George Strait is up for Entertainer of the Year at tonight's Country Music Awards, but he's up against a crop of newer, younger performers: Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, according to ABC.
Will the over 6,000 voters give Strait his third trophy or will one of the younger stars make off with it? The question is, who deserves it more?
The 61-year-old has been a staple of country music since his first trophy back in 1989, and before that. There is also this fact to consider, that all of the younger nominees owe one aspect of their career or another to George Strait.
"For me George is always going to be the guy who let me open up his shows when I was 17 and it was at that point in my life the biggest break I'd gotten as far as live touring because I got to be on the George Strait tour," Taylor Swift said. "I learned so much from performing on an in-the-round stage and I think that he over the years has been so supportive, and I'll get a text every now and then from him just sort of wishing me well. He's just such a class act. He's just such an incredible example of how to be a gracious, humble, well-respected human being."
Luke Bryan has his own two cents to add of the country music legend and most nominated artist at the CMA's:
"When I moved to town, I kind of wanted a career like George Strait. A long career that starts here and it's always been on George's terms. And he's always cut amazing songs and wonderful music and had a long career that you can tell looks like he's always enjoyed it. And he's always been happy."
Even Blake Shelton, who is a fan favorite and star on "The Voice" knows that to win, the youngsters will have to overcome the overwhelming respect for George Strait's career longevity and success,
"In my opinion when all is said and done," Shelton said in an email, "there will be two artists viewed as the greatest influences on country music: Hank Williams Sr. and George Strait."
Wow. That's really saying something! Time will tell if the veteran will come out on top and redeem himself for his troubled year, or if the newer stars will take the trophy and be celebrated for the change they have brought to the genre. Watch tonight at 8/7C on ABC.
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