A Look at the Male Vocalists of the Year Nominated for CMA Awards and Who Will Win

The CMAs are upon us. The awards show will be broadcast live on Wednesday (November 8) and will feature a slew of the biggest names in country music, from Jelly Roll to Lainey Wilson to Luke Combs and many more.

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Below, we wanted to take a look at one of the most important awards categories of the night, those artists who are nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year. Without further ado here are the artists nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year for the 2023 Country Music Awards.

[RELATED: A Look at the Musical Collaborations Nominated for the CMA Awards—Who Will Win?]

Luke Combs

Also nominated for the CMA for Entertainer of the Year, Luke Combs continues to string incredible year after incredible year together. In 2023, Combs likely had the most important country song of 2023 with his rendition of the Tracy Chapman classic, “Fast Car.” The song appeared on Combs’ 2023 LP, the 18-track Gettin’ Old. It would be easy to see Combs winning this award, as he’s currently the back-to-back reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year.

Jelly Roll

While Combs and others on this list are standards in the country world, Jelly Roll is the genre’s newest and brightest star. Earlier this year, Jelly Roll won three CMT awards for his hit single “Son of a Sinner.” Now, the Nashville-born rapper-turned-country crooner is looking to add to his hardware. With a voice for the ages, vulnerable and resilient, it could be easy to see Jelly win this one after releasing his latest album, Whitsitt Chapel, earlier this summer.

Cody Johnson

Cody Johnson, the quintessential country singer, released his latest LP, Leather, earlier this year. That LP included songs like “Work Boots,” “That’s Texas” and the single “The Painter,” which hit No. 12 on the Hot Country Songs chart. Featuring a twangy voice, Johnson soars over a finger-picked acoustic guitar. He is a timeless singer when it comes to the country genre and it would be a nod to the essence of the music to give him the coveted award.

Chris Stapleton

Also nominated for the CMA for Entertainer of the Year, Chris Stapleton boasts the Platonic Ideal of a country singer’s voice. Male Vocalist of the Year could be renamed the Chris Stapleton Award for the sounds that emanate from his beard-shrouded lips. This year, though, Stapleton released his latest LP, Higher. The album dropped in November some six months after the singer wowed fans at the 2023 Super Bowl singing the National Anthem. On Higher, Stapleton demonstrates his powerful, lightning bolt of a voice on the song “White Horse.”

Morgan Wallen

Also nominated for the CMA for Entertainer of the Year, Morgan Wallen survived his 2021 controversy when he was caught using a racial slur to become one of the biggest names in country music. In 2023, the skilled singer released his latest LP, the 36-track One Thing at a Time, which included several hit songs like “You Proof” and “Don’t Think Jesus.” For all the notoriety swirling around the singer, it’s undeniable that he has a wood-grain voice perfect for country.

Winner Prediction

The sentimental pick here is Jelly Roll. The artist has shot up the country tracks like a frog with its butt cheeks on fire. But given that Jelly isn’t nominated for Entertainer of the Year and three of his fellow nominees for Male Vocalist of the Year are, it’s hard not to cut the list down to those three (sorry, Cody Johnson).

Given that, we’ll give the nod to Stapleton. His voice is just absurd in the best of ways and given all the attention he garnered after the Super Bowl back in February, this seems like his award to lose. That’s what you get when your voice is as smooth as Tennessee Whiskey.

Chris Stapleton Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy; Jelly Roll Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images; Luke Combs Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images

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