Kenny Chesney is the comeback kid reaping a leading nine nominations for the 47th annual Academy of Country Music Awards. The four-time Entertainer of the Year contends once again in that top race after being snubbed last year. Reigning champ Taylor Swift defends her title against three other fellows besides Chesney — Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton. (See full list of nominees here.)
Chesney is a double Album of the Year nominee for “Hemingway’s Whiskey” as both artist and producer and reaped likewise double bids for both Record of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year for “You And Tequila” with Grace Potter. Chesney is also nominated for Song of the Year for that tune.
Six-time nominee Aldean contends for the second year running for both Entertainer and Male Vocalist. “My Kinda Party” vies for top Album and he contends for both Record and Vocal Event for “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” featuring Kelly Clarkson. And he is nominated for Video of the Year for “Tattoos On This Town.”
Paisley is in the running for four prizes. He is trying for the fifth time to win the Entertainer award and is looking to continue his streak in the Male Vocalist category — he has won that prize five years in a row. And he competes against himself in Vocal Event with bids for both “Old Alabama” with Alabama and “Remind Me” with Carrie Underwood.
Besides her Entertainer nom, Swift was cited in just two other races, reaping her fifth bid for Female Vocalist and her third in the Video category for “Mean.”
Shelton is also nominated for Male Vocalist. His wife Miranda Lambert, who won four of her seven bids last year, is only a two-time contender this year as well. The two-time Female Vocalist champ is looking for a three-peat and she is nominated for Album for “Four the Record.”
Among the other contenders, Lady Antebellum is nominated for five awards including Vocal Group of the Year, which they have won for the past two years running. They are also nominated for Album as artists and producers for “Own The Night” and for Song and Video for “Just A Kiss.”
Toby Keith received three bids for “Red Solo Cup”: as artist and producer for Record as well as for the Video prize, which he last won in 2003 for “Beer For My Horses.”
Potter reaped her first three ACM bids for “You And Tequila” with Chesney: Record, Song, Video.
Eli Young Band contends for Vocal Group of the Year and both Record and Song for “Crazy Girl.”
Dierks Bentley, Kelly Clarkson, Vince Gill, Aaron Lewis, Carrie Underwood and Chris Young all received two nominations each.
The nominees and winners are determined by members of the Academy of Country Music with two notable exceptions. While the ACM voters selected the five contenders for Entertainer of the Year, for the fifth year it will be the public who decides the winner.
The ACM nominated eight semi-finalists for New Artist of the Year and the public has till Jan. 30 to winnow that down to five finalists via online voting. Then, for the fourth year they will choose that winner as well.
Voting for these two awards will begin on March 19, closing on April 1 before the live show for New Artist and during the third hour for Entertainer of the Year.
Shelton emcees along with long-time host Reba McEntire for the second year in a row. The kudocast airs on CBS on April 1 (8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT).