Since 1967, 30 recording artists have taken home the Country Music Association's coveted Entertainer of the Year award. Some have won it more than once (Kenny Chesney and Garth Brooks have both received the honor a record four times). Then there are the ones who have come close to celebrating, by virtue of a nomination, and others who -- surprisingly -- haven't even been invited to the party! The Boot takes a look at 10 of the most deserving acts who never did (and a few who have yet to) hear their names called after "and the CMA Entertainer of the Year is ..."
Six nominations (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
There's a lot of words you could use to describe Brad Paisley. Some of those might get the evil-eye from Mrs. Paisley, so let's just stick to the adjectives describing his musical ability, starting with genius, innovative, mind-blowing. You get the picture. Of all the words you could use, though, four come to mind: This is Brad's year.
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Five nominations (1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981)
A five-time CMA Award winner, Kenny Rogers is among the most successful pop-country crossover acts of all time. He earned Male Vocalist, Album and Vocal Duo of the Year (with Dottie West) honors in 1979, but lost Entertainer of the Year to Willie Nelson.
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She walked away from 'American Idol' a winner, with drive, determination and a voice that can level cities faster than Godzilla. And when Carrie is on stage and you're up there in the nosebleed section, she also knows how to make you feel like you're front row-center. Sounds like Entertainer of the Year territory.
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Four nominations (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990)
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As one of the acts who helped usher in the "new traditionalist" movement of the 1980s, Randy Travis earned five CMA awards from a total 24 nominations, but never snagged the Entertainer honor. On the other hand, he has influenced many of the current crop of male vocalists, and is a sure bet for future Country Music Hall of Fame membership.
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Three nominations (1975, 1976, 1977)
The original outlaw, Waylon was among those artists in the mid-'70s who helped reshape the way people thought about country music. The first time he was nominated for Entertainer of the Year, in 1975, he lost to controversial winner John Denver.
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Four nominations (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005)
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Few can stir up a crowd quite like the commanding, bigger-than-life Toby Keith. He also stirs up plenty of controversy by always saying just what's on his mind. But we'll go ahead and say this on his behalf: only two wins out of an impressive 27 nominations?
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A three-time Female Vocalist of the Year nominee, Connie's big voice has filled many a concert hall and left those in attendance marveling at her tremendous talent. She continues to thrill Grand Ole Opry audiences, yet she has never received a single Entertainer of the Year nomination.
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One nomination (1967)
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Like Connie, "Whisperin' Bill'" has attracted attention for his voice, but for entirely different reasons. While he seldom sings above a whisper, as a songwriter, his enduring talent is loud and clear. He continues to earn CMA honors for songs such as 'Whiskey Lullaby' and 'Give It Away.'
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Two nominations (2006, 2007)
Sharing the stage for more than a decade now, some would argue that Rascal Flatts best days could be behind them. Try telling that to the legion of fans who continue to flock to their concerts night after night. They may have other groups nipping at their heels but they continue to work -- and play -- as if they just got the gig.
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One nomination (1971)
A captivating performer who made women swoon. But the men could relate to Conway's songs, too. Still, he never got to say, "Hello, darlin'" to the big prize.
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