Brad Paisley leads all finalists for the Academy of Country Music Awards with six nominations, but the biggest surprise might be former Trick Pony singer Heidi Newfield’s five nods.
Paisley, who comes to the Spokane Arena on Feb. 26, was nominated Wednesday for entertainer of the year and male vocalist, an honor he won last year.
He’s also a finalist for record, song and video of the year for “Waitin’ on a Woman,” and for vocal event of the year for “Start a Band” with Keith Urban.
Newfield released her solo debut, “What Am I Waiting For,” last August after 10 years with Trick Pony – which won a 2001 ACM Award for top new group.
She’s nominated in five categories, including song of the year and video of the year for “Johnny and June,” an ode to the late Johnny and June Carter Cash.
The awards show airs on CBS from Las Vegas on April 5.
Kenny Chesney, the ACM’s entertainer of the year four years running, received four nominations, including another in the coveted entertainer category. A fifth straight win would tie him with Alabama for most ever.
George Strait and Jamey Johnson also received four nominations apiece.
Johnson, a relative newcomer, is up for top new male vocalist, as well as single record of the year and song of the year for his hit “In Color.” He won song of the year honors in 2006 for co-writing Strait’s “Give It Away.”
Strait is again in the running for song of the year, this time for “I Saw God Today.” His other nominations are for entertainer, top male vocalist and video of the year.
For the first time in her career, Carrie Underwood is nominated for entertainer of the year. If she wins, she would become just the seventh woman to take the award, putting her alongside Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire and, most recently, the Dixie Chicks in 2000.
Underwood is also up for female vocalist, which she’s won the last two years.
Urban received three nominations: entertainer of the year, top male vocalist and vocal event of the year for “Start a Band.”
Trace Adkins, Brooks & Dunn, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, James Otto, Jake Owen, Taylor Swift and Sugarland each received two nominations.
Several categories will be opened up to interactive fan voting, including entertainer of the year for the second time. Online voting begins today on GACTV.com.
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