Circles and cycles: CMA Awards hard to predict
FILE - This Sept. 24, 2013, file photo shows singer Taylor Swift at the premiere of "Romeo and Juliet" in Los Angeles. The Country Music Association will present Swift with its Pinnacle Award, given to an artist who has achieved worldwide success and recognition that is unique to country music. (Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP, File)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — There's bro country and pop country. There's traditional country, acoustic country and, arriving just now, metal country. All these faces of the genre — and more — will be on display Wednesday night during the Country Music Association Awards.
This will make it tough for millions of viewers to guess what's coming next when the awards air live (8 p.m. EST) on ABC from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
The young women of country music, who include top nominee Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, have dominated the awards show circuit for the past few years. Before that there was a run on the guys with the guitars. And there was the cowboy hat era.
"It's always gone in cycles, you know," said Keith Urban, who will perform the duet "We Were Us" with Miranda Lambert. "We haven't had bands for a long time. That might be the next thing. You've got guys, and girls, and bands and then hats and ball caps, and then girls' mid-riffs, we go through everything."
The 47th annual awards are hosted by Underwood and Brad Paisley. Swift and newcomer Kacey Musgraves lead with six nominations each; Miranda Lambert has five. Swift is nominated for her third entertainer of the year award, the night's top honor, and already has two wins Wednesday with Tim McGraw and Urban after the CMA announced their "Highway Don't Care" collaboration won musical event and music video of the year.
Swift also is still up for album of the year and female vocalist. And though it won't show on her official tally for the night, the 23-year-old pop star will be presented with the CMA's Pinnacle Award. The award goes to artists who take country music to a worldwide audience. Garth Brooks is the only previous winner; he won in 2005.
Like Swift, Lambert has been a darling of the 6,000 CMA voters with seven trophies since 2010.
With smart songwriting, a progressive bent and a strong sense of self like country's other top women, Musgraves made an auspicious mainstream country debut this year with her album "Same Trailer Different Park." She's up for album, female vocalist, new artist and single of the year. And she scored two song of the year nominations for co-writing Lambert's hit "Mama's Broken Heart" and her own "Merry Go 'Round."
Musgraves received the most nominations by a female artist in her debut year, and brought her grandmother Barbara Musgraves to the show to celebrate. Turns out Nana Barbara, who made the drive up from Mineola, Texas, was Musgraves first booking agent when she was 10.
"I think I'm going to cry my false eyelashes off," Barbara Musgraves said.
Like Musgraves, the fellas in Florida Georgia Line were thinking family on country music's big night. Turns out they're mama's boys after Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley brought their mothers, Amy Clotfelter and Mary Margaret Kelley.
"It's definitely surreal," Clotfelter said.
Lambert, who will be going for her fourth straight female vocalist win, is up for single of the year and shares three nominations with her Pistol Annies trio.