The CMT Awards Are Here! Prediction Time!

Country music award shows are some of my favorite nights. It’s one big party where all of your friends attend. That’s the beauty of country music. Everyone roots for each other and is legitimately good friends with each other.

The CMT Awards aren’t as prestigious as the CMA’s or ACM’s, but it still carries enough weight. The unique part is that it’s only for music videos. Which I love.

It gives artists an incentive to put out creative and well thought out music videos for their songs. I get so frustrated with lyric videos and even more frustrated with videos that are nothing but concert footage. I get why it’s done, but man, when there’s a good video that enhances the lyrics and message it makes that song that much better.

I’m not going to base my “ballot” based on the way the video was shot, the types of camera angles, etc. I’m going to base it on three things: how creative it is, what kind of story does it tell, and how do I feel emotionally after watching it. Brownie points if the artist is able to throw you for a twist and surprise you.

MALE VIDEO OF THE YEAR

“I’ll Name The Dogs” – Blake Shelton
“Small Town Boy” – Dustin Lynch
“You Make It Easy” – Jason Aldean
“Heartache On The Dance Floor” – Jon Pardi
“Light It Up” – Luke Bryan
“Marry Me” – Thomas Rhett

I can’t quite believe I’m picking against Thomas Rhett and his great video but I am. Jason Aldean’s “You Make It Easy” video series was a new idea I haven’t seen before. The story of the couple throughout the series isn’t what comes to mind when you hear this song but after watching the series it really makes the lyrics stand out and come to life.

FEMALE VIDEO OF THE YEAR

“Every Little Thing” – Carly Pearce
“Champion” – Carrie Underwood feat. Ludacris
“Legends” – Kelsea Ballerini
“Doin’ Fine” – Lauren Alaina
“I Could Use a Love Song” – Maren Morris
“Tin Man” – Miranda Lambert

Don’t get me started on why “Tin Man” is up for nomination when it’s just Miranda singing the song at the ACMs. Rant over. This category was a no brainer for me. “Legends” by Kelsea Ballerini is such a beautiful song and the title of her album. What her and her team were able to do with this was amazing. This video made me smile, cry, laugh, punched me in the gut, and gave me goosebumps. All in four minutes. I just think this video is so powerful. Might be my favorite all year. More on that later.

DUO VIDEO OF THE YEAR

“California” – Big & Rich
“It Ain’t My Fault” – Brothers Osborne
“Tequila” – Dan + Shay
“Smooth” – Florida Georgia Line
“She’s With Me” – High Valley
“Speak To A Girl” – Tim McGraw & Faith Hill

Dan + Shay win this with a late push. The “Tequila” video was only released three months ago but the song and video have been a smash from the start. There are parts of the video that enhance the lyrics (Colorado, tequila) and surprises such as the main character being deaf. Such a creative concept that nobody saw coming.

COLLABORATIVE VIDEO OF THE YEAR

“Meant To Be” – Florida Georgia Line feat. Bebe Rexha
“Champion” – Carrie Underwood feat. Ludacris
“Flatliner” – Cole Swindell feat. Dirks Bentley
“Say Something” – Chris Stapleton feat. Justin Timberlake
“What Ifs” – Kane Brown feat. Lauren Alaina
“Craving You” – Thomas Rhett feat. Maren Morris

“Craving You” is such a fun uptempo song that makes you want to scream it at the top of your lungs. The video is out of left field but showcases Rhett’s family man persona and Morris’ baddassery. Yes I just made that up. It doesn’t exude a lot of emotion out of you but it doesn’t need to. It’s catchy, intriguing, and just a fun video. They could’ve settled for a video of them performing in concert together, but they didn’t.

GROUP VIDEO OF THE YEAR

“You Look Good” – Lady Antebellum
“Greatest Love Story” – LANCO
“When Someone Stops Loving You” – Little Big Town
“Make a Little” – Midland
“No Such Thing as a Broken Heart” – Old Dominion
“Yours If You Want It” – Rascal Flatts
“My Old Man” – Zac Brown Band

Sometimes music videos just need to follow the lyrics of the song. If the lyrics and the song is that good it just comes down to telling the story and making it relatable to everyone. LANCO’s “Greatest Love Story” tells the love story from the early years in elementary school, through the tough times of not being together, and finally rekindling the flame after college. It’s simple, but sweet.

BREAKTHROUGH VIDEO OF THE YEAR

“Every Little Thing” – Carly Pearce
“Sway” – Danielle Bradbery
“All On Me” – Devin Dawson
“Greatest Love Story” – LANCO
“Yours” – Russell Dickerson
“You Broke Up With Me” – Walker Hayes

I would have to lean toward “Greatest Love Story” winning this category too. But for fun, let’s pick someone else. My vote would be Carly Pearce’s “Every Little Thing.” The smash hit that went all the way to number one is a somber song that is carried by Pearce’s powerful vocals. You can get a sense of the emotion in her voice during the song but I think she does a really good job selling it in the music video. It actually looks like she’s dealing with heartbreak. It comes off so natural.

CMT PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR

“Stand Up For Something” – Andra Day, Common, Little Big Town, Lee Ann Womack and Danielle Bradbery
“Everybody” – Backstreet Boys and Florida Georgia Line
“Midnight Rider” – Charles Kelley, Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker and Derek Trucks
“September” – Earth Wind & Fire and Lady Antebellum
“I Won’t Back Down” – Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton and Little Big Town
“The Fighter” – Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood

This one is kind of silly in my opinion. It’s an odd category. I think it’s a way for CMT to promote their Crossroads series, which is fantastic by the way. If I had to pick one from the list, I’m going to pull the millennial card and go with Backstreet Boys and Florida Georgia Line. The song is catchy to begin with and add FGL in there and it’s low hanging fruit. The video below isn’t from the Crossroads performance, but rather the ACM’s. You know you want to see Tim McGraw freak out. That’s the cherry on top. (Skip to the 3:00 minute mark)

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

“Meant To Be” – Florida Georgia Line feat. Bebe Rexha
“I’ll Name the Dogs” – Blake Shelton
“Mercy” – Brett Young
“It Ain’t My Fault” – Brothers Osborne
“Champion” – Carrie Underwood feat. Ludacris
“Tequila” – Dan + Shay
“You Make It Easy” – Jason Aldean
“Say Something” – Chris Stapleton feat. Justin Timberlake
“What Ifs” – Kane Brown feat. Lauren Alaina
“Legends” – Kelsea Ballerini
“When It Rains It Pours” – Luke Combs
“Marry Me” – Thomas Rhett

Man is that a tough list to choose from. Only one gets to win? Sheesh. Jason Aldean and Dan + Shay narrowly miss the top spot. Both had great videos that pulled at the heart strings and threw a bit of a curveball. However, the winner has to be “Legends” by Kelsea Ballerini.

As I had mentioned in the Female Video of the Year category, this video honestly made me experience so many emotions. You instantly get attached to the couple and are invested. Throughout the video you see them grow their relationship and their family. But in the back of your mind you remember the opening scene of a car accident. That can’t happen, can it? Then it’s the birthday party. And they’re out of ice. He dies because he had to make an ice run?! It absolutely ripped my heart out. When their son walks across the graduation stage at the end of the video and gives his mom the “E.T.” wave…if that doesn’t give you goosebumps you don’t have a soul.

The Legends video is what I would hope to experience with every music video. While I know that’s unrealistic, I know that it adds to the song. I can’t hear that song without thinking of the video and that storyline.

Like Kelsea sings in the song: “Tragic and epic and so amazing.” It really is.

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