1. Winner: Chris Stapleton
With the whiskey-soaked voice of a bearded angel, Chris Stapleton burst onto the mainstream scene at the 2015 CMA Awards when he won Album, Male Vocalist and New Artist of the Year. The honeymoon ain’t over. In 2016, Chris won Male Vocalist and Music Video of the Year. In 2017, he scored wins for Album and Male Vocalist of the Year. This year, Chris won Song, Single and Male Vocalist of the Year. The dude is the darling of the CMAs.
2. Losers: Florida Georgia Line
BK and T-Hubb failed to win Vocal Duo of the Year for the third consecutive year as Brothers Osborne continued their reign. Okay, that’s nothing to cry over, but the fact that the biggest song of the year—”Meant to Be” (50 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart)—failed to win Musical Event of the Year, Single of the Year or Song of the Year (wasn’t nominated) is a real slap in the face.
3. Winner: Keith Urban
In 2016, Keith was nominated for Entertainer, Album, Male Vocalist and Musical Event of the Year. He won nothing. In 2017, Keith was nominated four times for Entertainer, Male Vocalist, Single and Music Video of the Year. He managed to win Single of the Year for “Blue Ain’t Your Color.” One win in the past eight nominations ain’t great, but you can forget that now as Keith took home the biggest prize of the night: Entertainer of the Year. That’s a huge win.
4. Losers: Dan + Shay
As Brothers Osborne admitted in their acceptance speech for Vocal Duo of the Year, they thought Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney of Dan + Shay would be accepting the award. Again, this is a defeat Dan + Shay can live with, but “Tequila” went 0 for 3 for Song, Single and Music Video of the Year. Song of the Year (awarded to songwriters) seemed deserving for Nicolle Galyon, Jordan Reynolds and Dan Smyers, but it was not meant to be.
5. Winner: Kacey Musgraves
Kacey’s Golden Hour felt like a dark horse for Album of the Year, but she became one of the few artists to best Chris Stapleton in any CMA Awards category, not to mention topping Thomas Rhett, Dierks Bentley, and Keith Urban. Let’s hear it for Kacey.
6. Loser: Dierks Bentley
Dierks went 0 for 3 for Album, Male Vocalist and Musical Event of the Year. Over his career, Dierks has been nominated for 24 CMA Awards, with only three wins. He has been nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year seven times . . . with 0 wins. What does Dierks have to do to get some CMA hardware? Growing a longer beard a la Stapleton may be the answer.
7. Winners: Brothers Osborne, Kenny Chesney, David Lee Murphy, Luke Combs, Old Dominion, Thomas Rhett and Carrie Underwood
They each ended the night with one win, and that makes them Winners.
8. Losers: Female Artists
Yeah, Kacey scored a huge win with Album of the Year, and they had to give Female Vocalist of the Year to a female, but that was it for female artists. The ladies got shut out for Entertainer of the Year (no nominations), Musical Event of the Year (Maren Morris, Miranda Lambert and Bebe Rexha), Music Video of the Year (Sugarland, Carrie Underwood and Randee St. Nichilos), Song of the Year (Nicolle Galyon), Single of the Year (Miranda Lambert and Bebe Rexha), New Artist of the Year (Lauren Alaina), Vocal Group of the Year (Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town) and Vocal Duo of the Year (Maddie & Tae and Sugarland).
main photo by Curtis Hilbun, AFF-USA.com