Luke Bryan only has two nominations at the ACM Awards, but he will nevertheless win Entertainer of the Year for the third time in four years according to the combined predictions of our Editors who cover awards year-round for Gold Derby, the Top 24 Users who got the highest scores predicting last year’s winners and the hundreds of total Users who make up our largest and often savviest bloc of predictors.
Seventeen of our Top 24 are predicting Bryan to prevail, giving him 1/2 odds; that includes Paul Rankin, who tied for the top score (73%) predicting last year’s ACMs. And all of our editors agree: Chris Beachum, Marcus Dixon, Rob Licuria, Paul Sheehan and I are betting on a repeat victory for Bryan.
Bryan previously won last year and in 2012. His only loss was in 2013 to veteran George Strait. But even that year he had more nominations than he does now. His only other bid at these awards is Vocal Event of the Year for “Home Alone Tonight” with Karen Fairchild. This is the first time in four years he’s not even nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year. However, it’s worth noting that Bryan is co-hosting the awards for the fourth year in a row, this time with Dierks Bentley.
But our top users aren’t unanimous. Three others are predicting Miranda Lambert, giving her 13/2 odds. This is her fifth nomination in five years, but she has never won the top prize. This year she has only two other bids: Female Vocalist and Vocal Event of the Year (“Smokin and Drinkin” with Little Big Town).
Three more top users are predicting Jason Aldean, giving him 13/2 odds as well. Like Lambert, Aldean contends for the fifth time in six years but hasn’t won yet. And though he only has one other nomination, it’s for Male Vocalist where Bryan is absent, so maybe that really gives Aldean the advantage.
Our last top user is going out on a limb for Garth Brooks, giving him 16/1 odds. Brooks has no other nominations this year, but maybe a victory for him is not so far-fetched. After all, Brooks has won six times before (1990-1993, 1997-1998), and Strait’s win two years ago shows that ACM voters are open to awarding an older veteran in this race.
None of our editors or top users are predicting the last nominee, Eric Church. That’s ironic because Church has by far the most nominations of any artist in this contest (six). He’s also the only artist with a current album in contention (“Mr. Misunderstood,” nominated for Album of the Year).
This is Church’s first nomination for the top prize, so maybe academy members won’t think him quite as due for a top victory as frequent also-rans Lambert and Aldean, but when Luke Bryan first won this award in 2012, that was his first nomination too, so maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to rule out Church.
Make your ACM Awards Awards predictions starting with Entertainer of the Year to the right or at the bottom of this post.
You’ll compete to win our contest prize for best picks — a $100 Amazon gift certificate — as well as a contest rules.
Photo credit: CBS