Miranda Lambert is the most nominated artist at the 2017 CMA Awards with five bids, including Album of the Year (“The Weight of These Wings”), which she has won twice before (for “Revolution” in 2010 and “Platinum” in 2014); and Female Vocalist of the Year, which she has won six times before (2010-2015), more than any other artist in CMA history. But Lambert is not nominated this year for the top award, Entertainer of the Year. That should be surprising, but it isn’t. I addressed the issue last year too: it has become par for the course that for the Country Musical Association, female entertainers need not apply.
This year’s nominees for Entertainer of the Year are Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Chris Stapleton, and Keith Urban. Of those, Brooks and Bryan have no other nominations, Church has additional bids for Male Vocalist and Musical Event of the Year (“Kill a Word” with Rhiannon Giddens), Stapleton is up for Male Vocalist and Album of the Year (“From A Room: Volume 1”), and Urban contends for Male Vocalist as well as Single and Music Video of the Year for “Blue Ain’t Your Color.” But none of them have the broad support that Lambert does this year. All five nominees have also headlined concert tours in 2017, but so has Lambert: the “Highway Vagabond Tour,” which started in January and is scheduled to end in October.
It’s not just Lambert who has been left out in the cold over the years. Only seven female acts have ever won Entertainer of the Year in half a century of the CMA Awards: Loretta Lynn (1972), Dolly Parton (1978), Barbara Mandrell (1980-1981), Reba McEntire (1986), Shania Twain (1999), Dixie Chicks (2000), and Taylor Swift (2009, 2011). Mandrell and Swift are the only women to win twice. And the Dixie Chicks and Swift are the only female winners so far in the 21st century. Since 2000, there have been 90 nominations for Entertainer of the Year, but only 12 of those went to female artists, including the mixed-gender group Lady Antebellum, nominated just once in the top race (2010).
So why does the Country Music Association have such a blind spot where women are concerned?
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