CMA Award Predictions: Who Will Win?

PHOTO Country star Miranda Lambert is shown.
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The 44th Annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards will be handed out Wednesday night in Nashville, and all eyes will be on lead nominee Miranda Lambert.

She's got nine nods including Entertainer and Album of the Year for her platinum project "Revolution." That's the most nominations ever for a female act, and it ties her with Merle Haggard's nine nods back in 1970. Alan Jackson is the only artist to surpass that number, with 10 nominations in 2002.

Miranda is one of several acts taking over the top CMA categories this year. Here's a look at this year's nominees and an analysis of who should win the trophy -- versus who will actually take it home -- in each category.

Entertainer of the Year: Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Zac Brown Band

Who Should Win?:

Three artists -- Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert and Zac Brown Band -- earned their first Entertainer of the Year nominations this year, going up against previous winner Keith Urban and six-time Entertainer nominee Brad Paisley. Many industry insiders think Paisley is overdue for a win in this category, and he's had a solid year with his H2O World Tour doing brisk business on the road.

Who Will Win?:

Expect to see one of the first-time nominees win CMA Entertainer of the Year. Miranda Lambert had a breakthrough year with her monster hit "The House That Built Me" and the launch of her first headlining tour. No country act had a bigger year than Lady Antebellum though. Their triple-platinum album "Need You Now," produced the international hit title track, and they've got the kind of career momentum behind them that excites voters. Look for Lady Antebellum to become the first vocal group to win the CMA's top prize since the Dixie Chicks back in 2000.

Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Taylor Swift Carrie Underwood

Who Should Win?:

Taylor Swift isn't likely to repeat last year's win in this category since she was between albums when CMA voting occurred. Miranda Lambert is an industry darling who finally reached the masses this year with her chart toppers "White Liar" and "The House That Built Me," so the Female Vocalist trophy is hers to lose.

Who Will Win?:

Miranda Lambert.

Male Vocalist of the Year: Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Keith Urban

Who Should Win?:

Dierks Bentley and Blake Shelton are the only two artists in this category who haven't won the Male Vocalist trophy before. Paisley and Urban have both won it three times, and Strait is a five-time winner here. Look for it to go to one of the newcomers.

Who Will Win?:

Blake Shelton has really come into his own as a consistent hit-maker in the last year with the number one hits "Hillbilly Bone" with Trace Adkins and "All About Tonight." A recent induction into the Grand Ole Opry has kept Shelton's profile high with voters lately, so he is a favorite to pull off his first CMA win this year.

Album of the Year [award to artist and producer(s)]: Lady Antebellum -- "Need You Now," Carrie Underwood -- "Play On," Miranda Lambert -- "Revolution," George Strait -- "Twang," Dierks Bentley -- "Up on the Ridge."

Who Should Win?:

If this category was based on album sales alone, Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" would be the clear winner. It's gone triple platinum in the United States and sold well around the world, thanks to the monster title cut.

Who Will Win?:

Miranda Lambert's nine CMA nominations are a clear indication they loved her latest platinum album, "Revolution." The often-fiery singer/songwriter showed some people a more delicate side of herself with the career-making song "The House That Built Me" on this album, and even the members of Lady Antebellum have said they think she deserves to win this category.

Single of the Year: "A Little More Country Than That" --Easton Corbin, "Hillbilly Bone" -- Blake Shelton/Trace Adkins, "Need You Now" -- Lady Antebellum, "The House That Built Me" --Miranda Lambert, "White Liar" --Miranda Lambert

Who Should Win?:

Single of the Year is meant to honor both the production and more of the commercial aspects of a song's success. While Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me" bumped her career up to a new level, Lady Antebellum took country music around the world and back onto pop stations with their crossover hit "Need You Now."

Who Will Win?:

Lady Antebellum pretty much has a lock on this category, though Lambert could pull out an upset with "The House That Built Me."

Song of the Year?: "A Little More Country Than That" -- Easton Corbin, "Need You Now" -- Lady Antebellum, "The House That Built Me" --Miranda Lambert, "Toes" -- Zac Brown Band, "White Liar" --Miranda Lambert

Who Should Win?:

CMA voters typically honor a song with meaty, meaningful lyrics in the Song of the Year category, and no tune tugged at the heartstrings like "The House That Built Me" this year.

Who Will Win?:

Look for "The House That Built Me" songwriters Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin accepting this trophy onstage Wednesday night.

Video of the Year: "Hillbilly Bone" -- Blake Shelton/Trace Adkins, "Need You Now" -- Lady Antebellum, "The House That Built Me" -- Miranda Lambert, "Water" --Brad Paisley, "White Liar" -- Miranda Lambert

Who Should Win?:

Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins are known as two of country music's funniest guys, and they showed off their comedic chops in the video for "Hillbilly Bone." Shelton's fiancé Miranda Lambert also tickled a few funny bones with her look at a wedding gone awry in the "White Liar" clip.

Who Will Win?:

Brad Paisley is a three-time winner in this category, and he's a favorite to take it a fourth time for his high-concept "Water" video. The clip incorporated videos from fans and also inspired the theme for his highly successful H20 World Tour.

Vocal Duo of the Year: Brooks & Dunn, Joey & Rory, Montgomery Gentry, Steel Magnolia, Sugarland

Who Should Win?:

Brooks & Dunn said adios to fans with their Last Rodeo tour this year, and CMA voters may give the Vocal Duo trophy to them a record 15th time as a pat on the back for such an impressive career. This will most likely be the last time Brooks & Dunn ever appear in this category.

Who Will Win?:

Sugarland has taken this category the last three years in a row, and they're now riding high with a hit song "Stuck Like Glue" and a brand-new number one album "The Incredible Machine." The CMA seems to be honoring acts it believes are actively shaping the future of country music this year, so look for Sugarland to triumph over Brooks & Dunn.

Vocal Group of the Year: Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry, Zac Brown Band

Who Should Win?:

Zac Brown Band is riding high with a string of hit songs from their double-platinum debut "The Foundation" and a Best New Artist win at the Grammy Awards. They're also a huge act on the road with plans to co-headline stadium shows next year with Kenny Chesney.

Who Will Win?:

Reigning Vocal Group of the Year Lady Antebellum is all but assured a repeat in this category thanks to their hugely successful single and album "Need You Now."

New Artist: Luke Bryan, Easton Corbin, Jerrod Niemann, Chris Young, Zac Brown Band

Who Should Win?:

Zac Brown Band stands head and shoulders above every other act in this category. They're already nominated for Entertainer of the Year this year, so it seems they've got the New Artist trophy in the bag.

Who Will Win?:

Zac Brown Band

Musical Event of the Year: "Bad Angel" -- Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Jamey Johnson, "Can't You See" -- Zac Brown Band featuring Kid Rock, "Hillbilly Bone" -- Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins, "I'm Alive" -- Kenny Chesney with Dave Matthews, "'Til the End" -- Alan Jackson with Lee Ann Womack

Who Should Win?:

Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins' "Hillbilly Bone" is the only number-one hit in this category and showcased both artists' well-known senses of humor.

Who Will Win?:

Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood host the 44th Annual CMA Awards Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. EST on ABC. Keith Urban, Taylor Swift, George Strait, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Lady Antebellum and Miranda Lambert are set to perform on the show.

Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow will also make her debut as a country singer with a performance of "Country Strong," the title song to her new movie coming out in January.

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