by Albert Rodriguez -
SGN A&E Writer
Not that I wouldn't rather be watching a new episode of The Amazing Race on Sunday night, but the Academy of Country Music Awards will be a terrific replacement given the list of performers and close calls for the big prizes. Artists scheduled to perform include Lady Antebellum, who leads all nominees with seven, Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Billy Currington, Dierks Bentley w/ Jack Ingram, Darius Rucker, and Creedence Clearwater Revival veteran John Fogerty. It's very probable Taylor Swift will be added to the lineup down the homestretch. Here's a rundown of the top categories of this weekend's ACM Awards.
Entertainer of the Year nominees: Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Zac Brown Band
Will win: Chesney
He seems to win every year, and I'm not sure why. But he's the one to beat.
Should win: Swift
Based on artistic merit, Paisley would run away with it. Based on record sales, tour success, number-one singles, and overall popularity, no one has had a better year than Swift. Not to mention, her trophy case would be complete with this prestigious award, following a Grammy win for Album of the Year in January.
Album of the Year nominees: American Saturday Night - Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum - Lady Antebellum, Play On - Carrie Underwood, Revolution - Miranda Lambert, The Foundation - Zac Brown Band
Will and should win: American Saturday Night
Impressively, the voting membership chose five great albums that cover a spectrum of country music, and among them, Paisley's latest offering is simply unbeatable. If an upset occurs, look for red-hot Lady Antebellum to steal it.
Single / Record of the Year nominees: "Need You Now" - Lady Antebellum, "People Are Crazy" - Billy Currington, "Red Light" - David Nail, "Toes" - Zac Brown Band, "White Liar" - Miranda Lambert
Will win: "Need You Now"
A fantastic list of un-cheesy singles, and due to its current chart position this one will likely go to Lady Antebellum.
Should win: "People Are Crazy"
I won't be crying if the equally deserving Lady Antebellum or Lambert take it, but this ditty from ex-Playgirl cover boy Currington is much too irresistible. The chorus alone - "God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy" - is worthy of something.
Song of the Year nominees: "Cowboy Cassanova," "Need You Now," "People Are Crazy," "White Liar," "You Belong With Me"
Will win: "You Belong With Me"
A consolation prize for losing Entertainer of the Year.
Should win: "People Are Crazy"
Do you even have to ask why?
Top Male Vocalist of the Year nominees: Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, George Strait, Keith Urban
Will and should win: Paisley
Unless voters haven't listened to American Saturday Night, this award goes deservedly to Paisley. Needless to say, he's also the hunkiest of the bunch.
Top Female Vocalist of the Year nominees: Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Lee Ann Womack
Will win: Swift
The other four nominees need only to pick out a nice dress.
Should win: Lambert
Womack is the better singer of the group overall, yet Lambert's most recent album - Revolution - puts her in front this time around.
Top Vocal Group of the Year nominees: Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Randy Rogers Band, Rascal Flatts, Zac Brown Band
Will and should win: Only three of these nominees ought to be in the running, as the other two are just here to fill slots. Still, Lady Antebellum is on a roll, and they'll roll all the way to the podium on Sunday night.
Top New Solo Vocalist of the Year nominees: Luke Bryan, Jamey Johnson, Chris Young
Will and should Win: Johnson
Bryan is an All-American cutie pie, though Johnson trumps him in the singer-songwriter department.
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