As the country music world gets ready for the latest round of honors from the Academy of Country Music, we asked some of our local experts to take a stab at who they see walking away a winner on Sunday night.
WHO ARE THEY?
Carol Hughes: With over two decades experience in the country music world, Carol has spent the last 12 of them at KFDI in Wichita, Kansas. She serves as assistant program director and music director.
Kevin Kevin: Kevin is program director of WCYQ in Knoxville and won a basketball trophy in junior high.
Paul Orr: Paul does middays on WCYQ, way over-married and is raising chickens and a two-year-old in Pigeon Forge.
Clint Davis: Clint covers entertainment news for Scripps' digital TV and radio properties across the country. He also is a big country music fan.
Entertainer of the Year
Paul and Kevin: We're going with Eric Church. He's approaching overdue and his live show's never been better. We think dropping the secret album scores him the win.
Carol: Just because the show is SO amazing, my heart is going for Garth Brooks. I have seen him and Trisha three times in the past year. BUT, my head tells me it's Luke. Because, well, he's Luke Bryan. Good things happen if you're Luke Bryan!
Cash: Luke Bryan. Dude's an entertainer. That's what he does.
Clint: Luke Bryan His last tour raked in over $71 million and he had a pair of No. 1 hit songs in 2015. Bryan has been working really hard the past year and also finally earned some critical praise with "Strip It Down." He's earned this one.
Male Vocalist of the Year
Paul and Kevin: Chris Stapleton - everyone else please step to the side.
Carol: I do believe this will be Chris Stapleton. If you're giving away an award for male VOCALIST no one else is in the running.
Cash: Chris Stapleton. He's a Grammy winner for a reason. The fact that he has a killer voice is one of them.
Clint: Chris Stapleton's coming out party will continue as even more country fans discovered him after the CMAs. There is no better pure vocalist among men in country right now. Dierks Bentley also had a tremendous year but this belongs to Stapleton.
Female Vocalist of the Year
Paul and Kevin: We predict an upset for our hometown girl, Kelsea Ballerini. It's a long shot but hey...
Carol: Miranda has won that award, I do believe. every year since 2010. BUT she doesn't have a current single out and her last couple songs didn't do too well. Her last #1 was a duet with Carrie Underwood. This year, Carrie wins.
Cash: Carrie Underwood. She sings so well, she could probably even win a singing competition...
Clint: Carrie Underwood blew everyone else away last year. A huge, acclaimed album with interesting hit singles. I'd love to see Kacey Musgraves win this category some day because her voice is flawless but until she has a real radio presence she'll be a bridesmaid.
Vocal Duo of the Year
Paul and Kevin: Paul believes Joey and Rory who were always under appreciated will get the win and I can't wait to hear his acceptance speech. Kevin says Brothers Osbourne edge out Dan + Shay for the win.
Carol: The last few years this has been The Florida-Georgia Line Award, but there might be a shake up this year. It could go to Joey + Rory because they have touched everyone's hearts. But I think it goes to Brothers Osborne. They had one of the most amazing songs of this past year - along with an AMAZING debut CD.
Cash: FGL. This has been their category. Doubt this is the year they're dethroned.
Clint: Joe and Rory - Obviously FGL had the biggest year on the charts of any of the nominees but I think the voters choose with their hearts here. To see Rory Feek accept the award to a standing crowd would be a huge moment at the ACMs.
Vocal Group of the Year
Paul and Kevin: Little Big Town.
Carol: Little Big Town. No explanation needed.
Cash: Little Big Town. 2 words: Girl. Crush.
Clint: Little Big Town crushed it last year in terms of chart performance, visibility and acclaim. They have to win this one.
Album of the Year:
Paul and Kevin: Chris Stapleton at the podium saying thanks again.
Carol: The one I WANT to win? "Mr. Misunderstood". The one I think will win? "Traveller".
Cash: Thomas Rhett, "Tangled Up". One of the biggest hits in recent country music history lives on this album and there's a few more hits waiting to be released.
Clint: Traveller - "Mr. Misunderstood" gave it some tough competition late but there was no better country album than "Traveller" last year. With every listen, that record gets better. It will go down as a modern classic.
Single of the Year:
Paul and Kevin: Paul says "Die A Happy Man" - Monster song. Kevin - "Buy Me A Boat"
Carol: "Die A Happy Man" - One of the biggest songs of the last five years. It needs to win.
Cash: Thomas Rhett "Die a Happy Man". This is that biggest hit in recent country music history I was referring to.
Clint: Girl Crush - No song got talked about or played more than "Girl Crush" last year. And somehow I'm still not tired of it.
Video of the Year
Paul and Kevin: Paul says love the Mr. Misunderstood video and think it will win. Kevin goes with Girl Crush.
Carol: I never watch music videos. I did watch "Mr. Misunderstood" by Eric Church and I thought it was brilliant. So since it's the only one I watched, and I thought it was brilliant, I say it wins.
Clint:- Biscuits - This was the most fun and interesting video of last year. Kacey Musgraves took us back to the days of "Hee Haw" and "The Muppets" for this one and it fit the song's attitude perfectly.
Song of the Year:
Paul and Kevin: Girl Crush is a slam dunk!
Carol: Tough, tough, tough, tough. My heart goes with Cam. That song was EVERYWHERE this past year. BUT, my head says "Nobody To Blame". My guess is "Girl Crush" wins. How's that for being confusing on my answer?
Vocal Event of the Year:
Paul and Kevin: We toast "RAISE 'EM UP"!!
Carol: "RAISE 'EM UP"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AMAZING SONG. TWO AMAZING ARTISTS. I will be really mad if that song doesn't win. I mean, I won't lose sleep over it but IT MUST WIN THAT AWARD.
Clint: - Smokin and Drinkin - I love the laid-back, wistful tone of this song and the vocals are all perfect. How can you beat having Miranda Lambert and Karen Fairchild on the same song?
For the latest updates from the ACM Awards in Las Vegas follow our correspondent on the Strip,
Chase Snider, on Twitter (@ChaseSnider).