Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire are posing for a picture

Whiskey Riff Predicts The Winners Of The 53rd Annual CMA Awards

The CMA Awards are getting underway tomorrow night, and as always, it’s time to make our picks for who is going to take home some hardware this year.

To be honest, many of the categories seem pretty obvious to me. We’re talkin’ categories where there seems to be a clear front runner, and it would take a miracle for them to be upset. However, some others, not so much. But, while we do get to place our own vote, this is only one opinion and there’s no telling what the rest of the voters are going to do. And, that’s where the fun in all of this lies.

So without further ado, here are our stone cold locks, guaranteed winners, our picks for the 53rd Annual CMA Awards.

Entertainer of the Year
Garth Brooks
Eric Church
Chris Stapleton
Carrie Underwood
Keith Urban

Winner: Eric Church

We’ve been saying it for a while now, Eric Church for Entertainer of the Year, however I can’t help but think Carrie might have this one sealed up. You can pretty easily make a case for Carrie, and no doubt she’s had a big year, but I still think Eric deserves to win the night’s top honor. At the end of the day, despite what my gut might tell me, I just can’t bring myself to write in anybody but Eric.

*More on this category tomorrow morning. Stay tuned.

Male Vocalist of the Year
Dierks Bentley
Luke Combs
Chris Stapleton
Keith Urban
Thomas Rhett

Winner: Luke Combs

There is absolutely no reason why this category shouldn’t go to Luke Combs. He’s had an absolute monster of a year, he’s breaking record after record, basically everything he touches turns to solid gold right now. My only reservation is that voters might deem him too young and too new to win it. However, Randy Travis took home the award in 1987, a few years before he turned 30 and there’s no reason why Luke can’t do the same.

Female Vocalist of the Year
Carrie Underwood
Miranda Lambert
Kacey Musgraves
Kelsea Ballerini
Maren Morris

Winner: Carrie Underwood

Kacey and Maren both have a horse in this race, but with Carrie looking to possibly grab Entertainer of the Year, I can’t see her losing this one.

New Artist of the Year
Cody Johnson
Ashley McBryde
Carly Pearce
Morgan Wallen

Winner: Ashley McBryde

This category is pretty stacked and you can’t really complain about any of them winning, that being said, I would like to see Cody Johnson or Ashley McBryde take this award home. For my money, Cody had one of the best albums of the entire year, but I have a gut feeling Ashley will be standing on that stage when it’s all said and done.

Album Of The Year
Center Point Road – Thomas Rhett
Cry Pretty – Carrie Underwood
Dan + Shay – Dan + Shay
Desperate Man – Eric Church
Girl – Maren Morris

Winner: Eric Church – Desperate Man

How could he not?

Vocal Duo of the Year
Florida Georgia Line
Brothers Osborne
Brooks & Dunn
Dan + Shay
Maddie & Tae

Winner: Dan + Shay

Would love to see Brooks and Dunn take this one for old time sake, but it’s Dan + Shay’s category to lose. They won’t.

Vocal Group of the Year
Little Big Town
Lady Antebellum
Old Dominion
Zac Brown Band

Winner: Old Dominion

I don’t know why, but Old Dominion is on some kind of bizarre hot streak with awards voters lately. Midland should win, but I don’t see it. If one thing is for sure, Zac Brown will most definitely NOT be winning this category after that dumpster fire of an album he put out.

Song of the Year 
“Beautiful Crazy,” – Luke Combs, Wyatt B. Durrette II, Robert Williford
“Girl,” – Maren Morris, Sarah Aarons, Greg Kurstin
“God’s Country,” – Devin Dawson, Jordan Schmidt, Michael Hardy
“Rainbow,” – Natalie Hemby, Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves
“Tequila,” – Dan Smyers, Nicolle Galyon, Jordan Reynolds

Winner: “Tequila” 

I don’t really think there is a clear favorite in this category this year, but I think voters will give it to Dan + Shay. I loved and voted for “Beautiful Crazy,” but “Tequila” was HUGE and I think the voters will reward that.

Single of the Year 
“Burning Man,” – Dierks Bentley feat. Brothers Osborne
“Girl,” – Maren Morris
“God’s Country,” – Blake Shelton
“Millionaire,” – Chris Stapleton
“Speechless,” – Dan + Shay

Winner: “Girl”

Again with no real standouts, I think Maren might have the best shot to win this category. “God’s Country” was a big song for Blake, but I don’t know if it’s exactly what the voters want this year. Either way it should be close.

Musical Event of the Year
“All My Favorite People” – Maren Morris & Brothers Osborne
“Brand New Man” – Brooks & Dunn & Luke Combs
“Dive Bar” – Garth Brooks & Blake Shelton
“Old Town Road (Remix)” – Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus
“What Happens In A Small Town” – Brantley Gilbert & Lindsay Ell

Winner: “Brand New Man”

“Old Town Road” probably deserves it, but the nomination alone is going to serve as their consolation prize for a big song. No way the voters are going to award that song though. Still, the “Brand New Man” collaboration gets me pretty damn jacked up. “Dive Bar” is corny, and the other two just don’t have enough gas in the tank to really get me there.

There you have it. Take it to the bank, call your bookie, log on to whatever offshore gambling site you use and lock in those picks. It’s guaranteed money.

And as always, we’re going to be live-tweeting all the excitement tomorrow so make sure you’re following us on Twitter. It’s pretty much guaranteed to be the highlight of the night.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock