Brooks & Dunn--the genre's favorite pardners--better spit shine their boots and choke up their bolos, 'cause they lead the field with six nominations, including entertainer (shouldn't that be plural?) of the year. They'll be competing with George Strait, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and Tim McGraw for that honor.
Strait, who will host the broadcast on NBC with Jeff Foxworthy and Wings star and aspiring country songstress Crystal Bernard, tied the ubiquitous LeAnn Rimes with five nominations. He's also up for male vocalist, single, song and album nominations.
The 14-year-old Rimes, winner of Grammys last week for best new artist and best female country vocal, was nominated for top female singer, new artist, and album, song and single of the year. She better clear space on her mantle.
Speaking of Grammys, it should come as no surprise that the Grammy-winning best country album wasn't even nominated. Because he's a Nashville outsider, Lyle Lovett--who scored last week with his folk-rock-country collection, The Road to Ensenada--was shunned by the Academy of Country Music today.
Deana Carter, Alan Jackson and Tracy Lawrence also had strong showings, each collecting three nods.
Winners will be announced at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles on April 23.
Here's the complete roundup of nominees for the 32nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards:
Entertainer of the Year: Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw and George Strait
Male Vocalist: Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Collin Raye, George Strait and Bryan White
Female Voclist: Patty Loveless, Reba McEntire, LeAnn Rimes, Shania Twain and Trisha Yearwood
Group: Blackhawk, Lonestar, The Mavericks, Ricochet and Sawyer Brown
Duet: Brooks & Dunn, Jeff Foxworthy and Alan Jackson, Lorrie Morgan and Jon Randall, Marty Stuart and Travis Tritt and Hank Williams Jr. and Hank Williams III
New Male Vocalist: Trace Adkins, James Bonamy and Kevin Sharp
New Female Vocalist: Deana Carter, Mindy McCready and LeAnn Rimes
New Group or Duet: BR5-49, Burnin' Daylight and Ricochet
Single: "Blue," LeAnn Rimes; "Carried Away," George Strait (also nominated as producer); "My Maria," Brooks & Dunn (also nominated as producers); "Strawberry Wine," Deana Carter; "Time Marches On," Tracy Lawrence
Song: "Blue," LeAnn Rimes; "Carried Away," George Strait; "My Maria," Brooks & Dunn; "Strawberry Wine," Deana Carter; "Time Marches On," Tracy Lawrence
Album: Blue, LeAnn Rimes; Blue Clear Sky, George Strait (alsonominated as producer); Borderline, Brooks & Dunn (also nominated as producers); Time Marches On, Tracy Lawrence (also nominated as producer); The Trouble With the Truth, Patty Loveless
Video: "The Change," Garth Brooks; "I Think About You," Collin Raye; "More Than You'll Ever Know," Travis Tritt; "My Maria," Brooks & Dunn; "She Never Looks Back," Doug Supernaw
(Updated 3/4/97 10 a.m. PT)