Maren Morris leads CMA Awards Nominations
The Country Music Association went with an all-female hosting lineup for this year’s show, and that woman-celebrating theme continued when nominations for the 53rd annual CMA Awards were announced Wednesday morning, Maren Morris led the pack with six nods.
Morris’ sophomore album, Girl, is up for album of the year, while the song of the same name, a recent No. 1 at country radio, is nominated in the single, song and music video categories. Her collaboration with Brothers Osborne, All My Favorite People, got a nod for musical event of the year. Morris also received a nomination for female vocalist of the year.
In short, Morris got a nomination in every category she possibly could have with the exception of entertainer of the year.
The CMA continues to reserve that top category for veteran acts with a lot of arena tours under their belt, even if that means leaving out obviously zeitgeist-commanding artists who have recently risen to the level of selling out amphitheaters, like Morris and Kacey Musgraves.
The CMAs have sometimes been criticized for nominating an exclusively male slate for entertainer of the year, as was the case, controversially, in 2018. This year, though, Carrie Underwood slipped back into the mix, for the first time since 2016.
(She’ll be returning as host of the Nov. 13 telecast, joined by Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire.) Joining Underwood as entertainer of the year nominees are Garth Brooks, Eric Church, Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban.
Coming in behind Morris with four nominations were Brothers Osbourne, all of them for collaborations with Morris or Dierks Bentley (including single, musical event and music video). Dan + Shay got three, for single, album and vocal duo but Dan Smyers got a fourth for song of the year as the co-writer of one of the duo’s hits, Tequila.
Also getting three nominations, besides Dan + Shay
Underwood (entertainer, album, female vocalist), Blake Shelton (single, musical event, music video), Dierks Bentley (single, male vocalist, music video), Church (entertainer, album, music video), Luke Combs (song, male vocalist, musical event), Musgraves (song, female vocalist, music video) and Stapleton (entertainer, single, male vocalist). Producers Greg Kurstin, Dann Huff and Scott Hendricks also picked up three nods each.
Several other artists came away with two nominations
Thomas Rhett (album, male vocalist), Urban (entertainer, male vocalist), Brooks & Dunn (vocal duo, musical event), Brooks (entertainer, musical event) and Midland (vocal group, new artist). Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” was considered by some to be the biggest country song of the year and by many others (like the Billboard chart) not to be a country song at all. That polarization was reflected in its near-shutout at the CMAs. It did get one nomination, as the remix version with Billy Ray Cyrus picked up a nod for musical event of the year.