Maren Morris leads CMA Awards nominations with six

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. (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 Dan + Shay, for single, album, song and vocal duo — though you can put an asterisk on that, since only Dan Smyers gets the song nomination for “Tequila,” as one of the tune’s co-writers.

A whole slew of acts got three nominations: Underwood (entertainer, album, female vocalist), Blake Shelton (single, musical event, music video), Dierks Bentley (single, male vocalist, music video), Church (entertainer, album, music video), Brothers Osbourne (single, musical event, music video), Luke Combs (song, male vocalist, musical event), Musgraves (song, female vocalist, music video) and Stapleton (entertainer, single, male vocalist).

Four 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.

The show will be broadcast on ABC from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Nov. 13.

A complete list of nominations:

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

• Garth Brooks

• Eric Church

Chris Stapleton

• Carrie Underwood

• Keith Urban

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

Award goes to Artist, Producer(s), and Mix Engineer

• “Burning Man” – Dierks Bentley Feat. Brothers Osborne

Producers: Ross Copperman, Jon Randall, Arturo Buenahora, Jr.

Mix Engineer: F. Reid Shippen

• “GIRL” – Maren Morris

Producer: Greg Kurstin

Mix Engineer: Greg Kurstin

• “God’s Country” – Blake Shelton

Producer: Scott Hendricks

Mix Engineer: Justin Niebank

• “Millionaire” – Chris Stapleton

Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton

Mix Engineer: Vance Powell

• “Speechless” – Dan + Shay

Producers: Dan Smyers, Scott Hendricks

Mix Engineer: Jeff Juliano

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Award goes to Artist and Producers

Center Point Road – Thomas Rhett

Producers: Dann Huff, Jesse Frasure, Thomas Rhett, Julian Bunetta, The Stereotypes, Cleve Wilson

  • Cry Pretty – Carrie Underwood

Producers: David Garcia, Jim Jonsin, Carrie Underwood

  • Dan + Shay – Dan + Shay

Producers: Dan Smyers, Scott Hendricks

Desperate Man – Eric Church

Producers: Jay Joyce, Arturo Buenahora, Jr.

• GIRL – Maren Morris

Producers: busbee, Maren Morris, Greg Kurstin

SONG OF THE YEAR

Award goes to Songwriter

• “Beautiful Crazy”

Songwriters: Luke Combs, Wyatt B. Durrette III, Robert Williford

• “GIRL”

Songwriters: Maren Morris, Sarah Aarons, Greg Kurstin

• “God’s Country”

Songwriters: Devin Dawson, Jordan Schmidt, Michael Hardy

• “Rainbow”

Songwriters: Natalie Hemby, Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves

• “Tequila”

Songwriters: Dan Smyers, Nicolle Galyon, Jordan Reynolds

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

• Kelsea Ballerini

• Miranda Lambert

• Maren Morris

• Kacey Musgraves

• Carrie Underwood

MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

• Dierks Bentley

• Luke Combs

• Thomas Rhett

• Chris Stapleton

• Keith Urban

VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR

• Lady Antebellum

• Little Big Town

• Midland

• Old Dominion

• Zac Brown Band

VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR

• Brooks & Dunn

• Brothers Osborne

• Dan + Shay

• Florida Georgia Line

• Maddie & Tae

MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR

Award goes to Artists and Producer(s)

• “All My Favorite People” – Maren Morris (feat. Brothers Osborne)

Producers: Maren Morris, busbee

• “Brand New Man” – Brooks & Dunn (with Luke Combs)

Producer: Dann Huff

• “Dive Bar” – Garth Brooks & Blake Shelton

Producer: Garth Brooks

• “Old Town Road (Remix)” – Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus

Producers: YoungKio, Michael Trent Reznor, Atticus Matthew Ross

• “What Happens In A Small Town” – Brantley Gilbert & Lindsay Ell

Producer: Dann Huff

MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR

• Jenee Fleenor, Fiddle

• Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar

• Mac McAnally, Guitar

• Ilya Toshinsky, Banjo/Guitar

• Derek Wells, Guitar

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Award goes to Artist(s) and Director

• “Burning Man” – Dierks Bentley Feat. Brothers Osborne

Director: Wes Edwards

• “GIRL” – Maren Morris

Director: Dave Meyers

• “God’s Country” – Blake Shelton

Director: Sophie Muller

• “Rainbow” – Kacey Musgraves

Director: Hannah Lux Davis

• “Some Of It” – Eric Church

Director: Reid Long

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR

• Cody Johnson

• Ashley McBryde

• Midland

• Carly Pearce

• Morgan Wallen

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