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2014 ACM Awards Nominations – Surprises and Snubs

Gary Allan, Carrie Underwood
Kevin Winter / Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Nominations for the 2014 ACM Awards in Las Vegas cast a refreshing spotlight on a new generation of country stars, plus one veteran seemingly forgotten by voters.

The biggest surprise (or snub, depending on your vantage point) is that country superpowers like Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley and Toby Keith have zero nominations combined. Here are three additional surprises and snubs to take away from Wednesday’s (Jan. 29) announcement.

Pleasant Surprises (in no particular order):

Gary Allan‘s nomination for Song of the Year is deserved and appropriate. ‘Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)’ is a wonderful message and performance by a singer previously known for dark, gloomy heartbreakers. It’s his first ACM nod in six years, and a nice reminder that voters appreciate songs released early in the eligibility cycle (Nov. 29, 2012 – Nov. 27, 2013).

Dan + Shay may be the most surprising artist on the list of 2014 ACMs nominees. Their debut single is barely a Top 20 hit, but the speed at which ’19 You + Me’ raced up the charts speaks to how highly voters think of this duo. Essentially, they replace Sugarland in a category without many names to choose from. This shouldn’t damper their spirits, however. Kacey Musgraves was nominated for industry awards long before she became famous. Voters proved to be prophets in that case.

You can typically rely on the same five or six names for Male and Female Vocalist of the Year, but Lee Brice scored a nomination in the male category. Eric Church and Toby Keith are the two names missing from the list of nominations in this category (Keith Urban is also new, but hardly a surprise). Brice is becoming a reliable hitmaker, and recognition for songs like ‘A Woman Like You’ and ‘I Drive Your Truck’ is appropriate.

The Snubs:

Carrie Underwood‘s absence from the Entertainer of the Year category is the most flagrant of three mild snubs. There’s no doubt she’s deserving, but angry fans need to ask which of the five chosen nominees isn’t deserving. That’s difficult to answer. During another year, you might say George Strait, but he’s clearly (and deservedly) receiving a warm reception to his quasi-retirement. In a way, Underwood is becoming a George Strait-like entertainer — reliable, flawless and under-appreciated.

Eric Church drew zeroes at the 2014 ACMs, which is a shock because he had seven nominations (and two wins) last year. However, he only released one song (‘Like Jesus Does’) that would qualify, and his latest album won in 2013. So aside from Male Vocalist, there isn’t much to choose from.

Albums from the Band Perry and Gary Allan deserved nominations, but the more shocking snub was Keith Urban’s ‘Fuse.’ The five chosen reflect radio success, but at least two didn’t gather the critical acclaim of the ‘American Idol‘ judge’s latest effort. Expect to see him nominated at the 2014 CMAs and the 2015 ACMs.

Next: See a List of 2014 ACM Awards Nominees

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