CMA board limits Morgan Wallen’s award eligibility
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Country singer Morgan Wallen will be eligible for multiple awards at this year’s CMA Awards but not the show’s top prize, a sign of the continuing fallout after he was caught on camera using a racial slur.
The Country Music Association’s Board of Directors voted that Wallen will not be eligible for individual artist categories, such as entertainer of the year and male vocalist of the year, according to Catharine McNelly, a CMA spokeswoman.
The board decided that Wallen could still be nominated for awards that recognize an artistic work, such as album of the year, song of the year, single of the year, musical event and music video, “so as to not limit the opportunity for other credited collaborators.”
The voting schedule was released Friday, with the first nomination ballot going out to CMA voters on July 6.
Wallen was already one of the genre’s biggest stars, with crossover hits like “Whiskey Glasses,” when the video was posted on TMZ in February. Wallen has apologized for using the slur and radio stations and streaming services dropped him from playlists, but his album sales surged.
His “Dangerous: The Double Album” spent 10 consecutive weeks on the top of the all-genre Billboard 200 chart, as well as 12 weeks as the top country album. He’s just one of four country artists to have an album spend 10 weeks at No. 1, among singers like Garth Brooks, Billy Ray Cyrus and Taylor Swift.
Wallen, who was voted best new artist at the CMA Awards in November, is a likely contender for the album of the year category, just based on album sales alone. The album has remained among Billboard’s top 5 albums for 18 weeks in a row, far surpassing any other country album release. Other country albums that fall within the nomination period include records from Kenny Chesney, Chris Stapleton, Thomas Rhett, Eric Church and Miranda Lambert with Jack Ingram and Jon Randall.
Although his singles haven’t been heavily played on radio or promoted since February, he still had hits within the nomination period that would make him eligible as well.
Awards shows have been mixed in how they respond to Wallen’s actions, as well as his career achievements.
Wallen is among top nominees at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, where he has six nominations, including top song sales artist, top country artist and top country album. Still, despite the nominations, he wasn’t invited to attend or perform.
Other awards shows like the Academy of Country Music Awards and the CMT Music Awards disqualified him entirely.
Fans of Morgan Wallen have been vocally supportive, putting up billboards in Nashville and Los Angeles featuring his signature mullet.
By KRISTIN M. HALL
AP Entertainment Writer