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CMA nominations 2013: The snubs and surprises

Kacey-Musgraves-Review

Now that the 47th Annual CMA award nominations have been announced, here are a few thoughts on who made the cut, who was sorely left out — and the things that just don’t make much sense:

SURPRISE! Kacey Musgraves The Nashville newcomer scored six nominations (five for her own music, one for co-writing Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart”), which tied pack-leader Taylor Swift. Musgraves may not have the sales power of Swift, but she clearly has the industry support. Not many Best New Artist nominees also find themselves competing for awards like Best Female Artist or Album of the Year, a category that her disc Same Trailer Different Park absolutely deserves to win.

SNUB: Carrie Underwood An acclaimed album, four number one singles, and a 110-date arena tour (not to mention her new Sunday Night Football duties) were not enough to finally earn the perennial CMA Awards host her first Entertainer of the Year nomination. Annoyingly, this snub has been going on for a while. Methinks there must be record label politics holding her back. How else do you explain Jason Aldean, whose recent singles have floundered, sneaking into the category ahead of her? READ FULL STORY

Best and Worst 2012: The year in country music

Ah, what a year in music it’s been! Here at EW, we’ve been in retrospective overdrive, looking back at the best and worst albums, singles, lyrics, and soundtracks that 2012 had to offer.

But since I’m already primed to hop onto a plane and head home down South for the holidays, I thought it might be fun to take let my music tastes do the same and take a deep-dive into the country music world. Here’s my take on the year that was — country music style:

BEST: Little Big Town The hard-working quartet has always had the respect of Nashville for their on-point harmonies and sumptuous live performances, so it was nice to see them find true mainstream success in 2012. “Pontoon” was a fresh, tongue-in-cheek summer smash that motorboated all the way to No. 1.

BEST: Eric Church With a sand-papery voice, a trademark baseball cap (which have now officially replaced cowboy hats), a drink in his hand, and some genuinely great melodies, Eric Church joined country’s A-list this year. “Springsteen” was a wide-open crossover hit that gave his confidently country disc Chief the mainstream appeal it deserved. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Chief won the CMA Award for Album of the Year, either. READ FULL STORY

CMA Awards: Best and worst of the broadcast

The real winners were announced last night at the 46th Annual Country Music Association Awards. But here are a few more honors from the telecast you should feel free to weigh in on:

Best Hosts: There really aren’t enough superlatives to describe the effervescent duo of Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood — they’re simply the best. If you were to look through the last five years of Oscar/Grammy/Tony/Emmy telecasts, you’d be hard pressed to find one joke that could compete with Paisleywood’s opening monologue. Their goofy (and increasingly saucy) hosting style always brings the laughs, and they keep the show moving briskly. On top of that, they both performed their own singles, delivered heartfelt tributes to Andy Griffith and Connie Smith, and demonstrated impressive “Gangnam Style” technique. Do better than that, Seth MacFarlane.

Best performance: I’m a sucker for the CMA Awards’ tribute performances (I still get a little teary thinking about last year’s Glen Campbell effort), and this year’s Willie Nelson-centered medley was no exception. Charles Kelly and Hillary Scott (of Lady Antebellum) sounded terrific on “Always on My Mind,” as did Blake Shelton and Keith Urban on “Whiskey River” and Faith Hill and Tim McGraw on “Good Hearted Woman.” The whole thing felt so warm that when Nelson himself took the stage and sang “The life I love is making music with my friends,” (from “On the Road Again”), you really believed it was happening in that moment. Watch below. READ FULL STORY

Who should win at the CMA Awards? -- POLLS

Tonight is country music’s biggest night. The 46th annual Country Music Association Awards will air at 8:00 p.m. on ABC, and it’s already shaping up to be a great show.

Why? Well, because the CMA Awards are always a great show. In an overcrowded field of country awards (ACAs, I still haven’t warmed up to you), the CMA Awards remain the most prestigious — and most entertaining — of the bunch.

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, who have become quite the formidable comic duo, are returning for a fifth year as hosts (check out their interview about the show here), and performances from stars like Kelly Clarkson and The Band Perry, both of whom will perform new singles, as well as Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean will keep the night rocking.

But at the center of the awards are still, believe it or not, the actual awards! We’ve already given you our thoughts on all the nominations (as well as all the snubs and surprises), but now let’s handicap who might win in the major categories. READ FULL STORY

CMA Awards 2012: Snubs and surprises

The 46th Annual CMA award nominations were announced yesterday. Here are a few thoughts on who made the cut — and who was sorely left out:

SURPRISE! Kelly Clarkson: I don’t know that anyone in the country community dislikes Kelly Clarkson. Heck, I don’t know if anyone in any community dislikes Kelly Clarkson. But it rings rather false that she scored a Female Vocalist of the Year nomination. Though the original American Idol did have a country remix of her single “Mr. Know It All” out to radio last year, and though she did appear on Jason Aldean’s “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” two songs does not a country singer make — even if she is dating Reba McEntire’s stepson. Should Lady Gaga have gotten a nomination after putting out a country remix of “Born This Way”? READ FULL STORY

CMT Music Awards: Best and worst of the broadcast

The actual winners were announced last night at the CMT Music Awards. But here are a few more honors from the telecast that you should feel free to weigh in on:

Best Overall Performance Willie Nelson assembled an all-star crew to help him sing the hilarious “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.” The ponytailed veteran was joined by Darius Rucker, Toby Keith, Zac Brown, and Jamey Johnson, all of whom looked delighted to be sharing the stage with the legendary toker.

(Honorable Mention Little Big Town, who always sound fantastic, delivered a fun rendition of their summer single “Pontoon.” On a night when A-listers like Kenny Chesney, the Zac Brown Band, and Luke Bryan delivered competent but forgettable performances, theirs might legitimately have earned the quartet a few new listeners. Also, props to Kellie Pickler for her “Motorboatin'” introduction.) READ FULL STORY

Album Sales: Jack White's 'Blunderbuss' debuts at No. 1; The Wanted can't compete with One Direction

After records with the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, and the Dead Weather, Jack White released his first solo record this week  — and earned the first no. 1 album of his career.

Blunderbuss entered the Billboard 200 at the top with sales of 138,000. That was enough to put him ahead of new debuts from Lee Brice, Kip Moore, and The Wanted, whose EP couldn’t overtake the seventh-week sales of “rivals” One Direction.

Here’s how the chart shook out:

1. Jack White, Blunderbuss, 138,000
Although the former White Stripes mastermind has had eight albums reach the Top 10, his best chart position until now came in 2007, when The Stripes’ Icky Thump debuted (and peaked) in second place.

2. Adele, 21, 84,000
After 62 weeks on the chart, Adele’s blockbuster album, the fourth-best selling in the last ten years, has now sold over 8.9 million copies and is still going strong. Even if it trails a bit in the months to come, it’s pretty much guaranteed to reach diamond certification for sales of 10 million copies. Whether any other album can ever reach those heights remains to be seen; only three albums have sold more in the last decade: Norah Jones’s Come Away With Me (10,797,000), Eminem’s The Eminem Show (10,049,000), and Usher’s Confessions (9,968,000).

3. Lionel Richie, Tuskegee, 78,000
In its fifth week, Lionel Richie’s country collaboration album dipped from 1 to 3 and has now sold an impressive 612,000 copies. Perhaps Richie’s renewed cachet in the music biz is why he suddenly realized he has too many “personal scheduling conflicts” to be a part of ABC’s summer reality series Duets. (John Legend has stepped in to replace him.)

4. One Direction, Up All Night, 50,000
The U.K. boy banders’ breakout, which started with 176,000 copies in March, ticked up from 5-4 this week. After seven frames on the chart, the group’s debut has sold 541,000 copies. While their single “What Makes You Beautiful” has been downloaded less than The Wanted’s “Glad You Came” (1.8 million vs. 2.2 million downloads), they have the clear bragging rights when it comes to album sales.

5. Lee Brice, Hard 2 Love, 46,000
The country singer’s sophomore release improved upon his 2010 debut, Love Like Crazy, which peaked at No. 44 in 2010. His single “A Woman Like You” recently hit No. 1 on the Country Songs chart.

6. Kip Moore, Up All Night, 37,000
That’s right, there’s another Up All Night on the chart — and it beat The Wanted, too! The “Something ‘Bout a Truck” singer  launched his debut country album into sixth place. “Truck” currently sits at No. 9 on the Country Songs chart.

7. The Wanted, The Wanted, 34,000
Maybe calling Christina Aguilera a “total bitch” wasn’t such a hot idea. The British boy band’s seven-song EP (their U.S. debut) didn’t sell as well as many prognosticators expected, especially given the blockbuster success of their Ibiza-tinged single “Glad You Came.” Although the single hasn’t left the Top 5 of the Hot 100 for the past nine weeks, their self-titled collection sold less than 1/5th of One Direction’s Up All Night first-week sales (they clocked 176,000). Perhaps The Wanted will go the route of acts like the Black Eyed Peas, whose dancey singles set radio and iTunes on fire, but don’t move many albums. Or perhaps fans are just waiting for a full-length album to pull the trigger. We’ll find out when the band release their LP in the fall.

8. Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, 32,000
In its fourth week, Minaj’s sophomore set fell from 6 to 9 (-33 percent) and has now sold 413,000 total copies. But with her newly released video for “Starships,” sales may stabilize in the weeks to come.

9. Gotye, Making Mirrors, 32,000
His breakthrough single “Somebody That I Used To Know” (featuring Kimbra) is still selling strong, returning to the No. 1 spot on the Hot Digital songs chart this week. The Belgian-born, Australia-raised star has now spent four weeks in the Top 10.

10. Jason Mraz, Love Is A Four Letter Word, 29,000
After a No. 2 debut last week, the super-chill “I Won’t Give Up” singer’s album suffered a 71 percent drop.

What do you think of this week’s chart? Did you pick up any of these albums?

More on EW.com:
Album sales: Lionel Richie triumphs again, Jason Mraz grabs second place
Album sales: Lionel Richie climbs to No. 1; Gotye races up the chart following ‘SNL’

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