Nothing says country music like Times Square. Or is that the other way around?
Regardless, the 2012 nominees for the Country Music Association were announced by stars (and nominees) Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean earlier this morning. It helps that Times Square is the home of Good Morning America's studios, and the CMAs are on ABC.
Texas artists Miranda Lambert and the Eli Young Band did quite well for themselves, thwarting a Lone Star shutout. Lambert is up for Female Vocals, Album of the Year (Four the Record) and Video of the Year for "Over You," which was also nominated for Song of the Year, a songwriter's award. In that category, "Over You" is up against EYB's "Even If It Breaks Your Heart," while the Denton-based quartet is also up for Vocal Group of the Year.
The nominations reflect just how much turnover there has been at the top of country's pecking order in the past few years. Although Brad Paisley (a CMA co-host with Carrie Underwood) picked up a nomination for Entertainer of the Year, he and Kenny Chesney are the only artists who found stardom in the '90s rather than the '00s. The other nominees in CMA's top award are Aldean, Blake Shelton and the juggernaut that is Taylor Swift.
Eric Church, who plays Toyota Center Sept. 21, led the overall nominations with five, including Album of the Year (Chief) and both Single of the Year and Song of the Year for his hit "Springsteen." Little Big Town's infuriatingly awesome "Pontoon" was also nominated for Single. Despite co-hosting the awards and having one of 2012's biggest country albums in Blown Away, Underwood was stuck with one nomination, for Female Vocalist.
The only other Texans nominated Wednesday are grizzled outlaws Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, who are up for Musical Event of the Year for "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die," their cloudy ensemble piece with Snoop Dogg and Jamey Johnson.
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One of the Best New Artist nominees, Brantley Gilbert, opens for Toby Keith Saturday night at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. (Keith's only nomination this year came in Best Video for "Red Solo Cup.") The other New Artist nominees are Lee Brice, Hunter Hayes, Love and Theft and Thompson Square.
The awards air Thursday, November 1, from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, not Times Square. See the complete nominees on CMA's Twitter page.