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YOUR CMA AWARDS
CHEAT SHEET

Brothers Osborne, Lauren Alaina and Dustin Lynch anounce the noms on GMA.

Miranda Lambert is the top contender at this year’s CMA Awards, with five nominations, but will she take Album of the Year for the third time? Will Taylor Swift, who left country behind several years ago in her quest for global pop domination, win for Song of the Year?

We’ll get the answers to these and other burning questions on Nov. 8 when the CMAs are presented at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville (and broadcast on ABC). In the meantime, this handy cheat sheet will help you know what to look for on this year’s show.

Lambert is vying to become the first woman to win Album of the Year three times. Lambert, who previously won for Revolution (2010) and Platinum (2014), is nominated this year for her acclaimed double album, The Weight of these Wings. This would be the second double album to win Album of the Year. The first, in 1989, was the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Will the Circle Be Unbroken Vol. II.

Last year, Garth Brooks ended Luke Bryan’s two-year hold on Entertainer of the Year. Both artists are in the running again this year, along with Eric Church, Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban. This is the first time that the CMAs have had an all-male final in this marquee category since 2007. Brooks is vying to become the first person to win Entertainer of the Year six times. Last year, he became the first person to win it five times.

Urban is vying to win Entertainer of the Year for the second time. He first won it 12 years ago. A win would make Urban the first artist who wasn’t born in the U.S. to win twice in this category. The only other foreign-born winner, Shania Twain, won just once.

Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road,” which set a new record for the longest run at #1 in the history of the country chart, may be the frontrunner to win for Single of the Year. The hit that formerly held that chart record, Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise,” won in this category four years ago.

Little Big Town is vying to become the first act to win Single of the Year three times. The group, which won in the category for “Pontoon” (2012) and “Girl Crush” (2015), is nominated this year for “Better Man.” Win or lose, Little Big Town is the first group in CMA history to even be nominated three times for Single of the Year. Five groups have each amassed two noms in the category: Charlie Daniels Band, Alabama, Lonestar, Lady Antebellum and Zac Brown Band.

“Body Like a Back Road,” written by Zach Crowell, Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, is nominated for Song of the Year. It would be the first song with four credited writers to ever win that award.

Swift is nominated for Song of the Year for writing the Little Big Town hit “Better Days.” It would be her first win in this category. She was nominated for writing her 2011 hit “Mean.”

Lambert and Hillary Lindsey are each vying to win their second Song of the Year award. Lambert, who won five years ago for co-writing “Over You,” is nominated for co-writing “Tin Man.” Lindsey, who won two years ago for co-writing “Girl Crush,” is nominated for co-writing the Keith Urban hit “Blue Ain’t Your Color.” Either would become just the second female songwriter to win twice in this category. The first was Lori McKenna, one of Lindsey’s collaborators on “Girl Crush.” If Swift, Lambert or Lindsey wins this year, it would be the seventh consecutive year that a woman has written or co-written the winning song.

Last year, Carrie Underwood ended Lambert’s six-year grip on Female Vocalist of the Year. Both women are nominated again this year. Will Underwood repeat—and win for the fifth time in the category? Will Lambert reclaim the award, winning for the seventh time in the category? Or will one of the other nominees—Reba McEntire, Maren Morris or Kelsea Ballerini—take it?

This is McEntire’s 18th nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year, which is more than anyone else in the history of the category. She had been tied with Martina McBride, with 17 noms each. McEntire was first nominated in this category in 1983, before three of this year’s nominees in the category—Ballerini, Morris and Lambert—were born. McEntire’s 35-year span of nominations isn’t the record in this category, however. Dolly Parton is the longevity champ, with noms spanning 36 years—1968 through 2003.

Chris Stapleton is vying for his third consecutive award as Male Vocalist of the Year. He is also in the hunt for Album of the Year for From A Room: Volume 1. He won that award with his last studio album, Traveller. If he wins again, he’ll become the first artist to win for back-to-back studio albums since George Strait won for It Just Comes Natural (2007) and Troubadour (2008). (If Lambert wins, she'll become the first artist since Strait to win for back-to-back studio albums.)

A father and son could each win CMA Awards this year. Thomas Rhett is up for three awards, including Male Vocalist of the Year, his first nom in this key category. His dad, Rhett Akins, is nominated for Song of the Year for co-writing the Jon Pardi hit “Dirt on My Boots.”

Little Big Town is vying to win Vocal Group of the Year for the sixth year in a row. That would put them in a tie with The Statler Brothers and Rascal Flatts for the most consecutive wins in this category. (After their streak ended, The Statlers won the award three more times.)

Last year, Brothers Osborne upset Florida Georgia Line to take Vocal Duo of the Year. Florida Georgia Line had won the three previous years. Will Brothers Osborne repeat, will FGL return to its throne or will one of the other nominees—Dan + Shay, Maddie & Tae or LOCASH—take over? This is LOCASH’s first nom in the category.

Glen Campbell may win a posthumous CMA award. The country legend, who died on Aug. 8, is nominated for Musical Event of the Year for a version of “Funny How Time Slips Away” with the song’s writer, Willie Nelson. It’s Campbell’s first CMA nom—in any category—in 40 years.

Tim McGraw & Faith Hill are nominated for Musical Event of the Year for “Speak to a Girl.” They won it 20 years ago for “It’s Your Love.” This would be McGraw’s fifth win in this category, which would be more than anyone else in history. Vince Gill and Brad Paisley have each won four times in the category.

P!nk is nominated for Musical Event of the Year for “Setting the World on Fire,” her chart-topping collaboration with Kenny Chesney. She would become the fifth pop or rock artist to win in that category, following Jimmy Buffett, Robert Plant, Kelly Clarkson and Elle King.

Guitarist Mac McAnally is vying to win Musician of the Year for the ninth time. That would put him in a tie with legendary guitarist Chet Atkins for the most wins in the category’s history. McAnally faces last year’s winner, guitarist Dann Huff, as well as dobro player Jerry Douglas, guitarist Derek Wells and steel guitarist Paul Franklin.

Underwood and Brad Paisley are co-hosting the CMA telecast for the 10th year in a row. They’re closing in on Vince Gill’s hosting record. Gill hosted or co-hosted the show 12 years in a row. How do the Grammys compare? No one has ever hosted the Grammys 10 years running. Andy Williams came closest, with seven consecutive outings.

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