Country Perspective’s Worst Country Artist Rankings [Summer Update]

Earlier this year Country Perspective launched the first ever Worst Country Artist Tournament on the blog and it was a smashing success. There was tons of engagement from you the readers, who seemed to enjoy it quite a bit yourselves. We had some upsets, some good discussions and a run-in from Blake Shelton fans. At the end of it all Sam Hunt was crowned the winner of the tournament and declared Country Perspective’s 2016 Worst Country Artist. The second annual tournament won’t be until next year, but until then I thought we could keep the fun going by having some occasional bracketology updates if you will.

Every few months or so I’ll rank the 32 artists who would make the tournament if it was held at this moment, along with who’s in and who’s out. The methodology for choosing the tournament is the same, but with a few added considerations. Your feedback in regards to seeding and the results of the tournament this year are also factored in, along with a little bit greater emphasis on what the artist has done as of late. So if an artist has released a bad album or single lately, it’s going to affect their standing. Same as if they would release something good. So without further ado here would be the current field and seeding as of this moment, with their previous seeding in the tournament in parenthesis.

  1. Sam Hunt
  2. Thomas Rhett
  3. Cole Swindell (#6)
  4. Old Dominion (#5)
  5. Florida Georgia Line (#4)
  6. Kane Brown (#9)
  7. Luke Bryan (#3)
  8. Chase Rice (#10)
  9. Keith Urban (NR)
  10. LoCash (#13)
  11. Dustin Lynch (#14)
  12. Blake Shelton (#15)
  13. Granger Smith (#27)
  14. Kelsea Ballerini (#8)
  15. Brett Eldredge (NR)
  16. Randy Houser (NR)
  17. Chris Lane (#25)
  18. Rascal Flatts (#21)
  19. Jake Owen (NR)
  20. Jason Aldean (#11)
  21. Chase Bryant (NR)
  22. Canaan Smith (NR)
  23. RaeLynn (#16)
  24. Dan + Shay (#12)
  25. Brantley Gilbert (#7)
  26. Jana Kramer (NR)
  27. Joe Nichols (NR)
  28. Kenny Chesney (#19)
  29. Dierks Bentley (NR)
  30. Tyler Farr (#23)
  31. Steven Tyler (#32)
  32. Tucker Beathard (NR)

Out From Last Year: Hunter Hayes, Danielle Bradbery, The Cadillac Three, Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry (disqualified), Michael Ray, Justin Moore, Easton Corbin, Darius Rucker, Billy Currington

First Four Out: Justin Moore, Michael Ray, Clare Dunn, Drew Baldridge

Next Four Out: David Nail, Cassadee Pope, Eli Young Band, Gary Allan


  • The top two seeds are the only ones that remain the same, despite Thomas Rhett making a great case to be #1. The only reason I barely give Hunt the top spot still is because he’s the reigning champion, currently has a bad single at radio and still the most hated amongst you the readers.
  • Cole Swindell and Old Dominion have now moved into the top four seeds, replacing Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line respectively. Swindell knocked off Bryan in the tournament and has released two bad singles this year, along with a bad album. Old Dominion’s “Snapback” is one of the worst songs of the year. Bryan just released his first not completely terrible single in a good while and the hate has seemed to fade a little for him as a result. Florida Georgia Line released the mediocre “H.O.L.Y.” Their new album is expected in August and if it’s terrible, then they could re-take Old Dominion.
  • Kane Brown and Chase Rice both move up in the standings after really strong showings in the tournament. Brown has released two terrible singles and an EP this year, while Rice has released two bad singles himself. You told me Rice was underseeded in the tournament, so here you go.
  • There are multiple new artists that enter the standings, but none higher than Keith Urban. He didn’t even make the tournament, but now he’s a #9 seed after releasing one of the worst country albums of 2016 with Ripcord. And if he releases the Pitbull song off the album to country radio, he could rise higher.
  • LoCash is under-the-radar bad, but they still crack the top ten with releasing yet another horrible single. Dustin Lynch moves up since he’s made it clear he has no interest in being a country artist or releasing quality music. Blake Shelton was upset in the first round by Justin Moore in the tournament thanks to Shelton’s obnoxious fans voting in droves. So he moves up in the seedings, aided by his mediocre singles and album.
  • Granger Smith’s big jump might surprise many of you, as he’s easy to forget. But keep in mind he’s had two bad singles recently and a terrible album in Remington released earlier this year. Kelsea Ballerini is reluctantly dropped in the standings, with “Peter Pan” not being terrible.
  • Brett Eldredge and Randy Houser enter the fold. Eldredge releases nothing but vanilla singles, while Houser released a ridiculous 18 songs long album earlier this year. Not to mention both artists seem checked out and content to churn out mediocrity.
  • Chris Lane moves up based off hate for one song that made many of you vote him deeper than I expected in the tournament. I still feel once “Fix” has had its 15 minutes, Lane will disappear. Jake Owen debuts since he seems content to churn out generic pop country. Jason Aldean takes a big drop down to #20 because he’s released one mediocre single this year and didn’t fare that well in the tournament. With a new album later in the year though, this could definitely change.
  • Both Canaan Smith and Chase Bryan debut right around where they should stall on the airplay chart after being on it for 55 weeks. RaeLynn only drops because she hasn’t released anything new this year, although I hear her new single is not bad. Dan + Shay drop despite releasing a bad album. The lead single is decent though and their peers have released worse music.
  • The biggest tumble is Brantley Gilbert, who hasn’t really done much in 2016. The only single was not outright terrible and you the readers made it clear I overseeded him in the tournament. So he drops like a rock. Jana Kramer enters the standings since she’s decided to go back to releasing terrible singles, while Joe Nichols enters because he’s clearly stopped trying with his music.
  • Kenny Chesney falls, but his new album coming soon could change this. Dierks Bentley unfortunately has done enough in 2016 to get himself into the top 32. Two horrendous singles and a sub par album are hard to ignore and it sucks to see him fall this damn low in quality. Rounding out the top 32, Tyler Farr just barely hangs in thanks to the bombing of his latest single. Steven Tyler moves up a spot by virtue of releasing one of the worst songs this year, but since it didn’t make any impact the gain is minimal. There’s always his upcoming album that could help his case. Finally, Tucker Beathard gains the last spot based on having the worst vocal performance I’ve heard in a song this year. He probably won’t last though, as “Rock On” will go recurrent soon after a mediocre run on the charts.