This year, the Academy of Country Music Awards won't just be about the gold. Or, as is its wont, the red, white and blue. This year, it's all about the Paisley.
Brad Paisley scored a leading six nominations for the ACM Awards this morning, including nods for Male Vocalist and Vocal Event of the Year, as well as one for the big enchilada, Entertainer of the Year.
Paisley shares his Vocal Event of the Year nod with fellow honky-tonk heavyweight Keith Urban for their duet, "Start a Band," but goes solo for his other nominations, including his impressive triple-play nods for Record, Song and Video of the Year for "Waitin' on a Woman."
Also making the cut is a vertiable Nashville who's-who (and in some cases a who's-that?), including Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift , Toby Keith, Sugarland, George Strait, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts and one Julianne Hough.
Still, while Paisley was the dominant nominee heading into the country-fried awards, he missed out on a nomination for Album of the Year, with those instead going to Underwood's Carnival Ride, Strait's Troubadour, Swift's Fearless, Montgomery Gentry's Back When I Knew It All and Jamey Johnson's That Lonesome Song.
Joining Paisley in the all-important Entertainer of the Year category is Chesney, the historically unstoppable winner, along with Strait, Underwood and Urban.
Former Trick Pony vocalist Heidi Newfield racked up five nods, Chesney and Underwood earned four, while Urban scored three, with the American Idol alum also up for Top Female Vocalist and Video of the Year for "Just a Dream."
She vies against Swift, Newfield, Lee Ann Womack and Miranda Lambert for the former category.
As for Swift, she's up for three awards and competes against Underwood for all: In addition to her Top Female Vocalist and Album of the Year nods, Swift rated a nom for Video of the Year for the pervasive "Love Story."
Meanwhile, Sugarland, which basked in Grammy glory over the weekend, scored just two nominations this time around, for Top Vocal Duo and Vocal Event of the Year, for their collaboration with Little Big Town and Jake Owen for "Life in a Northern Town."
Strait, one of the heaviest of country's hitters, rounded out the multiple nominees with five: Entertainer of the Year, Top Male Vocalist, Album of the Year, Song of the Year for "I Saw God Today" and Video of the Year for "Troubadour."
Even Dancing With the Stars waffler Hough managed to score a nomination, for Top New Female Vocalist, which along with Top New Male Vocalist and Top New Vocal Duo or Group will be voted on this year by the public.
Reba McEntire hosts the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards from Las Vegas on April 5.
Here's the list of nominations:
Album of the Year
Entertainer of the Year
Top Male Vocalist
Top Female Vocalist
Top Vocal Group
Top Vocal Duo
Top New Male Vocalist
Top New Female Vocalist
Top New Vocal Duo or Group
Record of the Year
Song of the Year
Video of the Year
Vocal Event of the Year
(Updated on March 5, 2009 at 6:15 a.m. PT)