It looks like one of the closest races at this year's CMA Awards is New Artist of the Year. According to the combined predictions of our Editors (those of us Gold Derby writers who cover music awards year-round), Top 24 Users (those two dozen folks who had the best scores predicting last year's CMAs) and all Users, it's a tight two-way contest between Chris Stapleton and Sam Hunt.
Stapleton has the slight edge with support from all six Editors and 13 of our Top 24 Users, which translates to leading odds of 10/11. That could be due to the fact that the Country Music Association also nominated Stapleton for Album of the Year ("Traveller") and Male Vocalist of the Year, both categories where Hunt was eligible but snubbed.
However, Hunt is arguably the biggest new hit-maker in country music. His album "Montevallo" topped Billboard's country chart and has been certified gold based on more than half a million units sold. It commercially outperformed Stapleton's "Traveller." and produced four hit singles including the double-platinum "Take Your Time," which contends for Single and Song of the Year. 10 of our Top 24 are predicting Hunt's victory, and he's the top choice of all Users, resulting in odds of 13/5.
Next in line is the breakthrough duo Maddie and Tae with 10/1 odds. They also contend for Vocal Duo and Music Video of the Year ("Girl in a Country Song"). Fourth with 12/1 odds is Kelsea Ballerini, who is also up for Female Vocalist of the Year. Trailing with 22/1 odds is Thomas Rhett, which is ironic because this is his second straight nomination for New Artist. But this is Rhett's only bid this year.
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: Sam Hunt. Credit: Manuel Nauta/NurPhoto/REX
Photo: Chris Stapleton. Credit: Erik Pendzich/REX