Had enough of dimpled and pregnant chads? Country fans can rest assured that every vote will count when the semifinal round of online voting for the TNN Country Weekly Music Awards kicked off Monday (Jan. 29).
The star-studded extravaganza, to be televised live June 13 on TNN from Nashville’s Gaylord Entertainment Center, is the only nationally-televised country music awards show that lets the fans choose the winners.
Last year voters endorsed traditional country stars George Strait and Brad Paisley with five and three trophies respectively. Faith Hill won Female Artist of the Year, while the Dixie Chicks were voted Group/Duo of the Year.
This year’s gala kicks off the 30th annual International Country Music Fan Fair, a celebration where fans get to schmooze with their favorite artists and watch a marathon of concerts. Fan Fair moves to downtown Nashville this year and is expected to draw record numbers by incorporating the dates for a long weekend and providing more flexible ticket pricing.
Besides online voting on tnnonline.com and countryweekly.com, fans can pick up ballots in the Feb. 20 and March 6 issues of Country Weekly, available on newsstands Feb. 6 and Feb. 20, respectively. Radio programmers also will be polled to help determine the final contenders, but their votes will count only as a small percentage of the overall count. Semifinal voting continues through March 2 at 5 p.m. CT.
TNN has telecast an annual fan-voted country music awards show since April 1988 when it introduced the Viewer’s Choice Awards in celebration of the network’s fifth anniversary. In 1990 the Viewer’s Choice Awards merged with the Music City News Awards to become the TNN Music City News Country Awards. TNN and Music City News produced an annual fan-voted awards show until June 1999 when their contract expired. The mega-selling Country Weekly became the new awards show partner beginning with the 2000 event.
Fans selected this year’s semifinalists using open ballots in the December issue of Country Weekly. For the semifinal round of voting there is an online voting limit of one ballot per e-mail address per site for tnnonline.com and countryweekly.com. Fans can send in an unlimited number of official ballots clipped from the Feb. 20 and March 6 issues of Country Weekly, but no duplications will be accepted.
The final five nominees in each category will be announced during a March 14 press conference with final voting to begin Monday, March 26. In addition to online and printed ballots, the final round will include phone voting via 900 numbers broadcast on TNN and posted on tnnonline.com.
Will tradition triumph again this year? Only the fans know for sure.
Unlike most awards shows, the TNN Country Weekly Music Awards reserves front row seats for fans, not the stars. Tickets for the awards show can be purchased now with complete ordering information on tnnonline’s ticket order form.
Fan Fair tickets go on sale to the public Feb. 1.