Last year Taylor Swift won the best-new-artist award at the Country Music Association Awards. This year she's nominated for best female vocalist. We asked her to join Star Tribune critic Jon Bream in predicting the winners of top categories in Wednesday's show.


Nominees: Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Sugarland, Keith Urban.

Swift's pick: Chesney will and should win because he sold the most concert tickets and "he got his foot crushed on a lift and he played a two-hour show despite that. I think that says entertainer of the year all over it."

Bream's pick: Paisley put on a more creative, well-rounded and exciting show, but Chesney will capture this trophy for the third consecutive year.


Nominees: Jason Aldean, Rodney Atkins, Lady Antebellum, James Otto, Kellie Pickler.

Swift's pick: Pickler, who is one of her best friends, because it seems "some of those artists are older and some are brand new, and Kellie falls right in the middle."

Bream's pick: I predict Atkins because he had four No. 1 country hits in the past couple of years.


Nominees: "You're Gonna Miss This," Trace Adkins; "Don't Blink," Kenny Chesney; "Gunpowder and Lead," Miranda Lambert; "I Saw God Today," George Strait; "Stay," Sugarland.

Swift's pick: She loves both "Stay" and "I Saw God Today" because "those songs have the most incredible hooks. Both of them should and will [win]."

Bream's pick: I would vote for Lambert's explosive single, but the CMA voters will favor "Stay."


Nominees: "Cowboy Town," Brooks & Dunn; "Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates," Kenny Chesney; "Good Time," Alan Jackson; "Troubadour," George Strait; "Carnival Ride," Carrie Underwood.

Swift's pick: She sides with "Troubadour" because "musically, George Strait stretched his boundaries and he put out a few music videos, which he usually doesn't do. When he does something magical like this album, it should be recognized."

Bream's pick: Voting against Strait for his melancholy CD is like rejecting God, apple pie and the American flag. But I will go out on a limb and forecast an Underwood triumph on the impetus of her CD's three No. 1 hits.