You really don’t have to look at the list of this year’s Country Music Association nominees to determine the winner will probably be male. For 2018, a male is a shoo-in. How can I be so sure?
All the nominees are male:
2018 CMA Awards Nominees:
Entertainer of the Year
If you look at the list of winners for the Entertainer of the Year, dating to 1967, the majority of winners have been male. The list assembled by CMA World only goes through 2016. Garth Brooks won it for the second year in a row in 2017. Roughly 15 percent of the Entertainers of the Year have been female. The last time a woman won it was in 2009 when pop crossover star Taylor Swift won it.
I’m not suggesting CMA pick a woman just to pick a woman. However, there is at least one glaring omission. That would be Miranda Lambert, arguably the reigning queen of country. For the life of me, I can’t fathom why she hasn’t won the award or why she isn’t at least on the nominee list this year.
I think the reach of the high powered radio consultant who inspired ‘Tomato-Gate’ is longer than many understood when that controversy arose:
“Radio consultant Keith Hill set off a firestorm in 2015 when he said in an interview with Country Aircheck, a leading country trade publication, “The expectation is we’re principally a male format with a smaller female component…. Trust me, I play great female records, and we’ve got some right now; they’re just not the lettuce in our salad. The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and artists like that. The tomatoes of our salad are the females.” Now dubbed “Tomato-gate,” Mr. Hill’s comments drew sharp criticism from many big-name women artists in the industry such as Martina McBride and Jennifer Nettles. But it also sparked change.”
I don’t think there should be a mandate. I do think some minds need to open. How can you like a song you never heard? Furthermore, how can you listen to the songs on repeat cycles on most country radio stations?
I’m not sure what you do to change the mindset of programming in radio. I am sure Miranda Lambert shouldn’t have been overlooked for this award. Lambert is up for several other awards, but the award conferring a legacy is the Entertainer of the Year. Loretta Lynn was the first woman to win the CMA Entertainer of the Year Award. She won it in 1972.
This year, like most other years, the CMA Entertainer of the Year Award will go to a man in an era when women in country are abundant. This is the result of a mindset that may or may not be based on the merit of the entertainer or the quality of the music. To me, that’s worrisome.
See the full list of CMA nominees in all categories at Wide Open Country. The awards show airs Nov. 14 from Nashville.
(Featured photo from @MuttNation, Miranda Lambert’s charity endeavors to help rescue dogs.)
(Photo credit Loretta Lynn: Scott Schram)
(Kay B. Day/Aug. 29, 2018)