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Miranda Lambert leads CMA nominations with 9. What do you think of the ballot?

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Image Credit: Fred Breedon/Nashville Rising/Getty ImagesThe CMA Awards announced their nominations for 2010 over the past two days, and once again, another pretty blonde girl leads the pack with 9 nods, yawn, snore, zzzz…

Wait, WHAT? It’s Miranda Lambert???? Well slap my dog and call me Sally, that is AWESOME.

Yes, in an incredibly satisfying turn of events, Lambert’s Revolution cleaned up on the ballot, earning the shotgun queen nods for Album, Song (2), Single (2), Video (2), Vocalist and the big one, Entertainer of the Year. There’s a bunch of new blood all over the place, in fact — especially in EOTY.

But did they get it right? Follow after the jump, where I’ll break down all the categories to the best of my abilities. Carrie Underwood fans, you may want to just skip straight to the comments section and start typing in all caps.

Entertainer of the Year

Lady Antebellum

Miranda Lambert

Brad Paisley

Keith Urban

Zac Brown Band

Oy. This is an absolutely fascinating selection of acts, and clearly the result of some industry manooooovering to get fresh faces in a category that’s been dominated by the same dudes year in and year out for as long as anyone can remember. But let’s talk facts: What is this category rewarding? Is it album sales? Live performance? Ticket sales? Or an all-around tip o’ the hat to those artists who have done the most to keep country music vital and alive and exciting in the past year?

Depending on your definition — and given the eligibility window of basically July to July of this past year — there seem to be some pretty glaring omissions here. A case could be made for old guard members like Kenny Chesney (despite his much-touted “year off”) and Reba McEntire, who’s arguably had the best year of her career. Carrie Underwood, your reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year, released Play On and has been headlining behind it since March — but the CMAs have never shown her EOTY love (despite being fine with her as a hostess). And to omit Taylor Swift — again, given the eligibility window — is pretty seriously disingenuous. Many voters may feel she’s been overexposed, but that doesn’t change the totality of her 2009-2010 domination… and hey, who overexposed her in the first place?

Worth noting: It’s apparently been three decades since the CMAs have nominated two solo women for EOTY in the same year. Did I say “oy” already?

I understand why Lady A and Miranda are up there — one has the year’s biggest-selling album, the other has the most critically-acclaimed — but neither has headlined on anything resembling a large scale, and I’m not sure they can best the twin towers of Paisley and Urban (who seems to be skating through largely on charm these days). As for the Zac Brown Band: Well, they do barbecue for their fans before shows. They’re also still up-and-coming enough to be nominated for Best New Artist. Again. So.

Female Vocalist of the Year

Miranda Lambert

Martina McBride

Reba McEntire

Taylor Swift

Carrie Underwood

They could throw this one to Carrie as a consolation prize, and I certainly wouldn’t argue against a Reba win. But this seems to be the one category Miranda has on lockdown.

Male Vocalist of the Year

Dierks Bentley

Brad Paisley

Blake Shelton

George Strait

Keith Urban

Paisley has won this category the last three years running, and despite the likeability of Dierks and Shelton (both of whom I’m very happy to see nominated), I don’t see him losing it this year, either. One question: Where’s Jason Aldean? According to the internets, he has spent more time at No. 1 than any other country artist in the last 14 months — and whether or not you like his style, the boy can sing. Possible he deserved a slot more than Urban?

Album of the Year

(Award goes to Artist and Producer(s))

Need You Now

Lady Antebellum

Produced by Paul Worley and Lady Antebellum

Capitol Records Nashville

Play On

Carrie Underwood

Produced by Mark Bright and Max Martin

19 Recordings Limited/Arista Nashville

Revolution

Miranda Lambert

Produced by Frank Liddell and Mike Wrucke

Columbia Nashville

Twang

George Strait

Produced by Tony Brown and George Strait

MCA Nashville

Up On The Ridge

Dierks Bentley

Produced by Jon Randall Stewart

Capitol Records Nashville

Need You Now and Play On are big shiny popular choices, but in terms of consistent artistic quality — in my opinion — both Revolution and Dierks’ terrific bluegrass experiment Up On The Ridge have them beat. King George gets a nom just because he’s the King, and because, upon review, this was an exceedingly weak year for albums. Revolution will and should win.

Musical Event of the Year

(Award goes to each Artist)

“Bad Angel”

Dierks Bentley featuring Miranda Lambert and Jamey Johnson

Capitol Records Nashville

“Can’t You See”

Zac Brown Band featuring Kid Rock

Southern Ground/Atlantic Records

“Hillbilly Bone”

Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins

Reprise Records

“I’m Alive”

Kenny Chesney with Dave Matthews

BNA Records

“Till The End”

Alan Jackson with Lee Ann Womack

Arista Nashville

I’m personally in favor of “Bad Angel,” but have some concerns that ACM/CMT winner “Hillbilly Bone” will continue its sweep of the category.

New Artist of the Year

Luke Bryan

Easton Corbin

Jerrod Niemann

Chris Young

Zac Brown Band

I may have already mentioned this, but ZBB was nominated for this award last year, too. So aside from weird eligibility rules, what exactly would qualify them to once again be “new”? It sure would be nice to see a legitimate 2009-2010 breakout like Easton Corbin take the prize. But I’m pretty sure it’ll be Zac Brown.

Vocal Group of the Year

Lady Antebellum

Little Big Town

Rascal Flatts

The Band Perry

Zac Brown Band

Tight race between ZBB and Lady A. The Band Perry will take advantage of the split vote, and sneak through for a win.*  (*Is joke.)

Vocal Duo of the Year

Brooks & Dunn

Joey + Rory

Montgomery Gentry

Steel Magnolia

Sugarland

I am retiring from writing about country music, right after I cover the next 6 awards shows. I will prevent anyone else from covering them, because no one wants to deprive me of my One Last Big Moment, seeing as how I am retiring, any second now.

Single of the Year

(Award goes to Artist and Producer(s))

“A Little More Country Than That”

Easton Corbin

Produced by Carson Chamberlain

Mercury Nashville

“Hillbilly Bone”

Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins

Produced by Scott Hendricks

Reprise Records

“Need You Now”

Lady Antebellum

Produced by Paul Worley and Lady Antebellum

Capitol Records Nashville

“The House That Built Me”

Miranda Lambert

Produced by Frank Liddell and Mike Wrucke

Columbia Nashville

“White Liar”

Miranda Lambert

Produced by Frank Liddell and Mike Wrucke

Columbia Nashville

Split votes for Miranda should hand it to “Need You Now.”

Song of the Year

(Award goes to Songwriter(s))

“A Little More Country Than That”

Rory Lee Feek, Don Poythress, and Wynn Varble

“Need You Now”

Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Josh Kear

“The House That Built Me”

Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin

“Toes”

Zac Brown, Wyatt Durrette, John Driskell Hopkins, and Shawn Mullins

“White Liar”

Miranda Lambert and Natalie Hemby

Split votes for Miranda should hand it to “Need You Now.” (Note to Team Miranda: Now would be the time to pick one song and throw everything behind it. I vote “House.”)

Music Video of the Year

(Award goes to Artist and Director)

“Hillbilly Bone”

Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins

Directed by Roman White

“Need You Now”

Lady Antebellum

Directed by David McClister

“The House That Built Me”

Miranda Lambert

Directed by Trey Fanjoy

“Water”

Brad Paisley

Directed by Jim Shea

“White Liar”

Miranda Lambert

Directed by Chris Hicky

Oh, I loved that “White Liar” video, but I’m open to anything. I will not be screaming and throwing a shoe at the TV if this one doesn’t go my way.

Musician of the Year

Paul Franklin – Steel Guitar

Dann Huff – Guitar

Brent Mason – Guitar

Mac McAnally – Guitar

Randy Scruggs – Guitar

Your guess is as good as mine on this one, Mixers. And in fact, let’s go ahead and open this up to you. What do you think of these nominations? Who should/will win, and who got snubbed? (**cough**Jason Aldean**cough**) Let’s hear your thoughts!

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