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THE 2016 CMA NOMINATIONS
ARE HERE

Eric Church, Maren Morris and Chris Stapleton lead this year’s Country Music Association Awards with five nominations each, signaling a deepening of the gap between the two (unspoken) kinds of modern country: the critically acclaimed, street-connecting coterie vs. the classic, radio-driven mainstream. With this year's noms, the CMA continues the trend of recognizing more serious music rather than merely acknowledging radio velocity.

The show, which will take place at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, will be hosted by Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley; and it's set to air 11/2 on ABC.

Today, Dierks Bentley, Cam and Keith Urban took to the Grand Ole Opry stage in front of an audience of local college students and read the nominees for the 50th annual CMA Awards, and it was broadcast live on Good Morning America. Though the announcers didn’t lead the nominations, Bentley and Urban each received four nods—and Cam picked up a pair for Song and Video of the Year for “Burning House.”

Intriguingly, despite no radio support and no reported album sales, Garth Brooks returns to the Entertainer of the Year category this year, following multiple-night shows with wife Trisha Yearwood after emerging from retirement two years ago. Underwood receives her first Entertainer nod, along with 2015 CMA Awards breakout sensation Stapleton. Current Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan and 2005 Entertainer of the Year Urban round out the category.

Stapleton, who won 2015’s Male Vocalist, Newcomer and Album of the Year for Traveller and electrified the nation with his toe-to-toe performance with Justin Timberlake, is also nominated for Male Vocalist, Single of the Year (“Nobody’s To Blame”), Video of the Year (“Fire Away”) and Vocal Event with life/musical partner Morgane Stapleton (“You Are My Sunshine”).

Morris continues the tradition of newcomer female artists garnering multiple noms. K.T. Oslin, Deana Carter and Gretchen Wilson previously did so with five nominations each, and then there was Kacey Musgraves with six nods. Racking up Female Vocalist, Song and Single for “My Church,” Album of the Year for Hero and New Artist of the Year, Morris is the certainly the breakout debut artist here.

Perennial outsider Church, who debuted “Mr. Misunderstood” on last year’s show, while simultaneously dropping his album of the same name at iTunes, sees Mr. Misunderstood pick up an Album of the Year nod, while “Record Year” earns Song, Single and Video of the Year nominations. He’s also up for Male Vocalist of the Year.

Urban has been enjoying a strong year on the road, and his envelope-pushing Ripcord is nominated for Album of the Year. He’s also nominated for Male Vocalist and Vocal Event with Underwood (“The Fighter”).

Bentley notches Male Vocalist, Album for Black, Video for “Somewhere on a Beach” and Vocal Event for “Different for Girls” with Elle King, while the perennial Tim McGraw picks up Single and Video for “Humble and Kind,” as well as his first Male Vocalist of the Year nomination since 2003. In addition, “Humble and Kind” earns a Song of the Year nod for Boston-based artist Lori McKenna.

Underwood is also nominated for Album with Storyteller, as well as Female Vocalist of the Year. Underwood is a three-time Female Vocalist. This year, she shares the category with six-time (and current) Female Vocalist Miranda Lambert, Musgraves and first-time nominees Morris and Kelsea Ballerini, who are both also nominated for Best New Artist.

Like Ballerini, hit-writers Old Dominion and progressive Southerners Brothers Osborne also scored in the New Artist category, and in a second one. Cole Swindell is the remaining New Artist nominee.

Other double nominees include first-timer Cam, Bryan and Thomas Rhett, whose breakthrough hit “Die a Happy Man” is up for Song and Single of the Year.

Vocal Group finds current and four-time winners Little Big Town vying with past winners Lady Antebellum (2009-2011) and Rascal Flatts (2003-2008), first-timers Old Dominion and eight-time nominees Zac Brown Band. Meanwhile, Duo finds Florida Georgia Line vying for their fourth consecutive award against Dan+Shay, Joey+Rory, Maddie & Tae and Brothers Osborne.

AND THE NOMINEES ARE...
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He's lost 25 out of 26, and so tired of winning!
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