There was little surprise as Swift, a two-time winner for the CMA’s top award, was nominated in the category with previous winners Kenny Chesney and Brad Paisley and also Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton. There was a shake-up in other major categories, however, as rising stars Eric Church and Luke Bryan entered the mix for the first time.
Church is this year’s top nominee with five, followed closely by Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton. The husband and wife have four nominations apiece. Swift, Aldean, Chesney, Dierks Bentley and Little Big Town have three apiece.
Bryan entered this year’s nominations with a splash, taking nods in two prestigious categories _ male vocalist and album of the year. He and Eric Church helped knock longtime nominee and multiple winner Paisley off the list of male vocalist nominees, joining Aldean, Shelton and Keith Urban.
Bryan and Church also entered the list of album of the year nominees for the first time _ Bryan for “Tailgates & Tanlines” and Church for “Chief.” Other nominees in that category included Miranda Lambert’s “Four the Record,” Bentley’s “Home” and Lady Antebellum’s “Own the Night.”
“Those are just really, really important categories and stuff that really anytime I get nominated and I look at the company that I’m in it’s pretty amazing,” Bryan said.
Kelly Clarkson broke through in the female vocalist category, joining previous nominees Swift, Lambert, Underwood and Martina McBride. It’s Clarkson’s first individual CMA nomination. She and Aldean won musical event last year for their duet “Don’t You Wanna Stay.”
Aldean said it was the surprise nomination of the day.
“I think that she kind of obviously opened up some eyes to some people and obviously they’re taking notice of that and rewarding her for her contributions to country music over the last year, so I think it’s great,” Aldean said.
Lady Antebellum will go for their fourth straight vocal group of the year award against Zac Brown Band, The Band Perry, Little Big Town and Eli Young Band.
Bryan was a late replacement for Lady Antebellum, whose flight to New York was delayed. He filled in with Aldean on “GMA,” then moved over to the B.B. King Blues Club to announce the rest of the field.
Church picked up two more nominations in the single and song of the year categories for his hit “Springsteen.”
Vocal duo nominees include Sugarland, Big & Rich, Thompson Square and Love and Theft and The Civil Wars, which also scored a nomination with Swift for their “Safe & Sound” collaboration on “The Hunger Games” soundtrack.
New artist nominees are Lee Brice, Brantley Gilbert, Hunter Hayes, Love and Theft and Thompson Square.