2020 CMA Awards: Miranda Lambert leads with 7 noms, Luke Combs’ streak continues

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country star Miranda Lambert turns her “Wildcard” into an ace as she’s the leading nominee at the 2020 Country Music Association Awards, including her first entertainer of the year nomination in five years.

The CMAs announced Tuesday that Lambert earned seven nominations. The Grammy winner was pushed by the success of songs like “Bluebird,” her first country airplay No. 1 in years, as well as positive reviews of her smart and sassy “Wildcard” album. She’s followed by Luke Combs, who continues his streak of success as one of country music’s biggest streaming artists with six nominations, including his first for entertainer of the year. Combs earned his first all-genre No. 1 album last year with “What You See Is What You Get,” which had the largest streaming week ever for a country album with 74 million on-demand streams.

The CMA Awards are normally held in November in Nashville, although details on this year’s awards show have not yet been released.

Dan + Shay’s Dan Smyers has six nominations, including four he shares with bandmate Shay Mooney and three with pop star Justin Bieber for their crossover hit “10,000 Hours.” Smyers earned individual nominations for his work as a producer on the song. These are the first CMA nominations for Bieber, who won a CMT Music Award in 2011 for “That Should Be Me” with Rascal Flatts.

Carrie Underwood join Lambert and Combs in the entertainer of the year category, along with Keith Urban and Eric Church. Garth Brooks, who won last year, recently announced he no longer wanted to be nominated for entertainer of the year because it was time for others to win.

Other top nominees include Maren Morris, who scored five nominations including song and single of the year for her love song, “The Bones.” Her track became the longest-running No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot country songs chart by a solo female artist since Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together.”

Producer Jay Joyce also earned five nominations for his work on albums by Lambert and Ashley McBryde, who earned three nominations including album of the year and female vocalist of the year.

Here’s the full list of nominees:

Entertainer of the Year

  • Eric Church
  • Luke Combs
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Keith Urban

Female Vocalist of the Year

  • Miranda Lambert
  • Ashley McBryde
  • Maren Morris
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Carrie Underwood

Male Vocalist of the Year

  • Eric Church
  • Luke Combs
  • Thomas Rhett
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Keith Urban

Vocal Group of the Year

  • Lady A
  • Little Big Town
  • Midland
  • Old Dominion
  • Rascal Flatts

Vocal Duo of the Year

  • Brooks & Dunn
  • Brothers Osborne
  • Dan + Shay
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Maddie & Tae

New Artist of the Year

  • Jimmie Allen
  • Ingrid Andress
  • Gabby Barrett
  • Carly Pearce
  • Morgan Wallen

Album of the Year (Awarded to Artist(s) and Producer(s))

  • What You See Is What You Get, Luke Combs (Producer: Scott Moffatt)
  • Heartache Medication, Jon Pardi (Producers: Bart Butler, Ryan Gore, Jon Pardi)
  • Never Will, Ashley McBryde (Producers: Jay Joyce, John Peets)
  • Old Dominion, Old Dominion (Producers: Shane McAnally, Old Dominion)
  • Wildcard, Miranda Lambert (Producer: Jay Joyce)

Song of the Year (Awarded to Songwriter(s))

  • “Bluebird,” Miranda Lambert (Songwriters: Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby, Miranda Lambert)
  • “The Bones,” Maren Morris (Songwriters: Maren Morris, Jimmy Robbins, Laura Veltz)
  • “Even Though I’m Leaving,” Luke Combs (Songwriters: Luke Combs, Wyatt Durrette, Ray Fulcher)
  • “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” Carly Pearce and Lee Brice (Songwriters: Luke Combs, Randy Montana, Carly Pearce, Jonathan Singleton)
  • “More Hearts Than Mine,” Ingrid Andress (Songwriters: Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis, Derek Southerland)

Single of the Year (Awarded to Artist(s), Producer(s) and Mix Engineer(s))

  • “I Hope,” Gabby Barrett (Producers: Ross Copperman, Zach Kale; Mix Engineer: Buckley Miller)
  • “Beer Never Broke My Heart,” Luke Combs (Producer: Scott Moffatt; Mix Engineer: Jim Cooley)
  • “10,000 Hours,” Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber (Producer: Dan Smyers; Mix Engineer: Jeff Juliano)
  • “Bluebird,” Miranda Lambert (Producer: Jay Joyce; Mix Engineers: Jason Hull, Jay Joyce)
  • “The Bones,” Maren Morris (Producer: Greg Kurstin; Mix Engineer: Greg Kurstin)

Musical Event of the Year (Awarded to Artists and Producer(s))

  • “10,000 Hours,” Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber (Producer: Dan Smyers)
  • “Be a Light,” Thomas Rhett with Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, Chris Tomlin and Keith Urban (Producer: Dann Huff)
  • “The Bones,” Maren Morris feat. Hozier (Producer: Greg Kurstin)
  • “Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” Miranda Lambert with Maren Morris, Ashley McBryde, Tenille Townes, Caylee Hammack and Elle King (Producer: Jay Joyce)
  • “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” Carly Pearce and Lee Brice (Producer: Busbee)

Music Video of the Year (Awarded to Artist(s) and Director(s))

  • “10,000 Hours,” Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber (Director: Patrick Tracy)
  • “Bluebird,” Miranda Lambert (Director: Trey Fanjoy)
  • “Homemade,” Jake Owen (Director: Justin Clough)
  • “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” Carly Pearce and Lee Brice (Director: Sam Siske)
  • “Second One to Know,” Chris Stapleton (Director: David Coleman)

Musician of the Year

  • Jenee Fleenor, fiddle
  • Paul Franklin, steel guitar
  • Rob McNelley, guitar
  • Ilya Toshinsky, guitar
  • Derek Wells, guitar

After years of criticism for the lack of women on country radio, women actually outnumber men in the new artist category, which include Carly Pearce, Gabby Barrett and Ingrid Andress. Pearce earned three more nominations for her duet with Lee Brice, “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” which was co-written by Combs. Barrett, who competed on “American Idol,” earned a nomination for single of the year with “I Hope,” a No. 1 country hit and Top 10 success on the pop charts. And Andress was nominated for song of the year with “More Hearts Than Mine.” Morgan Wallen and Jimmie Allen round out the new artist nominees.

Notable snubs missing from the nomination list include country icon Tanya Tucker, who earned her first two Grammy Awards this year for her comeback album “While I’m Livin.'” The Chicks, who returned with their first new album in 14 years, also weren’t nominated, likely due to a longstanding rift between some country fans and the outspoken female group. Sam Hunt, who put out a long-awaited album this year, was also missing from the nominations.

The coronavirus pandemic likely affected some of the nominations this year because touring was postponed and some albums were pushed back. Luke Bryan, who delayed his album until after the cutoff deadline for this year’s awards show, was not nominated.