Movie Musical Bracket

March 24, 2017

My good buddy, Mike Sheehan, and I recently recorded a podcast episode debating our favorite movie musicals since the year 2000. In celebration of March Madness, we used a bracket-style to determine the rankings, match-ups, and eventually the winner. Here is the process that went with figuring out the rankings and at the bottom is the episode. Enjoy!

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This post is to explain how we came up with the movies and the rankings for our Movie Musical Bracket.

First, we needed a topic and both Mike and I love movie musicals, and statistically there weren’t too many of them to choose from. Well, that’s what we thought at first before realizing there are plenty of classic movie musicals, so to stay clear from them we decided to keep the pool of films to more recent memory. We decided to only allow movie musicals since the year 2000 to be in the bracket, but even deciding that would be a lot of work. Luckily, we found a Buzzfeed article where Louis Peitzman ranked his favorite movie musicals that were released after the year 2000.

Perfect! Until Mike realized it omitted one of his favorite movie musicals: Moulin Rouge. So we just decided to throw that film in the mix as well. So we had Moulin Rouge plus 23 of the films Mr. Peitzman had on his list as the pool of films trying so hard to make it into our bracket. Now we needed to decide how to get that list down to 8.

We decided to have an Objective Score and a Subjective Score. The Objective Score was the sum of the film’s IMDB Rating + 10% of its Rotten Tomatoes Score + the films domestic box office gross/10,000,000 (with 10 being the max score). Basically, each category’s max score would be 10, so a film’s perfect score would be 30. And we felt that the mixture of IMDB (fan voting) + Rotten Tomatoes (critic’s gauge) + Box Office (pop culture relevance) was a fair enough system.

But then we had a Subjective Score, which was our separate rankings of our favorite 8 films from the pool. We ranked them 1 through 8 and used a point system: 15 points to the 1st ranked film, 13 points to the 2nd ranked film, 11 points to the 3rd ranked film, etc. Again, the max score for any film would be 30 points.

After combining all of the scores, we had our rankings. But then we discussed our main problem: what if we disagreed with a match-up? What would the tie-breaking mechanism be? We can’t just flip a coin or have the higher seed win. So we decided that since we’re the ones debating, our rankings should matter as the tie-break. Whenever we have a tie, we would look only at the Subjective Totals and the film with the higher Subjective Score would win. If that also resulted in a tie, then the higher seed won.

And there you have it! Here are how the rankings ended up and the first round match-ups:

1. La La Land (47.7 points)
2. Les Miserables (44.5 points)
3. Once (38.6 points)
4. Moulin Rouge (35.9 points)
5. Tangled (33.7 points)
6. Chicago (30.8 points)
7. Sweeney Todd (30.2 points)
8. Sing Street (28.9 points)

1. La La Land vs. 8. Sing Street
2. Les Miserables vs. 7. Sweeney Todd
3. Once vs. 6. Chicago
4. Moulin Rouge vs. 5. Tangled

Enjoy Episode 25 of Popcorn and Pop Culture Podcast:


Sufjan Stevens @ Loew’s Landmark Theatre, Jersey City (Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015)

November 1, 2015

Went to this concert with Vivenzio on Halloween night. We were both looking forward to this show and as we glanced at the setlist from prior shows, we knew that Sufjan would be playing every song off of his latest album “Carrie & Lowell.” This forced us to listen to the new album instead of hoping he would play tracks from his whole catalog, but this was a blessing in disguise because “Carrie & Lowell” is a masterpiece. Written about the death of his mom who abandoned him when he was younger, Sufjan addresses the pain and confusion dealing with his personal tragedies with beautifully simplistic songs, usually with just an acoustic guitar and his whispering voice. The best word I can use to describe the experience of the album is “haunting.”

To no surprise, the concert experience was the same way. In front of a sold out crowd in Jersey City, Sufjan played an amazing set, stripped down to merely his acoustic guitar and himself. He had four band members playing back-up instrumentals and vocals, but this was definitely the Sufjan Stevens show. It was also one of the darkest concerts I have attended, without a single person taking out their cell phone to take pictures or videos. Everyone was mesmerized by the magic of Sufjan’s voice and finger-picked guitar riffs. From the first song of the night, “Death with Dignity,” home videos of Sufjan’s childhood were displayed behind him. It set the tone for the night, that he was going to invite all of us to some of the most personal moments that he can remember, some being painful and others more accepting. The audience listened to every lyric and every note played with their undivided attention.

During the first 80 minutes of the performance, Sufjan didn’t speak one word to the audience. Not even a simple “hello,” but instead played his songs with an efficient light show up on the stage to a respectful and seated packed auditorium. And as incredible the album is, some of Sufjan’s live versions of his songs were even better. Those highlights include: John My Beloved, Fourth of July, and All of Me Wants All of You. These live interpretations stood out from the rest of the pack. Also, as Sufjan ended his set with Blue Bucket of Gold, this resulted in a ten-minute jam session of crasing drums, wild guitar melodies, and a never-ending synth loop with a crescendo to fill your ears of so much noise you wouldn’t think possible.

The encore had a much different tone. He finally spoke to the audience, thanking us for the applause and then telling us “Happy Halloween.” What better night is there to sing songs about death? He then dipped into his catalog and played some of my favorites such as For the Widows in Paradise For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti and John Wayne Gacy Jr. He also played an acoustic version of Chicago, probably his most well-known song. But to truly end the night on a high note, Sufjan with his opener Gallant, played a cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and it was both hilarious and awesome. It was really nice to see Sufjan just let loose by busting some dance moves while singing “You used to call me on my cell phone!”

Overall, this concert only fortifies my feeling that Sufjan puts on one of the best live shows in the business today. Seeing him during his Age of Adz tour and now with Carrie & Lowell, you couldn’t pick two shows more different than these two from the same artist, but both were equally spectacular. I can’t wait for Sufjan to come around again… maybe in another four or five years.

Setlist:

1. Redford (For Yia-Yia & Pappou)
2. Death with Dignity
3. Should Have Known Better
4. Drawn to the Blood
5. Eugene
6. John My Beloved
7. The Only Thing
8. Fourth of July
9. No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross
10. Carrie & Lowell
11. All of Me Wants All of You
12. Vesuvius
13. I Want to Be Well
14. Blue Bucket of Gold

Encore

15. Futile Devices
16. For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti
17. John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
18. Chicago
19. Hotline Bling


2014 CMA Awards

November 6, 2014

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As a Country music fan, I tuned into the CMA Awards last night and pretty much got everything that I expected the three-hour long telecast to be. First and foremost, I don’t think any Country music fan watches the CMA Awards for the awards, because to be completely honest it’s all a bunch of crap. As much as I dislike the Emmy awards because they’re nominating the same people every single year with the majority going to the same winners, the CMA awards are the exact same thing. But I’ll get into that a little bit later.

The main reason I tune into the CMA Awards is for the musical performances, but I must admit that even this year’s telecast was a bit of a downer. Is it a coincidence that a lot of the Country music stars currently have singles that are ballads? But even if that’s so, couldn’t they play a hit that’s more upbeat to wow the crowd and to get our feet tapping at home? That’s why I thoroughly enjoyed Little Big Town’s “Day Drinking” and Dierks Bentley’s “Drunk on a Plane” last night the most. They’re fun, up-tempo songs that’ll have you singing (or whistling) way after you hear it. Instead, we got “Dirt” from Florida Georgia Line, “Lonely Tonight” by Blake Shelton, “Shotgun Rider” by Tim McGraw, plus many others.

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Even the hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, who gave a great opening monologue by the way, performed their ballads “Perfect Storm” and “Something in the Water” respectively. Sure, not every Country song can be about drinking and trucks, but I’d rather have that than songs that I like to listen to while falling asleep. On top of that, the CMA Awards always showcases a number of collaborations, but last night even those suffered the same fate as straight up boring. Country outlaw Eric Church toned down for a duet with George Strait for “Cowboys Like Us.” And also Kacey Musgraves performed “You’re Looking at Country” with Loretta Lynn. It was great seeing collaborations, but neither of them were interesting at all, but at least they avoided the awkwardness of Miranda Lambert singing “All About That Bass” with Meghan Trainor, and Little Big Town’s performance alongside Ariana Grande.

So with a lot of the performances being underwhelming, I guess we have to focus in on the awards that were given out. I don’t mind Miranda Lambert because she does have a great amount of songs, and she has an essence about her that most Country women lack, but five years in a row for Female Vocalist of the Year beating out the likes of Carrie Underwood is just too much. But like I said, it’s just like the Emmy’s. Also, five years in a row for Blake Shelton winning Male vocalist of the Year? Give me a break. The CMA is in love with that married couple and their infatuation hasn’t faded away one bit in half a decade.

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There was certainly a lot of Miranda love throughout the evening, but I was glad that she didn’t snag the Entertainer of the Year award. That went to the well-deserved Luke Bryan who has easily been Country’s megastar the past few years. His greatest asset is being completely humble and excited when he still wins these accolades, just as if it were his first song to make it on the radio.

Despite the lack of entertaining performances and diversity of award winners, it was still a good night to be a Country music fan. Like Vince Gill said as he was accepting the prestigious Irving Waugh Award of Excellence, one of the greatest things about Country music is how close all of the artists are with one another and the camaraderie everyone shows. Whether they’re high-fiving each other or singing along to someone else’s song, there is simply no community as close as the Country music one. And as a Country music lover, I can vouch that it evident throughout every Country music concert I’ve attended. It’s a huge lovefest again and again, no matter who you’re watching or who’s sitting next to you. It’s the community that makes the whole experience more than worthwhile.


My 1,000th Post!

August 19, 2014

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Well it looks like I’ve made it to 1,000 posts! Honestly, that never crossed my mind when I first started this blog in 2007. All I wanted to do was jot down some ideas and opinions about movies and TV shows so I could look back somewhere down the line and relive them. I never thought it would become so much fun to the point I considered it a serious hobby of mine. And now here I am at one thousand posts. It’s an accomplishment I’m proud of and one that made me look back at all of my previous ramblings through the years. Here are a handful of my favorite pieces:

First Review: Veronica Mars Season 1 on November 14, 2007 (https://entertainmentblur.wordpress.com/2007/11/14/veronica-mars/)

veronica-mars01It all started with my first review, which wound up being Veronica Mars Season One. I remember hearing about this show when I was in college, but looking back now the only shows I watched during my college years were The Office and Arrested Development. After I graduated, I had a lot more free time on my hands and I recall thumbing through an Entertainment Weekly and the full-page ad for Veronica Mars struck my eye. I still had no idea what this show was about and because of the title, assumed it had to do with aliens of some sort, but something intrigued me enough to rent the first season and give it a go. And I never looked back. Though the first few episodes were a struggle, I’m glad I stayed with it because to this day Veronica Mars remains as one of my favorite shows ever.

Horror Movies Suck on October 29, 2008 (https://entertainmentblur.wordpress.com/2008/10/29/horror-movies-suck/)

horror-screamI love movies, but I’ve never been a fan of the horror genre. So around Halloween of 2008, I decided to express my opinions in a post I titled, “Horror Movies Suck.” I can’t say that this was one of my more-appreciated posts, but nonetheless it was a post I wrote with passion. While I still watch a horror movie here and there, I’m still not that impressed most of the time.

First Oscar Predictions Post on February 21, 2009 (https://entertainmentblur.wordpress.com/2009/02/21/my-big-oscar-post/)

oscar-statuesFor anyone who knows me or has read my blog, you know that I love the Oscars. While they don’t always recognize the best films every year, it’s without a doubt a celebration of film and the great work the men and women in front of and behind the camera do. The 81st annual Academy Awards was the first Oscars that I wrote about in the blog, and every year I have tried my best to do a better job.

The Top 6 Bands I Saw at Bamboozle 2010 on May 6, 2010 (https://entertainmentblur.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/top-6-bands-at-bamboozle-2010/)

bamboozle-girltalkAside from movies and TV shows, I love music and love going to concerts. Here is one of my favorite pieces I wrote, about my experience at Bamboozle in 2010.

Inception Explained on July 22, 2010 (https://entertainmentblur.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/inception-explained/)

inception02If you were anything like me, which was obsessed with Inception in 2010, then you most likely tried to decipher the many twists and turns of the complicated film. Well, I put all my thoughts into a post and it has become my most-read post.

My Top Ten Concerts of 2010 on June 22, 2010 (https://entertainmentblur.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/my-favorite-concerts-of-2010-part-2-10-1/)

bamboozle-gaslightIn 2010, I attended 30 concerts (19 of them in the last four months of the year), so I decided to list my favorites in a post. Even though I love every concert that I go to, these top ten most definitely will stay with me for a long time.

Blue Valentine and Match Point Made Me Lose My Faith on August 4, 2011 (https://entertainmentblur.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/blue-valentine-and-match-point-made-me-lose-my-faith/)

bluevalentine4You know when there’s a film that just stays with you long after the credits roll? Two films that did that for me were Match Point and Blue Valentine, and so I combined my thoughts into one lengthy post. This is definitely one of my favorite posts I’ve written.

High School Movies of 2012 on April 19, 2012 (https://entertainmentblur.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/high-school-movies-of-2012/)

21-jump-streetThere are always a bunch of high school movies every year, but in 2012 there were a particular handful that I enjoyed and wanted to compare. These included 21 Jump Street, Chronicle, Project X, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

The Finale for HIMYM on March 31, 2014 (https://entertainmentblur.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/how-i-met-your-mother-last-forever/)

himym-last-foreverOne of my favorite shows that I actually watched right from the pilot through to the finale ended this past year. How I Met Your Mother was a rare sitcom that balanced jokes and quirks with lovable characters and heart-felt story-lines. I must say that this show will surely be missed. And while not everyone shared my glowing reaction to the series finale, I think I have a very good case at my reasons why I loved it.

The Ultimate ’90s Kids Movies Bracket on April 7, 2014 (https://entertainmentblur.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/90s-kids-movies-bracket/)

90s-kids-movies-blogArguably the most tedious series of posts I’ve ever completed was the ’90s Kids Movies Bracket. What started out as a podcast idea among close friends, I decided it would be best to showcase our results in a series of posts. We started with 64 films and we narrowed it down to one ultimate winner.

So that’s 1,000 posts down and many, many more to come! For those who have been with me since the beginning, I thank you for reading my blog and commenting. For those who might have stumbled upon The Entertainment Blur, I hope somewhere within my 1,000 posts I have at least kept your attention for a few minutes. I will continue to strive for writing better posts and hope you all continue to take the ride with me. Once again, thank you!


Dierks Bentley @ PNC Bank Arts Center (5/18/14)

May 19, 2014

Dierks Bentley Riser Tour 2014
w/ Chris Young, Chase Rice, Jon Pardi

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I’ll start with a little background. I’ve seen Dierks Bentley three times before, twice opening up for Brad Paisley a handful of years ago and last year as a co-headliner with Miranda Lambert. But even last year’s tour felt like he was opening for arguably the most popular female Country artist who’s name isn’t Taylor Swift (that is if you still consider her Country). So when he released his new album “Riser” and announced a headlining tour, I couldn’t snatch those tickets quick enough!

After all the controversy and confusion about whether or not tailgating was banned at PNC, I rolled into the parking lots around 3 p.m. to a packed lot with hundreds of people drinking, grilling, blasting music and playing corn hole. Ah yes, the summer concert season has unofficially begun! There’s nothing like parking in a lot full of Country fans, unloading the car of chairs, tables, grills, coolers and corn hole and just having a blast. We cracked open a few beers, set up the table and corn hole, fired up the grill and had a good time for hours. The weather wasn’t the greatest though. It drizzled a few times and the sun barely made it through the clouds throughout the afternoon, but that didn’t stop the parking lot party!

About a quarter to 7 we packed up the car and walked into the venue. Our seats were the fourth row in section 303, not too shabby. First up was Jon Pardi. Didn’t really see much of his set but from what I saw he was having a good time with his band on stage, even though I didn’t know any of his songs until his closer, “Up All Night.”

Next was Chase Rice and he was everything you want to see in an opening act. He came out like a ball of energy, sporting his baseball cap and sunglasses while getting the crowd involved with audience participation. Even though I didn’t know any of his songs, be put on a very up-tempo, inspired performance. It’s one that makes me want to pick up a copy of his album, which I’ll sure to do sometime this week. Anyway, Chase Rice’s rise to fame came from his co-writing the huge hit “Cruise” performed by Florida Georgia Line. Rice even went on to perform his version of the song, which was great. At the end of his set, he explained how he saw himself as a songwriter only, but fell in love with playing with the band and performing live that he had to give it a shot. I see a bright future ahead for Chase Rice.

Finally, it was time for Dierks Bentley to hit the stage. Being the headliner gives you plenty of freedom for how you want to set your performance up, including the stage design. Dierks had a huge LCD screen at the back of the stage, with another stage centered with a set of stairs on both sides. His drummer was off to the left on a platform and there were microphones on both sides of the stage along with two in the center. He came out after a brief remix of 5-1-5-0 to perform his hit to a packed house singing along and holding up 5-1-5-0 fingers during the chorus. Dierks has always brought a ton of energy to his performance, but there was something special about this specific Sunday night. He promised a great time and he sure did deliver!

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He performed his first five songs without any interruptions or comments in-between songs, something Dierks does often to keep the flow of the show going smoothly. During his current single, “Drunk on a Plane” he admit that it was killing him to not turn around and watch the hilarious music video. Finally he took a breath to welcome the New Jersey crowd, to thank them for what he said always felt like his “second home” and to state that he’s ready to make an every lasting memory with every person present. Naturally, he transitioned into “Every Mile a Memory.”

Towards the middle of his set, he walked through the crowd with his band during a cover of “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic, to a stage set up towards the back of the amphitheater. This is something every Country artist does, but Dierks admit that he’s never done this before, but being the headliner this year he’s finally able to do so. When they asked him where he wanted the stage he responded with, “As close to the lawn as you can get me!” This got a big roar from the cheap seats. Dierks continued with an Avicii cover of “Hey Brother.” You could feel how personal this show was for Dierks, as he reminisced about one of his first concerts he ever attended, with a New Jersey artist. Like a default response, the crowd began chanting “Bruuuuuuuuce!” But he corrected the audience, “I wasn’t that cool to see Bruce. I was a Bon Jovi guy!” He then played an acoustic cover of “Livin’ On a Prayer,” which he simply allowed the crowd to sing all the words to. “This is the biggest karaoke bar ever!” he shouted.

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He finally made his way back to the main stage after introducing his band to the crowd. Even though Dierks isn’t one of the top bills in Country music, his passion and the effort he puts into every show proves he deserves to be in the discussion among the best performers in the world. I didn’t want the show to end because I was having such a great time. Several times Dierks claimed he was “having the best night of my life!” It’s hard to imagine that he wasn’t because there was never a moment he wasn’t smiling or high-fiving fans within reach. He also shotgunned a beer with a fan near the stage and while on the B-stage he was handed a beer and a boot.  Simply put, Dierks is a fantastic performer with plenty of great songs that made this Sunday Funday one to remember. He definitely made a memory for me to save.

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Dierks Setlist:

1. 5-1-5-0
2. Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go)
3. Am I the Only One
4. Tip It on Back
5. Drunk on a Plane
6. Every Mile a Memory
7. Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do
8. Up on the Ridge

B-stage

9. Counting Stars (OneRepublic cover)
10. Hey Brother (Avicii cover)
11. Livin’ On A Prayer (Bon Jovi cover)
12. Settle for a Slowdown

Back to Main Stage

13. Come A Little Closer
14. Feel That Fire
15. I Hold On

Encore:

16. Riser
17. What Was I Thinkin’
18. Sideways
19. Home

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Album Review: Eric Church – “The Outsiders”

April 21, 2014

Eric Church – “The Outsiders”
Release Date: February 11, 2014
Label: EMI Nashville

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Grade: B+

On Church’s fourth studio album, he keeps up his reputation of being Country music’s outlaw with some loud, some rough, and some weird songs. Beginning with the title track, Church combines Country-rock with a heavy-rock breakdown that’ll even have Metallica fans headbanging to the beat. It’s not traditional Country music, but it’s what Church feels comfortable doing.

But like all of his albums, the stand-out tracks deal with women and telling stories about them. “A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young” is a soft ballad about a girl who saved an outlaw, while “Like a Wrecking Ball” is a catchy ballad about the physical love of a woman.

While Church takes some risks in the album, he still maintains his mainstream sound with tracks like “Talladega,” a bromance road trip tune and “Give Me Back My Hometown,” a post-breakup song. But then again, there are some weird tracks that round up the whole album. Specifically “The Joint,” which has a jazz vibe mixed with stoner influences.

What keeps Church on the top of the charts and in the Country music world is simply his ability to remain fearless and yet, being able to relate to his fans. He can be groups in with Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton as bro-country, but he displays an edge that is highly noticeable. His story-telling mirrors the likes of Zac Brown Band, but he sheds away the clean rhythms for choppy, frantic hooks.

If there’s something “The Outsiders” lacks is a true number one hit. There’s no song like “Drink In My Hand” or “Springsteen” on this album, but that’s not a bad thing. Overall, “The Outsiders” is about breaking free from what he’s supposed to be, whether it’s from his friends or his fans. Church will continue to break the mold of what is expected from him, but that’s one of the things we love the most about him.


CMA Awards 2013 Predictions:

November 6, 2013

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Entertainer of the Year

Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Blake Shelton
George Strait
Taylor Swift

It’s hard to think past all the ticket and album sales from Taylor Swift for the top honor of the night. So she seems to be a guarantee to win this award, especially also since she’s the only female nominated. Luke Bryan is probably the runner-up for exploding onto the scene and with his highly successful album Crash My Party. George Strait is calling it quits and will probably receive some votes, but it won’t be enough to contend with the youth of Country music.

Prediction: Taylor Swift

Male Vocalist of the Year

Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Blake Shelton
Keith Urban

It seems like Keith Urban is always nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year, but never wins. Could this be his year? Probably not because of the competition. If I were to choose, I’d pick Eric Church who is still doing well from his incredible album, Chief. But it looks like this is going to be a Luke Bryan vs. Blake Shelton race. Even though Shelton is still doing well on The Voice, I’m going to go with the hot hand here.

Prediction: Luke Bryan

Female Vocalist of the Year

Kelly Clarkson
Miranda Lambert
Kacey Musgraves
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

We have an interesting mix of females here. Carrie Underwood has been a power-house of Country music for years, but of late she’s been passing the torch to Miranda Lambert who has an impressive collection of albums herself. Both put on a great live show, but how can you go against Underwood’s strong vocals? By putting her against another American Idol winner maybe? Kelly Clarkson probably won’t win, but she has an incredible voice that can match Underwood’s pure power. While I assume Taylor Swift will win Entertainer of the Year, she won’t win here.

Prediction: Miranda Lambert

Vocal Group of the Year

The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Eli Young Band

Country music is going through an era of really freaking good bands. Just look at these five nominees. All are incredible and deserve to win this award. While I’ll personally be pulling for Zac Brown Band, I feel this is a race between Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town. While Little Big Town might have more momentum, I’m going to go with the lovable trio.

Prediction: Lady Antebellum

Vocal Duo of the Year

Big & Rich
Florida Georgia Line
Love and Theft
Sugarland
The Civil Wars
Thompson Square

Did I ever mention how I love The Civil Wars? Okay, now that I got that out of my system, this looks like it’ll be a Florida Georgia Line vs. Thompson Square showdown. Sorry Sugarland, but you guys won this award too many times before. And while Thompson Square is doing everything right, no one’s taken the radio by storm like FGL.

Prediction: Florida Georgia Line

New Artist Of The Year

Lee Brice
Brett Eldredge
Florida Georgia Line
Kip Moore
Kacey Musgraves

This is my favorite category because it’s exciting to see where the future of Country music is headed towards. Looking at this year’s list of nominees, it’s going in the right direction. Lee Brice and Kip Moore have incredible albums under their belt, but lack the star-power to be considered favorites for New Artist. The way I see it, we have the huge new act of Florida Georgia Line against the talented and edgy newcomer Kacey Musgraves. While I would love to see Musgraves snag this award, I’m going with the favorite here.

Prediction: Florida Georgia Line

Album of the Year

Blake Shelton, “Based on a True Story”
Carrie Underwood, “Blown Away”
Taylor Swift, “Red”
Kacey Musgraves, “Same Trailer Different Park”
Little Big Town, “Tornado”

All five are such great albums, and it’s interesting to see the females dominating this category this year. That being said, it might be the reason why Shelton’s “Based on a True Story” could sneak away with the award. Personally, I feel “Same Trailer Different Park” is the best album of the group, but Musgraves is up against Goliaths of Underwood’s “Blown Away” and Swift’s “Red.”

Prediction: Taylor Swift, “Red”

Single of the Year

Florida Georgia Line, “Cruise”
Tim McGraw With Taylor Swift & Keith Urban, “Highway Don’t Care”
Miranda Lambert, “Mama’s Broken Heart”
Kacey Musgraves, “Merry Go ‘Round”
Darius Rucker, “Wagon Wheel”

These songs all got heavy rotation on every Country radio station, but which will come out as the Single of the Year? While “Wagon Wheel” is my personal favorite, I’m just going to keep rolling with the rookies.

Prediction: Florida Georgia Line, “Cruise”

Song of the Year — award goes to songwriter(s)

“I Drive Your Truck” – Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, and Jimmy Yeary
“Mama’s Broken Heart” – Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves
“Merry Go ‘Round” – Kacey Musgraves, Josh Osborne, and Shane McAnally
“Pontoon” – Natalie Hemby, Luke Laird, and Barry Dean
“Wagon Wheel” – Bob Dylan and Ketch Secor

This award goes to the songwriters, so it’s actually tougher to predict this one. We have Bob Dylan as one of the nominees for “Wagon Wheel” and also Kacey Musgraves is nominated twice in this category. While I really want her to win, I’m afraid that she won’t.

Prediction: “Pontoon” – Natalie Hemby, Luke Laird, and Barry Dean


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