2016 ACM Awards Predictions
The 2016 ACM Awards are right around the corner, and you know what that means — it's time for Taste of Country readers and staff to square off and predict the winners in one of the biggest country competitions of the year!
This year has some real twists, with Chris Stapleton — who was virtually unknown a year ago — leading the nominations with five, including Male Vocalist, Album and Song of the Year. He's already won New Male Vocalist, and given his history at the CMA and Grammy Awards, he may just sweep this year's ACMs, too.
But Eric Church and Little Big Town have also had huge years, and they are repeat nominees, too. This year's slate is as hard to predict as any in recent memory, with many of the awards up for grabs between equally qualified nominees. Take a look at our picks above, and vote for yours below. We'll compare notes and see who did better on April 4.
Dierks Bentley and Luke Bryan are slated to co-host the April 3 event. It will be the "Somewhere on a Beach" singer's first time hosting the show, as he takes over for Blake Shelton. The 2016 ACM Awards will broadcast live from Las Vegas on CBS at 8PM ET.
Entertainer of the Year
Our Choice: Eric Church
Aldean, Brooks and especially Bryan have had big years, but Church has been on the cusp of this for a few years now, and with the release of Mr. Misunderstood, he has cemented the special relationship he has with his fans. The album hasn't had the same radio success he's seen in the past, but the live side of Church's career has never been stronger, and that's what will carry him across the finish line.
Male Vocalist of the Year
Our Choice: Chris Stapleton
Well, duh. All of the other artists in this category are great, but let's face it ... Stapleton has had a star-making year the likes of which country music has almost never seen, and this is his year.
Female Vocalist of the Year
Our Choice: Carrie Underwood
This is another category that's anyone's to take, but Underwood has had such a big year, and has such a big voice, that she seems like the sure-fire winner this time around.
Vocal Duo of the Year
Our Choice: Joey + Rory
Sure, some of the other duos in this category have had more radio success this year. But nobody else has captured the public's attention the way Joey + Rory have during Joey's brave battle with cancer, and their latest album of hymns is also a runaway hit. Any other choice just wouldn't seem right.
Vocal Group of the Year
Our Choice: Little Big Town
Despite strong showings from the other groups in this category, let's face it ... Little Big Town scored a career-defining hit this year with "Girl Crush," and that's going to net them this category.
Album of the Year
Our Choice: Chris Stapleton, Traveller
Are you kidding? All of the other albums are worthy, but based on Stapleton's CMA and Grammy sweeps, this is his year for Album of the Year.
Single Record of the Year
Our Choice: "Girl Crush," Little Big Town
Another not-particularly-difficult choice. Again, there's plenty of competition here ... but one of these songs set a new record for the most weeks at No. 1, and the others did not. It's LBT this year, no doubt about it.
Video of the Year
Our Choice: "Mr. Misunderstood," Eric Church
Church hit a home run with "Mr. Misunderstood," casting an awkward young man as ostensibly a younger version of himself for a video that takes us all back to those difficult days when we felt like we just didn't fit in. There are other great clips here, but Church's video for "Mr. Misunderstood" touches a universal nerve.
Song of the Year
Our Choice: "Girl Crush," Little Big Town
It's gonna come down to a tough battle between Stapleton and LBT, but despite his huge year, "Girl Crush" is just undeniable. When it comes to song awards, this is the Year of Little Big Town in country music.
Vocal Event of the Year
Our Choice: "Raise 'Em Up," Keith Urban (Feat. Eric Church)
"Home Alone Tonight" is a real contender, but even so, we predict "Raise 'Em Up" just has that extra something special that will carry it over the goal line in 2016.
Everything You Need to Know About the ACMs
Every ACM Song of the Year Winner, Ranked: