2017 is about to end, but that doesn’t stop the 2017 CMA Awards from recognizing some of the most commendable talent and contributions that our favorite country singers have brought into the industry. Scheduled to take place in November, the upcoming event is set to be met both with anticipation and a string of backlash from the fans.

Why?

Well, to start off, the nominees and winners of the CMAs are chosen by an exclusive group of professionals in the industry. These professionals are known to choose the winning artists by assessing the quality of work that they have put into their work, as opposed to determining popularity alone. In turn, some fans get agitated when their idols do not get nominated for the said awards show.

To give you a better idea of how the voting takes place, here’s a run-down on the process that involves how the annual CMA winners are chosen:

The Judges:

The group of professionals who collaborate to determine the winners for each award for the CMAs is comprised of individuals who each have a specific role in the world of music. Some of them are managers, artists, songwriters, publicists, and even journalists. Even record and publishing companies can sign up to be a member of the CMAs. As a member of the exclusive group of judges, each one is tasked to annually pay a membership fee. The membership varies per level, but all are entitled to the advantage of casting their vote for the CMAs. The only ones exempted from joining the voting process are CMA employees.

Making the Cut:

To be a qualifying candidate for the awards, the artist must have released music along the allotted timeframe. This year, only songs released from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017, are considered to take part.

The Voting Process:

The voting process consists three rounds. During the first round, members of the CMA are to nominate one artist or act per category. Their votes are cast in the initial ballot, where the 20 artists who will be receiving the most number of votes during this round will be moving on to the next round of voting. These 20 individuals will also be hailed as the official nominees of the CMAs, with an exception for the Entertainer of the Year award. Only those who made it to the top 15 will be considered for the title.

Round two involves the second ballot, and this time, CMA members will be casting their votes for five nominees for each category. The final nominees and the artists who will be moving on to the third round are the top 5 acts who will get the most votes. They are also the ones who will be announced to the public as the final nominees.

Finally, during the third round, members will once again cast their vote in the final ballot. Each CMA member will vote for one nominee per category. Meanwhile, the entire balloting process will be facilitated by the international accounting firm Deloitte & Touche LLP. Once the final results have been tallied, that is when the awards are presented to the public during the CMA’s live airing.