The 2018 CMA Awards take place on Wednesday, Nov. 14 in Nashville, and along with a host of performances, several of country's biggest stars will be honored with some of the most prestigious awards in the industry.
From newcomers to established names, there are plenty of opportunities for snubs and surprises during country music's biggest night. While some of the awards are more of a seemingly safe bet than others, there's always room for guessing as to who's going to take home the award for everything from Album of the Year to Entertainer of the Year.
Read through to see who PopCulture.com picked to take home a trophy Wednesday night, and see if we're right when the awards air at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Song of the Year
Nominees: “Body Like A Back Road,” Sam Hunt, “Broken Halos,” Chris Stapleton, “Drowns the Whiskey,” Jason Aldean feat. Miranda Lambert, “Drunk Girl,” Chris Janson, “Tequila,” Dan + Shay
Our pick: "Tequila," Dan + Shay
Song of the Year celebrates the songwriters, and "Tequila" is exquisitely crafted, turning the mention of an alcoholic beverage into a wistful recall of a past love. Written by Nicolle Galyon, Jordan Reynolds and Dan + Shay's Dan Smyers, "Tequila" served as the lead single from Dan + Shay's eponymous third album, released earlier this year.
Single of the Year
Nominees: "Broken Halos," Chris Stapleton, "Drinkin' Problem," Midland, "Drowns the Whiskey," Jason Aldean feat. Miranda Lambert, "Meant to Be," Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line, "Tequila," Dan + Shay
Our pick: "Meant to Be," Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line
Single of the Year is awarded to the artist and producer, and no song on this list has seen more success than Rexha and Florida Georgia Line's duet, "Meant to Be." Originally released in August 2017 as part of Rexha's EP All Your Fault: Pt. 2, "Meant to Be" entered the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart at No. 1 later that year, where it has since stayed for a whopping 49 weeks, becoming the longest-running song to top the chart.
Male Vocalist of the Year
Nominees: Luke Combs, Thomas Rhett, Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton
Our pick: Chris Stapleton
Stapleton's expert songcrafting and traditional sound have made him a perennial awards-show favorite, and he's won this category for the past three years in a row. Thanks to his 2017 album From A Room: Volume 2, it looks like 2018 might be year number four for Stapleton, who is easily on his way to achieving a Miranda Lambert-level streak.
Female Vocalist of the Year
Nominees: Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, Kacey Musgraves
Our pick: Kelsea Ballerini
Lambert has won this award for seven of the past eight years, but we're thinking a new face may take the crown this time around. While Ballerini has been nominated for female vocalist for the past three years but has never won, her 2017 album Unapologetically and ensuing tour may be enough to give her the top spot.
Vocal Duo of the Year
Nominees: Brothers Osborne, Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line, Sugarland, Maddie & Tae
Our pick: Brothers Osborne
Brothers Osborne released their latest album, Port Saint Joe, in April, and just extended their tour to support the project, which began this year and is taking the pair around the world in true headliner fashion. They've also won this award for the past two years, so 2018 may give brothers T.J. and John Osborne their very first CMA Awards hat trick.
Vocal Group of the Year
Nominees: Lady Antebellum, LANCO, Little Big Town, Midland, Old Dominion
Our pick: Old Dominion
Old Dominion has enjoyed a run of commercial success ever since its debut, and the group scored two No. 1 hits in 2017 and one No. 1 in 2018 thanks to their 2017 album, Happy Endings. They also headlined their own tour this year in support of the project and opened for Kenny Chesney on his Trip Around the Sun stadium tour over the summer.
New Artist of the Year
Nominees: Lauren Alaina, Luke Combs, Brett Young, Midland, Chris Janson
Our pick: Luke Combs
While some of these artists aren't exactly new — Alaina released her first album back in 2011 and Janson released his first single in 2010 — the award recognizes an act who's made an impact on the industry in the past year. Combs certainly fits that bill, having released his debut album, This One's for You, in 2017, its deluxe edition arriving in 2018. All four singles Combs has released have hit No. 1, a massive feat, and the 28-year-old is currently preparing to embark on a headlining arena tour in 2019.
Music Video of the Year
Nominees: “Babe,” Sugarland feat. Taylor Swift, “Cry Pretty,” Carrie Underwood, “Drunk Girl,” Chris Janson, “Marry Me,” Thomas Rhett, “Tequila,” Dan + Shay
Our pick: "Drunk Girl," Chris Janson
Janson tackles the issue of consent in the powerful video for "Drunk Girl," its accompanying song also touching on the topic. The video follows a woman in clips through her childhood and present day, navigating through her life — from an abusive childhood to a series of dates — while encouraging viewers to treat others with respect.
Musical Event of the Year
Nominees: “Burning Man," Dierks Bentley feat. Brothers Osborne, “Dear Hate," Maren Morris feat. Vince Gill, “Drowns the Whiskey," Jason Aldean feat. Miranda Lambert, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright," David Lee Murphy & Kenny Chesney, “Meant to Be," Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line
Our pick: “Meant to Be," Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line
As previously stated, the song was an absolute smash. Rexha and Florida Georgia Line have also performed it together numerous times on various television shows, combining forces for a true musical event.
Album of the Year
Nominees: Life Changes, Thomas Rhett, From A Room: Volume 2, Chris Stapleton, Graffiti U, Keith Urban, Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves, The Mountain, Dierks Bentley
Our pick: Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves
While Musgraves is the only woman nominated in the category, she deserves to win not for that reason but simply for the fact that she produced a gorgeously breathtaking album that pushes the boundaries of country music. Golden Hour maintains her traditional sensibilities and superb songwriting skills while exploring new sounds and techniques to create something truly unique that frankly deserves this honor.
Entertainer of the Year
Nominees: Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban
Our pick: Luke Bryan
The biggest award of the night, the Entertainer of the Year award is given to the artist who, simply put, was the best entertainer around that calendar year. In 2017, Bryan released his album What Makes You Country, soon embarking on a sprawling tour that had him on the road through most of 2018 and took the American Idol judge to arenas and stadiums around the country, the trek tour grossing seven figures nightly and making Bryan one of the most successful country stars of the past year.
Photo Credit: Getty / Richard Gabriel Ford