Taylor Swift, who won this top prize from the Country Music Assn. in 2009, contends against last year's champ Brad Paisley and 2005 winner Keith Urban as well as Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton. All of the nominees for Entertainer of the Year except Urban lead with five bids apiece at the 45th annual edition of these kudos.
Swift is also nominated for Album ("Speak Now"), Female Vocalist and both Song and Music Video for the heartfelt "Mean" which she wrote.
Paisley, who is co-hosting the kudos for the fourth year in a row, also contends for Album ("This is Country Music"), Male Vocalist and both Musical Event and Music Video for “Old Alabama” which features Alabama. Since 2000, Paisley has racked up 57 nominations putting him in third place behind George Strait (81) and Alan Jackson (80). With their two nominations this year, Alabama now has 41 career nods. The group has won nine CMAs, including three for Entertainer of the Year.
Shelton, CMA’s current Male Vocalist, defends his title and has bids for Album ("All About Tonight") and both Single and Music Video for “Honey Bee.
Aldean also vies for Album ("My Kinda Party"), Male Vocalist and both Single and Musical Event for "Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson. He has two prior nominations for newcomer in 2007 and 2008. Clarkson was last nominated in 2007 for Musical Event with Reba McEntire for “Because of You.
Urban is also nominated for Male Vocalist, which he has won three times (2004, 2005, and 2006). The fifth Male Vocalist nominee is four-time Entertainer of the Year Kenny Chesney (2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008) who is also nominated for both Musical Event and Music Video for “You and Tequila” featuring Grace Potter.
CMA Awards co-host Carrie Underwood received her sixth consecutive bid for Female Vocalist; she won this award from 2006 to 2008. She competes against Swift, last year's champ Miranda Lambert, four-time winner Martina McBride (1999, 2002-2004) and Sara Evans.
Lambert also vies for Musical Event with Sheryl Crow and Loretta Lynn for their performance of Lynn's signature tune "Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Lynn, who was CMA’s first Female Vocalist winner back in 1967 and the first woman to win Entertainer of the Year in 1972, received her last CMA Awards nomination in 1994 for Musical Event with Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette for “Silver Thread and Golden Needles.
Both The Band Perry and Zac Brown Band are four-time nominees, with Kimberly Perry (of The Band Perry) and both Coy Bowles and Zac Brown (of Zac Brown Band) also earning bids as songwriters.
The Band Perry vie for New Artist, Vocal Group and both Single and Music Video for "If I Die Young" which also netted lead singer Kimberly Perry a writing nod.
Zac Brown Band contends for Vocal Group, Album ("You Get What You Give"), Single ("Colder Weather") and Musical Event ("As She’s Walking Away" with Alan Jackson. Brown and Bowles were also recognized for writing “Colder Weather” with Wyatt Durrette and Levi Lowrey.
In addition to The Band Perry, other New Artist nominees are Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Thompson Square and Chris Young. Bryan and Young were nominated last year as well (this category allows two bids).
The Band Perry and Zac Brown Band vie for Vocal Group against reigning champs Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town and Rascal Flatts.
Winners will be determined in a final round of voting by the 6,400 voting members of the Country Music Assn. Paisley and Carrie Underwood host the kudocast, which will air Nov. 9 on ABC from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.