5 Nominations the ACM Awards Got Wrong, Wronger and Wrongest

The nominations for the 52nd annual ACM Awards were announced today (Feb. 16), and while artists like Keith Urban, Maren Morris, Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line racked up multiple nominations, there were more than a few questionable omissions—as well as inclusions—in the nomination process.

Here are five nominations the ACM Awards fouled up . . . on a scale of Wrong (slight), Wronger (embarrassing) and Wrongest (travesty).

1. Entertainer of the Year nominations

  • Jason Aldean
  • Luke Bryan
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Keith Urban

Guess who’s missing? Reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year Garth Brooks. Based solely on the success of Garth’s stellar tour, I can make the case that he deserved a spot on the list. Plus, he’s the only artist to release an RIAA-certified platinum album in 2016. But alas, no love for the G-man. Perhaps the Academy docked him points for his GhostTunes debacle.
Scale: Wrong

2. Male Vocalist of the Year nominations

  • Jason Aldean
  • Dierks Bentley
  • Thomas Rhett
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Keith Urban

No Blake Shelton? It’s another slight omission. Chris Stapleton—who I love—is still riding the momentum from his 2015 CMA title wave, while Jason Aldean, a deserving Entertainer of the Year nominee, is no pure vocalist. Blake can croon, whether you like his shtick or not, and he dropped two Billboard No. 1 tunes in 2016, “Came Here to Forget” and “A Guy With a Girl.”
Scale: Wrong

3. Vocal Duo of the Year nominations

  • Big & Rich
  • Brothers Osborne
  • Dan + Shay
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Maddie & Tae

What did Maddie & Tae accomplish this year besides developing a new clothing line? The only single they released in 2016, “Sierra,” peaked at No. 47 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. Meanwhile, LOCASH climbed to the top of Billboard’s Country Airplay chart with “I Know Somebody,” after hitting No. 2 with “I Love This Life.” While LOCASH copped a New Vocal Group/Duo nomination, they deserved a Vocal Duo of the Year nomination.
Scale: Wronger

4. Album of the Year nominations

  • Black–Dierks Bentley
  • Dig Your Roots—Florida Georgia Line
  • Hero—Maren Morris
  • Ripcord—Keith Urban
  • The Weight of These Wings–Miranda Lambert

Yes, Sturgill Simpson besmirched the good name of the ACMs in August with a Facebook rant, but you can’t deny the fact that he released the best country album of the year—sans maybe Brandy Clark’s Big Day in a Small Town, which also got snubbed. How good was Sturgill’s A Sailor’s Guide to Earth? He won the Grammy for Best Country Album and was nominated in the all-genre Album of the Year category. According to the ACMs, that’s not even worth a nomination. Get real.
Scale: Wronger

5. Vocal Group of the Year nominations

  • Eli Young Band
  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town
  • Old Dominion
  • Rascal Flatts

While it’s probably a moot point because no band will dethrone Little Big Town, how the hell did Lady Antebellum earn a nomination? The trio has been on hiatus the entire year. Seriously, Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley each tackled individual projects—quite successfully, I might add. This nomination is mind-blowing. Inconceivable. Throw Zac Brown Band a bone, why don’t ya.
Scale: Wrongest

LOCASH courtesy Webster PR; Blake Shelton by David LaChapelle/NBC; Sturgill Simpson by Reto Sterchi/Sacks & Co.; Garth Brooks by Mark Tucker/Sony Music Nashville; Brandy Clark courtesy ShoreFire Media; Lady Antebellum by Jason Simanek