- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 1, 2010

NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP) - Miranda Lambert made history Wednesday morning when she was nominated for nine CMA Awards, the most for a female country music artist.

She’ll be celebrating with close friends Lady Antebellum and fiance Blake Shelton. Lady A earned the second most nominations with five and Shelton was next with four, tied with Zac Brown Band.

The year 2010 is taking on fairly tale qualities for the fiery Texan, who won three Academy of Country Music Awards in March, got engaged a few months later and has much to look forward to the rest of the year.

“I don’t think it gets better than this,” Lambert said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “It’s been a dream and it’s not even over with. I’ll be sad when 2011 comes because this year has just been one blessing after another. It’s just incredible. I don’t know what it is about now that all this is coming to a head, but I don’t care. I’m just glad it is.”

Lambert and close friend Dierks Bentley announced nominations in five categories Wednesday morning on “Good Morning America.” The first seven categories were announced Tuesday in Nashville.

Lambert, Lady A, Zac Brown Band, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban were nominated for entertainer of the year, the Country Music Association’s top award.

Should Lambert win entertainer of the year she’ll continue a girl-power trend at country music’s two top awards shows. Taylor Swift became just the third female winner of the CMA’s top award last year and Carrie Underwood made history in April as the first woman to win the ACM Awards’ entertainer of the year twice.

Women also figure prominently in several CMA categories this year.

“It’s definitely something that’s been needing to happen for a long time,” Lambert said. “I think it’s been turning slowly but it’s finally starting to show through with the girls being really strong right now in country music.”

Lambert, whose last album “Revolution” was widely hailed by her peers and critics, fell just short of Alan Jackson’s overall record of 10 nominations, set in 2002. Merle Haggard is the only other artist to receive nine or more nominations.

She also earned nominations for female vocalist of the year, album of the year, single of the year for both “White Liar” and “The House That Built Me,” song of the year for “White Liar,” musical event for “Bad Angel” with Bentley and Jamey Johnson, and video of the year for both “White Liar” and “House.”

Lady A continued to ride the success of “Need You Now,” the year’s top-selling country album. Along with the entertainer nod, Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott received nominations for vocal group of the year, for album of the year, single of the year and music video of the year.

The group openly cheered Lambert on to an album of the year victory at the ACMs when she beat out their self-title debut. Not so much this time, Kelley joked.

“She made one of the best albums of the year, but we’re not going to lie,” Kelley said, ” … we definitely want to win. Out of all of them I think that’s the one that would definitely mean the most. It’s awarding the whole body of work and we still believe in the full album and that journey that the fans go on when they pick up a new record.”

Zac Brown Band also is up for vocal group of the year, new artist of the year and musical event for “Can’t You See” featuring Kid Rock. Brown and bandmate John Driskell Hopkins also pick up an individual nomination for song of the year for “Toes,” written with Wyatt Durrette and Shawn Mullins.

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