Of course there’s the issue that at least half of the individuals nominated are not actually country, but Southern Pop or even just straight out Pop altogether. There is that.
Then it dawned on me. And I’m sure it’s been noticed and even documented before, but there’s a problem that may transcend even what I mentioned above.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume that all of those acts (Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, etc) that are nominated are in fact country music. Let’s open up that can of works, and just analyze the situation with that acceptance in mind (just for the moment, not for any extended period of time).
Once we do that, let’s look at the past few years of these award shows and ask ourselves when the last time we were truly surprised was. Now, I’m not talking surprise in terms of a winner. I’m talking surprise in terms of nominees.
It is the same crop of people nominated over and over. Take a moment. Open up a Microsoft Word document and do the following. Predict who you think will be nominated in the three major categories at next year’s ACM Awards, or hell, even the CMA Awards. Chances are that you, or I, or anyone, could easily pick the five nominees for Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, and Female Vocalist of the Year. Chances are we could pick five names for each of them and easily get at least four out of the five correct for each of them.
There is no variety left. All it has become is a giant music festival with the same performers invited every year, and in between subpar performances, there are a few trophies given away. A monopoly has been formed on who can and will be nominated. It’s a popularity contest and none of it honors true art or talent.
Even if some of these same acts continued to get nominated, I wouldn’t be complaining as much if there were at least some variety thrown in. Sure, I wouldn’t be happy to see Jason Aldean win over Jason Eady, but if the committee actually showed some imagination and nominated some different acts, some different styles, at least it would show they were thinking outside the box.
Nominate some Texas Country. Nominate some neo-traditional. Invite some independent artists to perform. Let people here that there’s more than one style out there. Bring real country back to the fans, and then slowly, country music can regain its dignity. It can become again what it once was, and all these wannabes can go and be their own Southern Pop genre. They can have their own award shows, you can still cash in on them with the fans who leave with them, and country music can become country again.
That’s where this really needs to start. Hell, in the long run, you’ll probably end up making more money with such a genre split, because disillusioned fans of real country music may end up actually returning to the fold. And all those posers who believe that this product that you’re selling can go elsewhere and call it something other than country.
The onus is on the Academy. They can actually have their cake and eat it, too, in this scenario.
And now, you can stop suspending disbelief. We can go back to the real world where Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, and Cole Swindell are most certainly not country music.