It has been more than a decade since Kenny Chesney last won Album of the Year at the CMA Awards. He prevailed for "When the Sun Goes Down" back in 2004 on his second of four total nominations in this category. That also happened to be the year he won the first of his four Entertainer of the Year titles. He's up for both awards again this year. Will history repeat itself?
Chesney's other three previous Album bids were for "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems" in 2002, "The Road and the Radio" in 2006 and "Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates" in 2008. This year he contends for "The Big Revival," his 16th studio album, which debuted at number-two on the Billboard 200 album chart when it was released in September 2014. It's the frontrunner to win according to our racetrack odds.
Those odds are based on the combined predictions of our Editors (those of us Gold Derby writers who cover awards year-round), Top 24 Users (those two dozen folks who had the best scores predicting last year's CMAs) and all Users who have entered our predictions contest. Based on our collective input, "Big Revival" gets leading odds of 21/20, with support from five out of six Editors, 13 of our Top 24 Users and 36% of all Users.
But ranked a close second is critics' darling Kacey Musgraves, whose sophomore effort, "Pageant Material," gets 7/2 odds based on support from seven of our Top 24 Users and 31% of all Users. This is her second nomination in the category, following her 2013 bid for her acclaimed debut, "Same Trailer Different Park."
You also shouldn't rule out Jason Aldean, who ranks third with odds of 7/1 for "Old Boots, New Dirt." He won this category on his only previous nomination, for "My Kinda Party" in 2011. And "Old Boots" is by far the best-selling album in this race; it's the only contender with platinum record sales. One Editor, two of our Top 24 and 12% of all Users say he'll pull off an upset.
Little Big Town are also strong contenders for "Pain Killer," their sixth studio album. We rank them fourth with odds of 15/2. It's their second nomination in this category following a bid for their previous album "Tornado" in 2013, and though they're not forecast to win this race, they lead our predictions for Vocal Group as well as Single and Music Video of the Year for "Girl Crush." Two of our Top 24 and 18% of all Users are betting on them to prevail.
Make your own CMA picks now to the right or at the bottom of this post, and you could win a $100 Amazon gift card as well as a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year's Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year's CMA winners).
Last year, our Editors (Gold Derby's in-house team of writers and prognosticators), Top 24 Users and all Gold Derby Users tied with an accuracy rate of 66.67% when it came to predicting the CMA winners. (Click on any of these groups to see what they got right and wrong last year.)
Which group will be victorious this year? User Dehlavi got the top score predicting the CMAs last year with a whopping 89% accuracy rate. As some of our Users turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, it's important that you give us your predictions. Your picks influence our Users racetrack odds, which also factor into our official combined odds.
Photo Credit: Kenny Chesney: Jim Smeal/BEI/REX
Photo Credit: "Big Revival" album cover: Blue Chair/Columbia Nashville