Country Music Association Awards nominations: Eric Church, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert …

Eric Church and Little Big Town lead this year’s Country Music Awards nominations with five bids each while Kenny Chesney and Miranda Lambert earned four apiece. Coming in at three nominations are veteran Kacey Musgraves and a trio of new talent — Sam Hunt, Maddie & Tae and Chris Stapleton. (CLICK HERE to see the complete list of nominations)

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Church reaped his first-ever bid for the big prize, Entertainer of the Year, as well as Male Vocalist, both Single (“Talladega”) and Song (“Like a Wrecking Ball”) of the Year and Musical Event for duetting with Keith Urban on “Raise ‘Em Up.”

Three-time Vocal Group champ Little Big Town earned its 10th bid in that category as well as Album of the Year (“Pain Killer”), Single and Video of the Year (“Girl Crush”) and Musical Event for crooning “Drinkin” with Lambert. 

Luke Bryan defends his Entertainer of the Year title against Lambert, Church and a pair of four-time past champs — Garth Brooks (1991, 1992, 1997, 1998) and Chesney (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008). 

Lambert and her soon-to-be ex Blake Shelton are both looking for their sixth straight wins as Female and Male Vocalist respectively. Among those that they face are several newcomers. 

For the first time in CMA history, four of the five nominees for New Artist of the Year — Kelsea Ballerini, Sam Hunt, Maddie & Tae and Chris Stapleton — are in contention in other categories as well. Ballerini is up for Female Vocalist while Maddie & Tae vie for Vocal Duo and Video (“Girl in a Country Song”). Hunt’s break-out hit “Take Your Time” is nominated for both Single and Song of the Year. And Stapleton contends for Male Vocalist while his chart-topping disc “Traveller” is in the running for Album of the Year. 

RELATED: Complete list of CMA Awards nominations 

Winners of the 49th annual edition of these kudos will be revealed during the ABC telecast on Nov. 4. For the eighth year running, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood are pairing up to host this music-filled awardsfest. 

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