always preferred due to better hosts, better performances (last 2 years have been solid overall) and overall better winners.


    • Josh Schott February 16, 2017 / 4:52 pm

      Top 40, eh? If that’s the case that’s a dumb rule. Again a demonstration of the narrow mindset of those on Music Row looking at radio and ignoring everything else.

      No way Brett Young wins. Most of what he’s done has happened more recently than within the awards window. I don’t think he’s well known enough to really take it yet.


      • Raymond February 16, 2017 / 5:12 pm

        I give Brett Young a 20% chance of winning at best.

        For some reason, I feel like I’m the only one who absolutely hates that guys music. Something about his voice sounds so whiny and off putting (are you going to cover his album that just came out?)

        I don’t agree with the rules but I look at the ACMS as the inferior award show. At least the CMAS have good hosts and some really great performances (last November with Beyonce and the Dixie Chicks)


        • Josh Schott February 16, 2017 / 5:32 pm

          I already wrote my review for it and you’ll see it soon.


  3. Kevin Davis February 16, 2017 / 1:39 pm

    Yes, these nominations are awful. I was initially appalled that ‘Mr. Misunderstood’ didn’t get a nomination for album of the year, but then I remembered that it was nominated last year. It lost to Stapleton’s ‘Traveller’. It is indeed pathetic that Margo Price and Audrie Sellers did not receive at least a nomination to fill-out the new female category. Truly pathetic for the Academy of Country Music to do that.

    As for Thomas Rhett’s “Die a Happy Man,” it was actually nominated (and won) for single of the year last year. So that’s why it wasn’t nominated this year. And, yet, it was nominated for song of the year this year. Weird.


    • Josh Schott February 16, 2017 / 4:54 pm

      Ah I couldn’t remember whether Rhett was nominated for Single last year. That makes sense then.


  4. Amanda February 16, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    The one thing that seriously upsets me is the new male vocalist category. Jon Pardi is fucking amazing, Chris Janson is okay, but where in the hell is William Michael Morgan? Kane Brown and Chris Lane over William Michael Morgan?!?!? Seriously, ACMs? This has got to be some kind of sick joke. Hands down, Jon Pardi deserves this award.


    • Jamie February 17, 2017 / 5:12 pm

      Totally agree! It really upsets me that William Michael Morgan was shut out. It especially makes me sick seeing Chris Lane get a nomination over him. I also don’t get the love for Brett Young at all. Quite an underwhelming category, overall. I’ll certainly be rooting for Jon Pardi to win, as well!


      • Amanda February 17, 2017 / 11:40 pm

        New male vocalist should be:
        -Jon Pardi
        -Chris Janson
        -William Michael Morgan
        -Drake White
        -or take your pick of these three for the final nominee: Cody Jinks, Craig Campbell, or Mo Pitney.

        As for new female artist, it’s pathetic, lazy and pitiful on the academy’s part to only include four nominees. Nominate Margo Price. Or how about Aubrie Sellers? Ashley Monroe? Cassadee Pope? RaeLynn? They exist too. Seriously, ACMs, get it together.


        • Jamie February 18, 2017 / 1:19 am

          Heck yeah, that list is so much better! I’m actually kind of surprised that Drake White wasn’t nominated either. And even though they haven’t seen as much commercial success as the others and would’ve been long shots, I would’ve loved to see either Craig or Mo get in there, too.

          And yes, it’s appalling and just sad that they couldn’t even complete the New Female category. It’s so obvious that this show only cares about what’s popular with radio, and we all know just how popular female artists are with radio……


          • Amanda February 19, 2017 / 9:17 pm

            And it may be just me, but I can’t believe we live in a world where H.O.L.Y. and Blue Ain’t Your Color are considered better songs than Head Over Boots and I Met a Girl.


  5. OlaR February 16, 2017 / 1:53 pm

    “…why isn’t Raelynn nominated?”
    Well…because she can’t sing? Just my (un-)popular opinion.

    The ACM & the nominations are a joke. Maren Morris will win ACM awards. The new award-show darling. After one big hit, one not-so-big hit & one so-so album. Pretty sure Keith Urban will win too.


    • Raymond February 16, 2017 / 3:00 pm

      But she meets the requirements to be nominated. If the nominations were based on talent, Kane Brown would’ve never been nominated


      • OlaR February 16, 2017 / 6:20 pm

        Right. She meets the requirements & Kane Brown is meh.


    • Heather February 17, 2017 / 11:19 am

      RaeLynn might be a decent songwriter but her vocals are BAD. Being a cute/nice person & her hitching her wagon to Blake and Warner Brothers is the ONLY reason she still has any attention.


  6. Justin W Adams February 16, 2017 / 4:07 pm

    Is somebody pissed at ZBB or what?

    Eli Young Band??


  7. petemarshall724 February 16, 2017 / 5:44 pm

    Acm is screwed up this time. What about Eric Church? I could see Kane Brown I like his voice and he has potential but he needs to make good music and William Michael Morgan got left out Jon Pardi is beyond me. Zac Brown Band is left out of group but Eli young Band? Why? Chris Lane but at least Old Dominion? that’s another story.


  8. Leah February 17, 2017 / 11:29 am

    ZBB & Church should have had nominations. Not having 5 New Female spots shows how they regard the category. Aubrie Sellers, Brandy Clark, etc. could have easily been put up. Hoping that Miranda wins at least album. TWOTW really is just an excellent COUNTRY album.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Gena R. February 17, 2017 / 12:46 pm

    “I don’t know why Kacey continues to go to these awards show when she and everyone else knows she’s just a token nomination to fill out the field. What did she do in 2016 to earn a nomination? She didn’t release any new music.”

    Well, technically, she did release a Christmas album back in October (including a track with Willie Nelson). 🙂 But otherwise, yeah, it has been almost two years since ‘Pageant Material’…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott February 17, 2017 / 12:49 pm

      Ha you got me! Great album too.


      • Amanda February 17, 2017 / 2:08 pm

        Pageant Material is awesome. Hopefully we’ll get new music from Kacey sometime this year.


        • Gena R. February 17, 2017 / 10:04 pm

          100% agreed!


  10. jmartin103 February 17, 2017 / 2:45 pm

    The categories that irk me the most are the New Male and Vocal Group of the Year categories. First off, why the hell are the Eli Young Band are Vocal Group of the Year? They haven’t done anything in 2016. A better nomination for this category would be Zac Brown Band, considering that they’ve charted two top 40 singles, so much more than EYB did.

    The New Male nominees are a joke. Out of these five artists, Pardi is undoubtedly the one that deserves this win. But the thing that ticks me off here is that they shut out William Michael Morgan from this award. He put out a very solid album with ‘Vinyl’, and “I Met a Girl” went #1 on Mediabase. Janson is kind of “meh” to me; some of his material I can enjoy, like “Holdin’ Her”, and then there’s some that I can’t enjoy, like “Buy Me a Boat”. Then, the other three nominees are a joke. Brown tries to pass himself off as the country Bieber, Lane is just a Sam Hunt wannabe, and Young’s voice is so irritating that it sounds almost like nails running down a chalkboard. How he even got a record deal, I’ll never know.

    As for New Female, it’s appalling that they couldn’t even nominate five nominees. This just proves how badly women are treated at country radio. If they couldn’t nominate a fifth female, they could have chosen Margo Price, or even Jennifer Nettles. I can pretty much see Morris sweeping this award.

    So overall, not too impressed with the nominees, and especially how they shut out Eric Church from all but one category.


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