Why Is Carrie Underwood the Only Female Nominated For CMA Entertainer of the Year?

Carrie Underwood; Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for CMT
Carrie Underwood; Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for CMT
Carrie Underwood; Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for CMT
Underwood is the first female to be nominated for the CMA Awards' top prize since 2016.

Nominees for the 2019 CMA Awards were revealed Wednesday morning (Aug. 28) and for the first time since 2016, a female is included among the nominees for the top prize – Entertainer of the Year.

Holding her own alongside Garth Brooks, Eric Church, Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban is Carrie Underwood, who received her second career nomination for CMA Entertainer of the Year. Her first came in 2016, which was the last time a female was nominated in the category.

Also earning nods for Female Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year for her latest offering, Cry Pretty, Underwood was left “feeling beyond blessed and so happy” after the nominations were revealed. The seven-time Grammy winner was more than deserving of her nominations, considering her Cry Pretty album and tour feature some of her best work to date.

While Underwood’s nomination is a step in the right direction for females in country music, the category continues to be a male-dominated one. According to a CMA Awards database, the Entertainer of the Year category has been comprised of only male nominees a total of 15 times since the show’s inception 53 years ago. In the years that females have been included, only one female was nominated the majority of the time. Taking a closer look at the stats, two females have only been included in the category together nine times (this includes solo female artists as well as groups or duos comprised of a female or females).

It’s just another disappointing statistic for females in country music, following a year that found no females in the Top 20 at country radio for the first time ever when the charts were dominated by males in December of 2018.

This begs the question – what does a female have to do to be recognized as an Entertainer of the Year nominee? Looking at the eligibility period for the 2019 CMA Awards (July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019), there were certainly a few females who were worthy of a nod – two of them being Maren Morris and Kacey Musgraves.

Morris, who earned six nominations and is the 2019 CMA Awards’ top nominee, released a record-breaking album and crisscrossed the globe on her headlining GIRL: The World Tour. Morris is clearly a favorite of CMA voters, so it was a bit shocking to see her name left out of the Entertainer of the Year category. How is she deserving of a nod for Female Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year, but not Entertainer of the Year?

Similarly, Musgraves has enjoyed one of the best years of her career. In the spring of 2019, she became the first artist since Taylor Swift to earn the Album of the Year trifecta, taking home wins at the CMA Awards, ACM Awards and the GRAMMYs for Golden Hour. Additionally, the Texas native toured extensively with her headlining Oh, What a World Tour. She also performed at a number of top music festivals such as Coachella and Lollapalooza. She brought country music to the masses and was a true ambassador for the genre.

If Morris and Musgraves can’t secure an Entertainer of the Year nomination after working as hard as they have, then what do females have to do to convince voters that they are worthy of a nomination? These ladies worked their tails off and certainly deserve to be recognized for it.

Once again, Underwood’s nomination is a step in the right direction considering no females were nominated for the past two CMA Awards cycles, but it would be nice to see another hard-working woman featured in the category as well.

The 2019 CMA Entertainer of the Year will be crowned during the 53rd Annual CMA Awards, airing live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 8/7c on ABC. Underwood will return to host the show for the 12th consecutive year, this time with special guest hosts Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton.