Kenny Chesney leads Academy of Country Music Awards nominees with 11
AP Entertainment Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ” Kenny Chesney received a leading 11 Academy of Country Music nominations Tuesday, including entertainer of the year and top male vocalist.
Rodney Atkins followed with six nominations, including top male vocalist. Brad Paisley, Big & Rich and Sugarland all got four apiece.
Chesney also is up for song and video of the year for “Don’t Blink” and vocal event for “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” with Tracy Lawrence and Tim McGraw.
Chesney received double nominations for artist and producer for “Shift Work” with George Strait, as well as for “Don’t Blink” for single of the year and “Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates” for album of the year.
If Chesney gets entertainer of the year, the most coveted trophy, it would be his fourth straight win, tying him with Garth Brooks.
“I just try to be the kinda artist I wanted to see when I was coming up,” Chesney said. “To me, if you remember who you are, sing songs that speak to that and pay attention to the fans, that’s all I can hope for. Seeing those people every night, I don’t think I could do anything less.”
This year, for the first time, fans will choose the winner of the entertainer category, with voting to begin May 5.
The show will be held in Las Vegas on May 18 and carried live on CBS at 8 p.m.
Carrie Underwood and Paisley announced the nominations at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Atkins’ nominations include song of the year and video of the year for “Watching You” and album of the year for “If You’re Going through Hell,” which he also co-produced.
The singer, who has had four straight No. 1 singles, won best new male vocalist at last year’s ACMs.
“It’s amazing to have your name mentioned with these guys like George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley. It’s going to take awhile to sink in,” Atkins remarked. “It’s nice to be noticed, kind of like getting to step into the big leagues. It’s what you always hope for.”
Paisley is nominated for male vocalist, album of the year for “5th Gear,” video of the year for “Online,” and entertainer of the year.
“This is one of the days where you’re glad you got up early,” said Paisley, who read the list with Underwood on CBS’ “The Early Show.”
He added that his confidence as an entertainer has grown in recent years as he’s headlined tours and bolstered his stage shows.
“I feel a little more comfortable and not as guilty” Paisley said of the entertainer nomination. “That doesn’t mean that I feel that I deserve it, it just means I feel like I’ve earned a place.”
Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift received three nominations apiece, including album of the year, Lambert for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and Swift for “Taylor Swift.”
“I poured my heart into this album, and the great response makes it that much better,” Lambert said.
Underwood said the ACM awards hold special meaning for her because they were the “first major awards that I started winning.”
“And they’re in Vegas,” she added with a laugh, “so they always stand out as being a good time and just getting together and celebrating country music.”