I think the CMT Awards decided to take it easy on me this year because this is by far the shortest category-count I have ever seen for a music award show. Only six categories and I’m only doing predictions for five of them. In the past, they’ve presented Duo and Group Video of the Year in two separate categories, but I guess they decided that Brothers Osborne, Maddie & Tae (who aren’t nominated at all despite not one, but two eligible videos), Florida Georgia Line, and Dan + Shay weren’t enough to fill out a Duo category, so they combined them. There’s also not a Collaborative Video of the Year, and I don’t think it’s because of lack of collaborations; there were probably enough even without Luke Bryan and Karen Fairchild making an actual video for “Home Alone Tonight”. But for whatever reason, we only have six awards this year, and seeing as I’m setting the CMT Performance of the Year category to the side, that makes this the shortest and most efficient Forecast I will probably ever do on any award show unless MTV decides to one-up Country Music Television and give us a VMA trophy hall even more depressing than the one they rolled out in 2007 when they clearly didn’t even try. This intro paragraph won’t be the longest thing I type in this entire post, but it might actually come close. So let’s get started with the FearlessRiOT Forecast on the 2016 CMT Music Awards.
Male Video of the Year
“Sangria” vs. “Like A Wrecking Ball” vs. “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” vs. “Kick the Dust Up” vs. “Break Up in a Small Town” vs. “Die A Happy Man”
OK, let me just get the obvious out of the way: two of these videos are just performances from last year’s CMT Awards. What’s up with that? Why does CMT allow artists to get away with using a performance from their own award show as an official music video nominee? And it hurts for me here because imagine what a music video for “Like A Wrecking Ball” would have been like; it would’ve been awesome as long as he kept sledgehammer-licking out of it. “Kick the Dust Up” probably would’ve been an Aladdin parody given how the song sounded. But now that those are out of the way, how about the actual music videos nominated? Well, let’s just say that love is in the air because that’s what three of these other videos are basically about. Sam Hunt seems to be intensely missing Miss Glitch-Face who he apparently isn’t together with anymore, the guy in Blake Shelton’s video apparently doesn’t mind making love to a woman who bathes in liquor, and a shorts-clad Thomas Rhett is just in paradise with this beautiful woman, an acoustic guitar, and several animals. And Keith Urban intertwines clips of himself playing a bass guitar with imagery of country life in his video for a song you might recall he actually premiered with a performance at last year’s CMT Awards.
Who I Want to Win: “Break Up in A Small Town”; while Keith Urban has my favorite song here, Sam Hunt wins for me video-wise.
Who Will Win: Since it’s fan-voted, I see Sam Hunt or Luke Bryan winning, but I could totally see Thomas Rhett taking it home though.
Female Video of the Year
“Burning House” vs. “Smoke Break” vs. “I Got the Boy” vs. “Biscuits” vs. “Dibs” vs. “My Church”
Oh, my God! Six songs and videos by females that I’ve actually frequently heard or seen on country radio and television this year! It’s a miracle! The men pretty much still dominate the country airwaves, but at least Carrie and Miranda aren’t the only solo women in the format who can get airplay anymore. In fact, this category has a couple of newcomers, namely multiple-time nominees and 2016 performers Cam and Maren Morris, both of whom have literal depictions of a burning house and a church in their videos for “Burning House” and “My Church”. While Cam enters a burning house a reunites with a lover (past or maybe present), Maren is leaving church, going for a ride, and picking folks up along the way. Carrie Underwood also goes for a ride in “Smoke Break” before it breaks down and she has to walk. Meanwhile, Kacey Musgraves is having a hoedown, singing with a Muppet, and looking too cute for someone wearing a fake moustache. Kelsea Ballerini has fun on tour…that’s pretty much the “Dibs” video in a nutshell. And Jana Kramer opens a lockbox of memory-conjuring knick-knacks in “I Got The Boy”.
Who I Want to Win: Either Cam because “Burning House” was such an awesome video or Kacey Musgraves because she really should have won one of these by now.
Who Will Win: Carrie Underwood, because she, Miranda Lambert (who didn’t release a video this year), and Taylor Swift (who’s a pop singer now) have had this award locked down for an entire decade, so there’s no reason to believe she won’t win.
Group/Duo Video of the Year
“Stay A Little Longer” vs. “Nothin’ Like You” vs. “Sippin’ On Fire” vs. “Girl Crush” vs. “Break Up With Him” vs. “Loving You Easy”
While I try to comprehend why they felt the need to combine these two categories this year, I may as well analyze what each video bought to the table. Even though he wasn’t the one that took a fist to the face at the end of the video, I kind of feel like the lead singer of Old Dominion kind of had what was coming to him for trying to take the guy’s girl in the video for “Break Up With Him”. Who does he think he is, “Mr. Steal-Yo-Girl” Trey Songz? Meanwhile, Florida Georgia Line just performed in a ring of fire for their video and Dan + Shay decided to chase some dogs around town the day after the 2015 ACM Awards. Little Big Town kept things simple with a beautiful black-and-white performance clip. Brothers Osborne’s video features a ton of making out between couples, including interracial and homosexual ones. Meanwhile, “Loving You Easy” features no love-making; it’s the grayscale day in the life of a beautiful woman who apparently likes Zac Brown Band because she plays their record right in the video.
Who I Want to Win: Little Big Town; I’m down for “Girl Crush” winning practically anything.
Who Will Win: Florida Georgia Line, because they’re still really popular apparently. Only other act I can see winning is Little Big Town.
Breakthrough Video of the Year
“Stay A Little Longer” vs. “Burning House” vs. “Buy Me A Boat” vs. “Fire Away” vs. “My Church” vs. “Break Up With Him”
I didn’t post it on my blog, but in 2015, I did my annual list of my Top 100 favorite music videos of the year. “Burning House” by Cam made it into the Top 10. It’s a wonder video, both visually and in-concept. Cam must be a superhero the way she can time travel and withstand heat for those she cares about. I’ve also said many positive things about Chris Stapleton, but I honestly had no idea he’d released a music video until these nominations came out; a video where he appears, but willingly plays second banana to a relationship that leads to a tragic event. “Buy Me A Boat” is just Chris Jansen singing on a beer cooler about wanting to buy a boat; at least he didn’t go the conventional bro-country route and say he’s gonna buy a truck…except that he did because he needs something to pull the boat, so never mind that. At least Maren Morris actually has a truck, which she rides around Texas to share her adventures with other people. Again, lots of kissing in “Stay A Little Longer” and lots of girl-stealing antics ensure in “Break Up With Him”.
Who I Want to Win: One of three acts: Cam, Maren Morris, or Chris Stapleton.
Who Will Win: I honestly have no idea; this is a hard one to pick. I’m almost positive it won’t be Brothers Osborne or Chris Jansen though.
Video of the Year
“Sangria” vs. “Burning House” vs. “Smoke Break” vs. “Fire Away” vs. “Sippin’ On Fire” vs. “Tonight Looks Good on You” vs. “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” vs. “Girl Crush” vs. “Strip It Down” vs. “Break Up in A Small Town” vs. “Die A Happy Man” vs. “Humble and Kind”
This is going to be tough to predict given that the way CMT does their Video of the Year is drastically different from how stations like MTV, BET, and MuchMusic do for theirs. CMT gives us this huge field of ten or twelve of the biggest country videos of the year, have us vote on them for weeks, and then narrow it down to just five or six videos the day of the show. This means I have to predict not only what the final five or six videos will be, but also who will come out on top of the entire melee. And with so many heavy-hitters here, how do I pick? Blake Shelton showing us the woman bathing in an alcoholic beverage? Cam turning into a time-travelling member of the X-Men? Carrie Underwood’s truck breaking down? Chris Stapleton spotlighting mental health awareness? Florida Georgia Line and the ring of fire? Jason Aldean filling in for a guy so he can be with his woman? Keith Urban’s ode to country life soundtracked by a catchy laundry list of random stuff? A black-and-white Little Big Town seeping into your soul? Luke Bryan showing a couple getting together before stripping it down? (Wait, why wasn’t that the Luke Bryan video in the Male Video category?) Sam Hunt’s run through Glitchville? Thomas Rhett in paradise? Tim McGraw showing us how good life can be if we’re kind to one another?
Who I Want to Win: I can’t praise “Burning House” and “Girl Crush” enough. One of these videos, please!
Who Will Win: Carrie Underwood, because she’s won this award EVERY YEAR since 2007 except 2008, 2009, and 2011 when Taylor Swift did. Everything I just said is true; look it up. With Taylor on Planet Pop now, Carrie is untouchable at the CMT Awards.
What do you think of these predictions? Hit me up on Twitter @FearlessRiOT with your predictions and tune into the CMT Awards this Wednesday night on CMT!