Luke Combs is the front-runner to win New Artist of the Year at the 2018 Country Music Association Awards, according to the combined predictions of hundreds of Gold Derby users. This is actually his second straight attempt at the title after losing the award in 2017 to Jon Pardi, but this time he has something he didn’t have then: an additional nomination for Male Vocalist of the Year. Will that make all the difference?
Earning a nom for Male Vocalist is no mean feat. In that race Combs is up against Entertainer of the Year contenders Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban, and he actually made the cut over three other Entertainer nominees: Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean, who were all snubbed from the Male Vocalist race. That may indicate strong overall support for Combs from the association.
That may be why our users are so bullish about his chances of winning New Artist. As of this writing he’s the front-runner to win with odds of 11/2. Those odds are bolstered by support from 17 of our Top 24 Users who got the highest scores predicting last year’s CMAs, and 15 of our All-Star Top 24 who got the highest scores when you combine the last two year’s CMA results. He’s also forecast to win by three our of four Editors who cover awards year-round for Gold Derby.
Combs released his debut studio album “This One’s for You” in June 2017, and it has since been certified platinum by the RIAA and produced three platinum singles: “Hurricane,” “When it Rains it Pours” and “One Number Away.” Alas, that album never earned a CMA nomination, and neither did any of those songs, so maybe the door is more open than we think for Lauren Alaina, who ranks second in our predictions with 6/1 odds, Brett Young, who is next in line with 13/2 odds, or Midland, who trail with 7/1 odds.
Earlier this year Alaina, Young and Midland were all winners at the Academy of Country Music Awards, claiming New Female Vocalist, New Male Vocalist and New Vocal Duo/Group of the Year, respectively. Combs was nominated there but didn’t win, so the CMA Awards could mean redemption for him, or he could fall short yet again.
Be sure to make your CMA predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see this year’s contenders are faring in our CMA odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on November 8. And join the discussion on this and more taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our music forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.