The 2015 ACM Awards are literally a stone's throw away, coming up fast on April 19, 2015. We thought we'd put in our own two cents worth and give our own choices and predictions.
Jenn Smith - Garth Brooks: "Although the obvious choice here is Luke Bryan and he will more than likely take the title, I think Garth Brooks is one hell of a close contender with his amazing comeback tour, CD release, onstage and offstage personality and impact he makes on fans. He's proven he's still a hot country commodity and is breaking ticket sales records nationwide. Garth has always been known for his entertainment value and his show is 100% pure entertainment. He could very well come in from nowhere and grab the title."
John Kreuzer - Luke Bryan: "Once Garth Brooks gets a full year under his belt, he will take this honor. Luke takes the crown this year."
Han Van Meegerin - Jason Aldean
Alyse Smith - Garth Brooks: "Because it's Garth! What more explanation needs to be given? Just that he's been such an incredible, influential artist throughout his career and that he has shown that he hasn't missed a beat in his years off and has come back strong as ever. This would also be a helluva way to welcome him back into the folds of current country music and touring."
John Lisa - Garth Brooks
Maria Talamo - Florida Georgia Line: "Florida Georgia Line for sure. I have been to so many concerts, but none are ever as entertaining as a Florida Georgia Line show. From the second they step foot on stage until the very last verse, they are there to perform. They are constantly raising the bar and stepping outside the box when it comes to their shows. I can honestly say I have never been disappointed with a Florida Georgia Line Show. "
Jenn Smith - Blake Shelton: "It's Blake's year AGAIN. He's everywhere."
John Kreuzer - Blake Shelton: "While I'd love to see Dierks Bentley take the honor this year, I feel it's Blake's to lose."
Han Van Meegerin - Eric Church
Alyse Smith - Dierks Bentley or Eric Church: "Every nominee in this category deserves to be nominated and deserves to win, they're all so amazing in so many ways and their music has affected millions. I can't decide between Dierks or Eric because they've both had such banner years and released some of the best music of their careers. They both have incredibly sonorous voices that people want to hear over and over and over again, especially with these latest releases."
John Lisa - Eric Church
Maria Talamo - Luke Bryan: "If anyone deserves to be male vocalist it is Luke Bryan. He pours his heart and soul into every song he sings. He knows how to keep his audience engaged whether it's at a show or someone just listening to his music."
Jenn Smith - Miranda Lambert: "While I would LOVE to see Brandy Clark come in like a dark horse and surprise us all, I think Miranda's going to continue her streak. Platinum is a great cd, it shows her personal attitude and she continues to rise to musical heights."
John Kreuzer - Miranda Lambert: “It will be close between Miranda, Kasey Musgraves and Carrie Underwood, but the dynamic duo of Blake and Miranda will capture the “Best Vocalist” categories.
Han Van Meegerin - Miranda Lambert
Alyse Smith - Miranda Lambert: "I just think she has such an amazing voice with whatever project she attaches it to. Her solo music, Pistol Annies, any duos she does, she sounds so phenomenal in anything she tries and I've yet to grow tired of her voice. Turn it up some!"
John Lisa - Brandy Clark
Maria Talamo - Carrie Underwood: "Carrie Underwood is equally as deserving to be female vocalist of the year. She stays true to herself and her fans and never disappoints. Her lyrics come from the heart and that shows when she is performing."
Jenn Smith - Florida Georgia Line: "They've proven they are a hard one to beat having set the bar pretty high with concert ticket sales, music sales and fan engagement. They've released hit after hit and have been one of the consistent names on the charts for the past year. This one's got FGL written all over it."
John Kreuzer - Florida Georgia Line: “Florida Georgia Line wins Best Vocal Duo. This is how they roll!”
Han Van Meegerin - Florida Georgia Line
Alyse Smith - Maddie and Tae: "Girl In A Country Song" is what got them onto the radar and probably will remain a significant song in their careers but "Fly" is what's going to grant them staying power and shows that they're not just a one-trick pony that disappears as soon as the buzz dies down. "Fly" is a beautiful song that shows they're mature enough to understand the impact they can make and they would like to do so in the most positive way possible. The combination of the initial attention and the astounding sophomore release I think will grant them awards and recognition both."
John Lisa - Florida Georgia Line
Maria Talamo - Florida Georgia Line: "Hands down, Florida Georgia Line. I cannot say enough good things about these guys. I remember seeing them for free way before they became a household name and can honestly say I have never met more down to earth people. It's so nice to see the fame and fortune hasn't gone to their heads. Every single thing they do revolves around their fans which is they way it should be."
Jenn Smith - Little Big Town: "While I love Lady Antebellum, I just don't think their music was up to par with the quality of Little Big Town's new cd, "Painkiller." I think LBT is gonna keep it in harmony this year with the win."
John Kreuzer - Lady Antebellum: “This could go either way between Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town so I’ll flip a coin. *Pause*. Lady Antebellum it is!”
Han Van Meegerin - Little Big Town
Alyse Smith - Little Big Town. (But if not them, then Zac Brown Band): "Vocal group is always the absolute hardest one to pick because it generally houses so many of my favorites! Obviously Lady A grows more extraordinary with every release and every step in their career and I've been such a fan of them and their music since their first single release. Sold-out show after sold-out show and what must be a groaning mantel full of all the awards and accolades show that another award would not be unlikely or undeserved. Following that same logic, Rascal Flatts would not be unlikely either. The Band Perry always has such interesting stories and unique takes on things along with a truly bizarre sense of humor and of course Kim's voice is nothing short of spectacular. I would love to see them win as well because they seem like honest, solid people that always bring such a unique, fantastic spin on country music that's not found elsewhere. Zac Brown Band also has a bizarre sense of humor and unique music, I crave their music constantly. "Homegrown" has been on repeat everywhere I am and if the radio's on it's getting blasted. Everyone around me would be absolutely sick of it if they didn't love it as well. I very much would like to see them gain recognition, awards and anything that keeps them touring and on my radio. Lastly, Little Big Town holds a special place in my heart as their music sparks memories I hold dear. They are blatantly, ridiculously talented in every form and make no bones about it. They leap into the unknown with the courage of a lion tamer. Fortunately, the results are that of an entire well-performed "Cirque Du Soleil" show. So unlike anything you've ever seen but performed with such technical prowess and innate fluidity that beauty spills out of every seam. However, upon leaving you're a little disturbed but still kind of addicted because what exactly was that? This holds especially true for their latest music, "Painkiller" and "Girl Crush." "Girl Crush" has to be one of the most disturbing songs that I've loved in a while. Upon hearing it, my reaction was a split between "Oh my god I love this!" and "What did I just listen to?" and then playing it on repeat. "Painkiller" I just love the idea behind it and how they sound when singing it."
John Lisa - Zac Brown Band
Jenn Smith - "The Outsiders" - Eric Church: "This CD was a sure win the day it hit shelves. Fans were hyped up about it as soon as word got out about how different this one was going to be and they've proven they want it by outstanding record sales. Eric's Outsiders tour is one of the must see tours of the year and with hits like "Talladega", "Give Me Back My Hometown", "Cold One" and the title track, how can it not win? Eric's shown he may be different, but different is what we need."
John Kreuzer - "Platinum" - Miranda Lambert: “MY favorite album of the year was ‘Riser’ but I don’t get an ACM vote so I anticipate they will give the nod to ‘Platinum’ by Miranda Lambert.”
Han Van Meegerin - "The Outsiders" - Eric Church
Alyse Smith - "Riser" - Dierks Bentley: "It has "Damn These Dreams" on it! And "Say You Do" Dierks' vocals with Old Dominion's writing? What more do you need? "I Hold On" "Five" "Drunk On A Plane" "Riser" "Bourbon In Kentucky" every single song on this album I cannot listen to enough and this has to be one of my favorite albums released this year and definitely my favorite of the ones nominated. "Outsider" is a close second though."
John Lisa - "The Outsiders" - Eric Church
Maria Talamo - "Riser" - Dierks Bentley: "Dierks Bentley is so deserving of this award. His newest album Riser has everything an album should have. It has upbeat songs like drunk on a plane, heartfelt songs like damn these dreams, inspiring songs like riser and I can go on and on. There are no two songs alike which is what I believe makes it so good."
Jenn Smith - "Automatic" - Miranda Lambert: "One of my personal favorites that Miranda has ever released. The song is about a topic that we all think about from time to time - when did life really become so automated? Sales were through the roof, radio played the crap out of it, the video was everywhere and the song resonates with every single one of us. Miranda's gonna need a shopping cart to take home all of her awards this year."
John Kreuzer - "Automatic" - Miranda Lambert: "This is a really tough category in which I loved all 5 nominated songs. Can Miranda win again? I think she pulls it off with ‘Automatic'."
Han Van Meegerin - "Drunk on a Plane" - Dierks Bentley
Alyse Smith - "Drunk on a Plane" - Dierks Bentley: "The blockbuster success this song has had along with the very humorous music video and entirely peculiar story within the song makes this one an easy win. It has a great sound and a great message delivered in a quite unusual manner but entirely fits in with Dierks' catalog."
John Lisa - "I Don't Dance" - Lee Brice
Maria Talamo - Florida Georgia Line: "Once again I have to go with Florida Georgia Line and their single Dirt. It has to be one of their most anticipated singles. With all the success they had from their first album, they knew they needed a strong first single from their sophomore album. Florida Georgia Line received quite a bit of criticism from people saying some of their songs weren't "country" enough. They silenced a majority of those critics with After they released this single."
Jenn Smith - "I Hold On" - Dierks Bentley: "This song says it all about each of us - we hold on, every day, just trying to make it from one day to the next. It's relateable, it's personal and it makes an impact. Big sales and tons of air play don't hurt either."
John Kreuzer - "Drink A Beer" - Luke Bryan: “Another tough choice. When my dad passed away last summer, I listened to ‘I Hold On’ and ‘Drink a Beer’ on repeat for weeks. While Kacey Musgraves may very well take this category, I think the award goes to Luke Bryan.”
Han Van Meegerin - "Give Me Back My Hometown" - Eric Church
Alyse Smith - "Give Me Back My Hometown" - Eric Church: "One of my favorites that Eric Church has ever released I listen to this song with astounding regularity and am still surprised at the impact it has on me and those around me if ever I listen to it in a public forum. Such a fantastically heart-breaking performance and song."
John Lisa - " Follow Your Arrow" - Kasey Musgraves
Maria Talamo - "I Hold On" - Dierks Bentley: "I Hold On by Dierks Bentley has been my go to song since the day it was released. It's one of the most relatable songs I have heard in a long time. With a line like "My faith, your love, our freedom" how can you not relate? If you don't have faith, love and freedom what do you have? This song without a doubt deserves to be song of the year."
Jenn Smith - "Drunk on a Plane" - Dierks Bentley: "This one's fun, it's inspired the moustache and pilot uniform on at least one fan per Dierks show and it's on every video channel and a huge radio hit. Dierks is gonna fly home with this one."
John Kreuzer - " Drunk on a Plane" - Dierks Bentley: “As far as I’m concerned, this is Dierks Bentley’s award to lose. My favorite video in quite some time!”
Han Van Meegerin - "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" - Glen Campbell
Alyse Smith - "Cop Car" - Keith Urban: "Did any other video even have a chance? Sam Hunt's story, Keith Urban's video and an entirely habit-forming song. A triple-threat between the video, the writing and the singing."
John Lisa - "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" - Glen Campbell
Maria Talamo - "American Kids" - Kenny Chesney: "One of my favorite music videos of this year had to have been American Kids by Kenny Chesney. The song grabs you the second it starts so it's only natural that the video does the same. It's a perfect display of what life is like growing up as an American kid. Driving around with your friends, music blaring while flat out just enjoying life. Who hasn't done that at some point in their lives?"
Jenn Smith - "Meanwhile Back at Mama's" - Tim McGraw/Faith Hill: "While I'd LOVE to see TC3 sneak in the back door with a win for "The South", Tim and Faith got more radio play in my opinion, not to mention that this song has real substance to it. They're one of country music's favorite couples for both radio and fans. It's been ages since they released a duet so this was more than welcomed. I think this one goes to McGraw and Hill."
John Kreuzer - "Meanwhile Back at Mama's" - Tim McGraw/Faith Hill: “It’s time to give Tim and Faith some more face time. They’ll get it when they win the ‘Vocal Event’ category.
Han Van Meegerin - "The South" - The Cadillac Three f/Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley, Mike Eli
Alyse Smith - "Meanwhile Back at Mama's" - Tim McGraw / Faith Hill: "I just really, really like this song even though it's a bit hard to listen to. I'm so glad to see Tim and Faith performing again and performing together again. You've been missed! I'm so glad this is the song they chose to perform together. Something with a little more substance is always appreciated from these two!"
John Lisa - "The South" - Cadillac Three
Maria Talamo - "This Is How We Roll" - Florida Georgia Line / Luke Bryan: "What do you get when Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan decide to collaborate? Well I'll tell you. A song well deserving of winning vocal event of the year. From the lyrics to the video and everything in between this song has what it takes to win this category."
Jenn Smith - Brett Eldredge: "What isn't there to love about Brett? He's easy on the eyes, his voice is award worthy by itself and his sense of humor is something that is definitely a selling point. If this award was based on those things, hands down it would be his but the reason I see this one going to him is because of how fast he's built his name, how amazing his talent is, his ability to win over an audience with just a few notes and he's already got 2 #1's under his belt in such a short amount of time with "Don't Ya" and "Beat of the Music". Brett's the one to beat."
John Kreuzer - Brett Eldredge
Alyse Smith - Sam Hunt: "Sam Hunt's not only my favorite but everyone in Nashville's favorite as well, as a writer for so many great artists including himself! Every story he sings, every word written speaks of a clever mind and a deft handling of the craft he plies. It may not be traditional country that he pens and releases but he sounds so good doing it does anyone really care? As a new artist breaking onto the scene I can think of no one better suited for this award than Sam Hunt. Kip Moore would be my next pick though as he is growing as an artist and performer and has been releasing the best music of his career and is so incredible to see in concert."
John Lisa - Tyler Farr
Maria Talamo - Cole Swindell: "This is a tough category. Every single one of these artist is more than deserving of owning the title of new artist. However Cole Swindell is slightly ahead of the pack. Long before he was a break through artist he was writing some of the biggest songs in the game. He has made his contributions to country music and it's time for him to shine. Not only is Cole Swindell a lyrical genius, but he's also a great entertainer. There's no doubt in my mind that he deserves this award. "