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2015 CMA Awards Predictions – Make Yours!

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Larry Busacca / Rick Diamond / Ethan Miller, Getty Images

The 2015 CMA Awards are just around the corner, and once again, all of the top talent in country music will square off to take home the biggest awards of the night.

Little Big Town lead the nominations with six this year, followed by Kenny Chesney, Eric Church and Miranda Lambert with five, five and four nods, respectively. Chris Stapleton grabbed three nominations, as did Maddie & Tae, Kacey Musgraves and Sam Hunt. Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan each scored two nominations.

In keeping with our tradition, Taste of Country’s staff has picked our projected winners for the 2015 CMA Awards, and we’re offering our readers the chance to weigh in below by voting for their picks. The 2015 CMA Awards will broadcast live from Nashville on ABC on Nov. 4. Check back after the broadcast to see who was right, and who was wrong, and use the comments section below to tell us why you agree or disagree with our choices.

Entertainer of the Year

Our Prediction: Garth Brooks. Yes, you read that right — Taste of Country staff is predicting that Garth Brooks will bring home the biggest award of the night at the 2015 CMA Awards. Sure, there are younger artists with bigger contemporary hit records in this category, but EOTY is about all-around entertainment value, and Brooks’ record-shattering comeback tour is tough to beat. Plus, it’s not unprecedented — George Strait won this category a couple of years ago on the strength of his final tour.

Female Vocalist of the Year

Our Prediction: Carrie Underwood. Miranda Lambert has won this category several years in a row, but Underwood is coming off a huge year that saw her giving some of the most powerful vocal performances of her career with “Something in the Water” and “Little Toy Guns,” and she demonstrated a different side with her new single, “Smoke Break,” too. This is her year to return in this category.

Male Vocalist of the Year

Our Prediction: Dierks Bentley. Bentley is a perpetual favorite, and he’s coming off a huge year with Riser. The title song of that album is one of the most impassioned recordings he’s ever released, and Taste of Country is predicting this is his year for Male Vocalist.

Album of the Year

Our Prediction: Chris Stapleton. Yes, he’s technically a new artist, and perhaps an unknown quantity to some fans, but Stapleton’s Traveller album is rightfully one of the most-acclaimed releases of this — or any — year, and he’s beloved inside the Nashville community, too, which makes it easier for him to get the support he needs among the CMA voters.

New Artist of the Year

Our Prediction: Sam Hunt. That’s not to say that Kelsea Ballerini — or any of the other fine artists nominated, for that matter — didn’t have a great year, but Hunt seems to have exploded from virtually out of nowhere to become one of the most talked-about and out-of-the-box artists country music has seen in many years. He’s the man this year for New Artist.

Song of the Year (Awarded to Songwriters)

Our Prediction: Little Big Town, “Girl Crush.” Well, duh. The track overcame some initial controversy to explode all over country radio, shattering decades-old records for the most weeks spent at No. 1 in the process. Hunt had a big run with “Take Your Time,” but frankly, if “Girl Crush” doesn’t win, we’d be more than surprised … we’d be shocked.

Single of the Year

Our Prediction: Little Big Town, “Girl Crush.” Again, LBT had the biggest run at No. 1 in the entire history of country radio with this song, which is also one of the most unique recordings to come out of Nashville in a number of years. It’s pretty rare when critical and commercial consensus come together, but in this case they did, and any other choice just wouldn’t be right.

Vocal Group of the Year

Our Prediction: Little Big Town. And not by a small margin, either. Are you kidding? They’ve had not only the best year of their career, but one of the best years that any artist has ever had in the history of country music. This is obviously their year, and to give this to any other group would subject the CMA voters to ridicule in the Nashville music community.

Vocal Duo of the Year

Our Prediction: Maddie & Tae. There’s plenty of talent among these nominees, but Maddie & Tae came off a huge debut single last year with “Girl in a Country Song” to show a very different side of their talents with “Fly.” Their versatility, along with their undeniable vocal blend, make them this year’s obvious choice for Vocal Duo.

Musical Event of the Year

Our Prediction: Keith Urban, “Raise ‘Em Up” (Feat. Eric Church). This is such a cool song, and the fact that Church joined in on it just raised it up that much higher. It’s impossible to resist these two superstars together, even though Willie and Merle could give them a run for their money. “Raise ‘Em Up” is our surefire pick for this year’s Musical Event.

Music Video of the Year

Our Prediction: Maddie & Tae, “Girl in a Country Song.” This is one of the freshest, most innovative video treatments in years, and the fact that it makes its point while being laugh-out-loud funny just makes it that much better. The visual role reversal in this clip really made some people re-think the whole “bro country” movement, and country music as a whole is better off for it.

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