Charlie Cook On Air: Halfway MVPs

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Charlie Cook

It is the 186th day of 2013. Not the exact middle of the year but close enough. This means it is time to look at the “Halfway MVP’s” for the year.

Some of them are obvious. Blake Shelton has not only had No. 1 after No. 1, he has become the top mentor to new talent on The Voice. He has taken three kids in a row to the edge of their dreams. Shelton’s current CD is the best of his career and he will be on the Ten Times Crazier Tour beginning in Virginia Beach on July 19. I can tell you Luke Bryan is as hot as a July afternoon in Nashville. During the CMA Music fest, I sat for 20 minutes and watched young ladies (I could stop there) climb up on a building window sill to have their photo taken next to a Luke Bryan poster in the window. You can also make the case that Bryan got the most screams during his LP Field performance Thursday night.

In the under 25 category, Hunter Hayes is a consistent act. Not only is he a staple on Country radio but “Wanted” got additional play on AC radio. Kacey Musgraves still has a couple of weeks in this category; opening for Kenny Chesney makes her a player for 2013. Taylor Swift is the winner. She will most likely win the award for a couple more years.

Using a baseball analogy, Florida Georgia Line is the best double play combination in Country music. The duo’s first two singles were actually home runs. It is going to be fun to watch the duo battle between Thompson Square and FGL in coming years at award shows. Love and Theft could be in there too.

In the “I sing country music on the radio but I am a rocker in concert” category, Brantley Gilbert has to be the MVP. For you Eric Church fans, of which I am one, I think Eric is country even though he looks like he could go either way.

The Group of the Year category is tough this year. Little Big Town enjoyed an incredible 18 months with “Pontoon” and “Tornado,” though that is pretty much off Country radio today because of the recent tragedy in Moore, Okla. Certainly they were the comeback group of the year last year and they will get a real boost when they host the CMA Music Fest TV show in August. The Zac Brown Band has been an instant add to radio and their live show is a must see. Zac has also become a record executive and will soon be in the food business. Lady Antebellum just keeps putting out Top 10 songs. And of course The Band Perry, which has gotten a great deal of exposure with their “Outnumber Hunger” charity and their lead at the ACM concert/party in Las Vegas in April. They followed up their debut CD with Pioneer and scored almost 130,000 sales the first week. I go with TBP as the MVP.

The MVP female is a tough one. There are three All-Stars and then a few others. Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood and Taylor are the undisputed leaders. A case can be made for each to get the MVP. Miranda is winning everything in sight on the award show circuit. Carrie has shown she is the hostess with the mostess (that was 2012 though) on the CMA Awards and Taylor continues to outsell everyone on the block. I think both Miranda and Taylor were incredible at the CMA Music Festival last month. They were both confident and in control of the stage when they were on. Carrie got short shrift because of the rain Sunday night. Plus, why the rock song?

I’m going with Miranda.

I believe there should be a Rookie of the Year award in addition to the Under 25 category. This should be someone that really came to light this year. A pretty tight window. Rachel Farley, Weston Burt, Dakota Bradley, Joel Crouse, Charlie Worsham, Brett Eldridge, Tyler Farr, Chris Janson and Jon Pardi are all in the running. For just radio success, I have to go with Brett Eldridge but all of these acts, plus a handful more, have assured that there will be lists like this for years to come.

Let me know your thoughts.

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of MusicRow.)

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