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Lainey Wilson Is Runaway CMA Awards Leader With Nine Nominations; Jelly Roll Follows With Five

CMA Awards voters love Lainey Wilson. The singer ran far ahead of the pack as nominations for the 57th annual Country Music Association Awards were announced Thursday, picking up nine nods, nearly twice as many as the nearest finisher, Jelly Roll, who got five. Luke Combs and Hardy followed with four apiece.

Part of the hat trick Wilson pulled off was landing a nomination for the top prize, entertainer of the year. The CMA tends to make up-and-coming artists wait until they have been headlining arenas for a while before they are admitted into that august category, even if they lead the field of nominees otherwise. But Wilson picked up her entertainer of the year nod while she is only on her second major-label album and has still mostly been an opener on the biggest bills, indicating just how quickly Nashville has embraced her as a mascot for the future of country music.

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This is Wilson’s second year leading the field of nominees, although in 2022 she managed to do it with a mere six nods. The CMA pointed out that she has become the first artist to ever get the most nominations in her first two years of getting any nominations at all.

(Scroll down for the full list of 2023 nominees.)

Part of the reason Wilson fared so well, besides the obvious love for her among voters, is her penchant for participating in duets, which landed her several nominations for being a featured artist on Hardy’s “Wait in the Truck,” on top of the nods for her own singular hit, “Heart Like a Truck.” Both numbers are nominated for single of the year and song of the year. She is also competing against herself in the musical event of the year category, where “Wait in the Truck” is up against “Save Me,” the Jelly Roll song that has Wilson as a featured guest.

On top of competing against herself in those three categories, Wilson is also up for album of the year (for her sophomore BBR effort, “Bell Bottom Country”), female vocalist of the year and music video of the year (“Wait in the Truck”).

Wilson’s competitors for entertainer of the year are Combs, Chris Stapleton, Carrie Underwood and Morgan Wallen. This marks the fourth year in a row that two women have been nominated for the entertainer trophy, after a period of many years in which that number was zero or one. In the previous three years, the female nominees were Underwood and Miranda Lambert, with the latter singer getting bumped out of the category this year.

To win entertainer of the year, Wilson will have to fend off Combs, who won the prize in the previous two years and remains a strong contender in 2023, especially with his cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” currently being a country/Top 40 crossover smash.

A changing of the guard is evident in Jelly Roll’s status as the runner-up among nominees, as neither of the two leaders for the CMA Awards are past having a sophomore major-label release under their belt (although both had independent releases and EPs prior to joining the majors).

The nominees who picked up three nods apiece are Stapleton, Wallen, Jordan Davis, Ashley McBryde, producer/mix engineer Joey Moi, songwriter/producer Jordan Schmidt and musician/producer Derek Wells.

Perhaps the unlikeliest CMA nominee is Tracy Chapman, who is up for song of the year for “Fast Car,” thanks to Combs’ cover. Chapman originally had a pop hit with the tune in 1988. She has been mostly out of sight since releasing her last album 15 years ago, but issued a statement of thanks for Combs’ hit rendition.

Wallen, whose “One Thing at a Time” album has been the biggest release of 2023 in any genre, was well represented in the nominations, as he was last year — although it may be a surprise not to see “Last Night,” which some considered the song of the summer, up for single or song of the year.

Jason Aldean, who has recently been country’s most controversial figure with his polarizing “Try That in a Small Town,” is not up for any CMAs, although it’s not a surprise not to see him among the contenders; he was last nominated in 2018.

The current chart-topper on the Hot 100 and Billboard 200 rankings as well as Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, Zach Bryan, got a single nomination, for new artist of the year. Bryan was shut out last year and, after his fans made a stink, said on Twitter, “Guys I don’t and will never want to be considered at the CMAs. … Truly more fun to laugh at than be butt hurt over.” Bryan’s new album and single came out past the close of the eligibility period, so he may yet be in contention next year (whether he welcomes it or not). Bryan did say last year at this time, in response to a Twitter user who suggested he do a gig right outside the CMAs in 2023, that “if I don’t have a show, you have my word on this.” Bryan does not have any concerts booked for November, so it remains to be seen whether he’ll live up to his word and busk outside the Bridgestone Arena.

The full list of nominees for the 2023 awards, to take place Nov. 8 and be broadcast live on ABC:

 
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

  • Luke Combs

  • Chris Stapleton

  • Carrie Underwood

  • Morgan Wallen

  • Lainey Wilson

SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Award goes to Artist(s), Producer(s) and Mix Engineer(s)

  • “Fast Car” – Luke Combs
    Producers: Luke Combs, Chip Matthews, Jonathan Singleton
    Mix Engineer: Chip Matthews

  • “Heart Like a Truck” – Lainey Wilson
    Producer: Jay Joyce
    Mix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce

  • “Need A Favor” – Jelly Roll
    Producer: Austin Nivarel
    Mix Engineer: Jeff Braun

  • “Next Thing You Know” – Jordan Davis
    Producer: Paul DiGiovanni
    Mix Engineer: Jim Cooley

  • “Wait in the Truck” – Hardy (feat. Lainey Wilson)
    Producers: Hardy, Joey Moi, Jordan Schmidt, Derek Wells
    Mix Engineer: Joey Moi

ALBUM OF THE YEAR  
Award goes to Artist, Producer(s) and Mix Engineer(s)

  • Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville – Ashley McBryde
    Producers: John Osborne, John Peets
    Mix Engineers: Gena Johnson, John Osborne

  • Bell Bottom Country – Lainey Wilson
    Producer: Jay Joyce
    Mix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce

  • Gettin’ Old – Luke Combs
    Producers: Luke Combs, Chip Matthews, Jonathan Singleton
    Mix Engineers: Michael H. Brauer, Jim Cooley, Chip Matthews

  • One Thing At A Time – Morgan Wallen
    Producers: Jacob Durrett, Charlie Handsome, Joey Moi, Cameron Montgomery
    Mix Engineers: Josh Ditty, Joey Moi, Eivind Nordland

  • Rolling Up the Welcome Mat – Kelsea Ballerini
    Producers: Kelsea Ballerini, Alysa Vanderheym
    Mix Engineers: Dan Grech-Marguerat, Alysa Vanderheym

SONG OF THE YEAR 
Award goes to Songwriter(s)

  • “Fast Car”
    Songwriter: Tracy Chapman

  • “Heart Like A Truck”
    Songwriters: Trannie Anderson, Dallas Wilson, Lainey Wilson

  • “Next Thing You Know”
    Songwriters: Jordan Davis, Greylan James, Chase McGill, Josh Osborne

  • “Tennessee Orange”
    Songwriters: David Fanning, Paul Jenkins, Megan Moroney, Ben Williams

  • “Wait in the Truck”
    Songwriters: Renee Blair, Michael Hardy, Hunter Phelps, Jordan Schmidt

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

  • Kelsea Ballerini

  • Miranda Lambert

  • Ashley McBryde

  • Carly Pearce

  • Lainey Wilson

MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

  • Luke Combs

  • Jelly Roll

  • Cody Johnson

  • Chris Stapleton

  • Morgan Wallen

VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR

  • Lady A

  • Little Big Town

  • Midland

  • Old Dominion

  • Zac Brown Band

VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR

  • Brooks & Dunn

  • Brothers Osborne

  • Dan + Shay

  • Maddie & Tae

  • The War And Treaty

MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR  
Award goes to Artists and Producer(s)

  • “Save Me” Jelly Roll (with Lainey Wilson)

Producers: Zach Crowell, David Ray Stevens

  • “She Had Me At Heads Carolina (Remix)” Cole Swindell & Jo Dee Messina

Producer: Zach Crowell

  • “Thank God” Kane Brown (with Katelyn Brown)

Producer: Dann Huff

  • “Wait in the Truck” Hardy (feat. Lainey Wilson)

Producers: Hardy, Joey Moi, Jordan Schmidt, Derek Wells

  • “We Don’t Fight Anymore” Carly Pearce (featuring Chris Stapleton)

Producers: Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne, Carly Pearce

MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR

  • Jenee Fleenor

  • Paul Franklin

  • Rob McNelley

  • Derek Wells

  • Charlie Worsham

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR  
Award goes to Artist(s) and Director(s)

  • “Light On In The Kitchen” Ashley McBryde

Director: Reid Long

  • “Memory Lane” Old Dominion

Directors: Mason Allen, Nicki Fletcher

  • “Need A Favor” Jelly Roll

Director: Patrick Tohill

  • “Next Thing You Know” Jordan Davis

Director: Running Bear

  • “Wait in the Truck” Hardy (feat. Lainey Wilson)

Director: Justin Clough

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR

  • Zach Bryan

  • Jelly Roll

  • Parker McCollum

  • Megan Moroney

  • Hailey Whitters

2023 CMA BROADCAST AWARDS – FINALISTS FOR BROADCAST PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR (by market size):    

Weekly National

  • “American Country Countdown” (Kix Brooks) – Cumulus/Westwood One

  • “Country Countdown USA” (Lon Helton) – Compass Media Networks

  • “Honky Tonkin’ with Tracy Lawrence” (Tracy Lawrence and Patrick Thomas) – Silverfish Media

  • “On The Horizon with Buzz Brainard” (Buzz Brainard) – SiriusXM

  • “Y’all Access with Kelly Sutton” (Kelly Sutton) – Firefly Media/Silverfish Media

Daily National

  • “Angie Ward” – iHeartMedia

  • “The Big D and Bubba Show” (Derek “Big D” Haskins, Sean “Bubba” Powell, Patrick Thomas, and Carsen Humphreville) – Silverfish Media

  • “Katie & Company” (Katie Neal) – Audacy

  • “Nights with Elaina” (Elaina Smith) – Westwood One

  • “The Sam Alex Show” (Sam Alex) – Sam Alex Productions, LLC

Major Market

  • “Chris Carr & Company” (Chris Carr, Kia Becht, and Sam Sansevere) – KEEY, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.

  • “Frito & Katy” (Tucker “Frito” Young and Katy Dempsey) – KCYY, San Antonio, Texas

  • “Hawkeye in the Morning with Hawkeye and Michelle” (“Hawkeye” Mark Louis Rybczyk and Michelle Rodriguez) – KSCS, Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

  • “Josh, Rachael & Grunwald” (Josh Holleman, Rachael Hunter, and Steve Grunwald) – WYCD, Detroit, Mich.

  • “Scotty Kay” (Scotty Kay) – WUSN, Chicago, Ill.

Large Market

  • “The Big Dave Show” (“Big Dave” Chandler, Ashley Heiert, and Jason “Stattman” Statt) – WUBE, Cincinnati, Ohio

  • “The Morning Drive with Mike Kellar and Jenny Matthews” (Mike Kellar and Jenny Matthews) – KBEQ, Kansas City, Mo.

  • “Scott and Shannen” (Scott Dolphin and “Shannen O” Oesterreich) – WMIL, Milwaukee-Racine, Wis.

  • “Tim & Chelsea In The Morning” (Tim Leary and Chelsea Taylor) – WIRK, West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, Fla.

  • “The Wayne D Show” (“Wayne D” Danielson and Tay Hamilton) – WSIX, Nashville, Tenn.

Medium Market

  • “Cait & Bradley Morning Show” (Cait Fisher and Matt Bradley) – KWEN, Tulsa, Okla.

  • “Clay & Company” (Clay Moden, Rob Banks, and Kadie Daye) – WYRK, Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.

  • “Ellis and Bradley Show” (Bill Ellis and Beth Bradley) – WSSL, Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.

  • “Mo & StyckMan” (Melissa “Mo” Wagner and Greg “StyckMan” Owens) – WUSY, Chattanooga, Tenn.

  • “Steve & Gina In The Morning” (Steve Lundy and Gina Melton) – KXKT, Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb.-Iowa

Small Market

  • “The B100 Morning Show with Brittney Baily” (Brittney Baily) – WBYT, South Bend, Ind.

  • “The Eddie Foxx Show” (Eddie Foxx and Amanda Foxx) – WKSF, Asheville, N.C.

  • “Officer Don & DeAnn” (“Officer Don” Evans and DeAnn Stephens) – WBUL, Lexington-Fayette, Ky.

  • “Steve & Tiffany in the Morning” (Steve Waters and Tiffany Kay) – WFLS, Fredericksburg, Va.

  • “Steve, Ben and Nikki” (Steve Stroud, Ben Walker, and Nikki Thomas) – WXBQ, Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, Tenn.-Va.

2023 CMA BROADCAST AWARDS – FINALISTS FOR RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR (by market size):

Major Market

  • KCYY – San Antonio, Texas

  • KEEY – Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minn.

  • KKBQ – Houston, Texas

  • KSCS – Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

  • WXTU – Philadelphia, Pa.

Large Market

  • WIRK – West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, Fla.

  • WKDF – Nashville, Tenn.

  • WMIL – Milwaukee-Racine, Wis.

  • WUBE – Cincinnati, Ohio

  • WWKA – Orlando, Fla.

Medium Market

  • KUZZ – Bakersfield, Calif.

  • KXKT – Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb.-Iowa

  • WGGY – Wilkes Barre-Scranton, Pa.

  • WPCV – Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.

  • WQMX – Akron, Ohio

Small Market

  • KCLR – Columbia, Mo.

  • WBYT – South Bend, Ind.

  • WKML – Fayetteville, N.C.

  • WXBQ – Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, Tenn.-Va.

  • WYCT – Pensacola, Fla.

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