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Original article appeared at the Y107FM website and was posted at the STNAOFC Messageboard by Chris.

There was little doubt that Shania deserved the honor, but it's been 13 years since a female has been named the CMA Entertainer of the Year. Not since 1986, when Reba McEntire took the title, has a woman taken the trophy that generally goes to a Male superstar. McEntire, Barbara Mandrell, Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn are the only women who have ever been honored as top Entertainer in the long history of the CMA awards. It has been four years since a female (McEntire) has been nominated in the field, and it has been more than a decade since the category has included two nominated female acts (McEntire and the Judds in 1988). 
Most new artists are required to hit the road to support a new record, but Shania refused. When "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under" hit the charts, she and producer/ husband Mutt Lange decided to wait until the show was ready. It was worth the wait. Twain has been on the road for most of the past 18 months, proving herself as a full-tilt powerhouse, a vixen with a twang, the sexiest performer to ever wear lipstick with Ropers. She plays to sold-out crowds all over the world, people who had not yet witnessed a full-blown concert performance by a lady who had already accomplished sterling radio success and record-breaking album sales. Twain's Come On Over disc is now certified for sales over 13 million.
The Dixie Chicks have a similar story; achieving substantial radio airplay, as well as explosive sales figures from only two albums, including their brand new Fly disc, which instantly garnered the No. 1 position on Billboard's Top 200 chart. But they have yet to headline their own tour. It took the Chicks only one year to go from being Horizon Award winners to Entertainer of the Year contenders. "I think we feel honored to be nominated but not worthy of winning," admits lead Chick Natalie Maines. "I mean I do think we are entertainers because we put a lot of effort into entertaining. We don't just think our job is to get up and sing songs. We really feel like those people (the fans) are spending their money first of all on our CD. And then if they spend money on a ticket to come see us, then it is our job to entertain them. If they just want to hear the songs they can play the CD."
One show business axiom says: " .. never follow an animal act or any performance by children." Add another: Vince Gill. Wednesday night, as part of his CMA hosting, the likable Gill admonished the country music industry, saying that while contemporary country music was "cool," he also was concerned about the past. "Don't lose sight of our roots. They are very important to us." That was followed by the very pop sounding Martina McBride doing "I Love You."McBride (no longer the brides-maid) took Female Vocalist of the Year Wednesday night over such formidable competition as Faith Hill, Jo Dee Messina, Trisha Yearwood and Twain.
Year to date, more than half of all country album sales come from only two acts, and they're both female; Shania Twain and Dixie Chicks. Add Martina and Mindy and Mandy, Jo Dee and Jessica and a long list of new, hungry distaff-ers who are being well-received by the fans and it's easy to see who's paving the way for the next millennium. 

(Thanks for posting the article, Chris!) 
 

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