For the first time in three years, a female artist, Carrie Underwood, received a CMA nomination for entertainer of the year. It’s Underwood’s second nom in that category. She was first nominated in 2016.
The most recent female artist to win in that marquee category was Taylor Swift eight years ago.
In the CMAs’ 53 years, the field of nominees for entertainer of the year has been all male 15 times. Most often, one female has been nominated. Nine times, two female artists (or groups including female artists) have been nominated.
McEntire was nominated for the category 10 times in an 11 year-span between 1985 and 1995. McEntire holds the record as the female with the most entertainer of the year noms in CMA history.
Parton was nominated in the top category three times, from 1976-78. Hard to believe, but she hasn’t been nominated for entertainer of the year since then, despite such post-1978 accomplishments as Nine to Five (Parton’s sassy title song gave the acclaimed comedy its only Oscar nomination), “Islands in the Stream” (her megahit duet with Kenny Rogers) and Steel Magnolias (where she held her own in all-star female cast).
No females were nominated for entertainer of the year in the CMAs’ first four years (1967-70). In 1971, Loretta Lynn became the first female artist to be nominated in that top category. In 1972, she became the first female artist to win. In 1974, she and Olivia Newton-John were both nominated for the top award, marking the first time two females were nominated the same year.
In 1981, Barbara Mandrell became the first person—male or female—to win entertainer of the year for a second time. She had also won the year before.
Swift is the only other female to win entertainer of the year twice. She triumphed in 2009 and 2011.
At least one female was nominated for entertainer of the year for 25 consecutive years, from 1971-1995. Female representation has been spottier in the last 24 years, with no female artists appearing in the finals 11 times in this period.
Females were shut out in the category from 2002-07. That six-year drought is the longest on record.
Below, in handy list form, are the females with multiple entertainer of the year noms.
Reba McEntire, 10
Barbara Mandrell, 6
Loretta Lynn, 5
Taylor Swift, 4
Dixie Chicks, 3
The Judds, 3
Miranda Lambert, 3
Dolly Parton, 3
Carrie Underwood, 2