The 50th CMA Awards air Wednesday night on ABC and this year’s milestone show features some of the tightest races in the history of the awards.
The Entertainer of the Year field – Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Garth Brooks, Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood – is one big wild card, with Bryan looming to three-peat. Assuming Underwood doesn’t finally break through to win her first-ever CMA Entertainer title. And it’s never wise to rule out the power of Garth.
Album of the Year is another close one to watch. Dierks Bentley’s Black and Eric Church’s Mr. Misunderstood are the arguable front-runners, with Maren Morris’ sterling debut Hero, Keith Urban’s progressive Ripcord and Underwood’s rootsy Storyteller rounding out the category.
At last year’s CMAs, Chris Stapleton was the breakout winner, announcing himself on the country stage in a big way. Some believe Morris, who has been generating buzz with her crossover sound and the ubiquitous single “My Church,” could do likewise.
Both Stapleton and Morris are set to perform, along with Eric Church, Little Big Town, Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini and a host of country icons, from Alabama to Charley Pride. Peyton Manning, Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Sharon Stone and Lily Tomlin are among the celebrity presenters.
The 50th CMA Awards air November 2nd at 8:00 p.m./ET on ABC.