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Commentary: Eric Church, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood expected to win big at ACM Awards

Andrew Holleran / Photo editor

With summer quickly approaching, ’tis the season for warm weather, concerts and country music. The Academy of Country Music is scheduled to honor the best of the best in the business Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBS. 

The 48th annual award show will be co-hosted by country heartthrobs Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton live in Las Vegas. 

With so many talented honorees, it is difficult to determine who will take home each prize. Eric Church is going into Sunday’s show with seven nominations, more than any other artist. Hunter Hayes is close behind with six, then followed by Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift with five nominations each. 

Arguably the most coveted award, Entertainer of the Year, has five incredibly worthy candidates: Jason Aldean, Bryan, Swift and both members of power couple Lambert and Shelton. 

Entertainer of the Year and New Artist of the Year awards are chosen by fan voting on the CBS website. The nominees for New Artist of the Year are the three artists who have already won New Male Vocalist (Brantley Gilbert), New Female Vocalist (Jana Kramer) and New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year (Florida Georgia Line).  

With this being the first of three award shows dedicated to country music this year, every award is hard to predict because they’re all really up for grabs. 

As an avid country music fan, I am hoping my predictions are on-point. Here are my picks for who will come out on top:

Album of the Year: Bryan’s “Tailgates and Tanlines” has been a fan favorite this year, filled with hits like, “Country Girl (Shake it for Me)” and “Drunk on You.” 

Song of the Year: Eric Church’s “Springsteen” is definitely my favorite song in this category, and I am sure many others agree. A close contender would be Hunter Hayes’ “Wanted,” another well-loved hit this year.

Male Vocalist of the Year: With his extremely successful album, Bryan gets my vote this year. It seems like Church would be a close second but has only had that one big hit this year.

Female Vocalist of the Year: I have a hard time deciding between Carrie Underwood and Lambert for this award. Both artists are very popular and have had great success this year. I don’t think it could go to any of the other nominated women this go-around (Swift, Kacey Musgraves and Martina McBride). 

New Artist of the Year: Florida Georgia Line will take this home, no question in my mind. Their song, “Cruise,” has been extremely popular since its August 2012 release, and the duo definitely deserves recognition. Since this is chosen by fan votes, I think fans will support the band. 

Entertainer of the Year: Shelton took home this award last year, so he might not be the front-runner, but he has been everywhere this year. With a judging gig on NBC’s “The Voice,” fans have grown to not only know his music but his personality as well. He also just put out a new album last week, “Based on a True Story…” He’s proven that he is not only a great musician but also all around great entertainer and symbol for country music. 

Other awards include, Vocal Duo of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year and Single Record of the Year. There are also some others that will not be aired during Sunday’s telecast, such as Songwriter of the Year and Video of the Year.

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