Surprise snubs make the winner of the Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group Performance easy to predict. Had Lady Antebellum — who won this award last year for “Need You Now” — contended for “Just a Kiss,” we might have a race on our hands. Even Zac Brown Band‘s “Colder Weather” or Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood‘s “Remind Me” might’ve spiced things up.
Instead, Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson are sure to win for their duet “Don’t You Wanna Stay.” The crossover hit — which climbed to #3 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in addition to topping the country list — is reminiscent of “Need You Now,” full of romantic desperation and powerful, longing vocals.
New artists The Civil Wars have fans in the likes of Adele and Taylor Swift, both of whom helped raise the duo’s profile. It paid off with Grammy bids for “Barton Hollow” in this race and Best Folk Album. Their best chance to win is in the latter.
One of the biggest names in country music is Kenny Chesney, but he has been largely overlooked by the Grammys with this being only his third nomination. He lost both of his previous bids and is unlikely to prevail for this collaboration with Grace Potter on “You and Tequila.” Though the song is lovely, there are heavier hitters in the mix.
A #1 hit on country radio, newcomers Thompson Square‘s “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” contends here and in Best Country Song. The single will likely sound too insubstantial when stacked against the more dramatic work they’re competing against this year.
It is inexplicable why there are only four nominees in this category as Best New Artist nominee The Band Perry‘s “You Lie” and Alison Krauss & Union Station‘s “Paper Airplane” were both worthy contenders.
Listen to the nominated songs below.