- Associated Press - Thursday, October 13, 2011

NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP) - Jason Aldean and the Zac Brown Band are the lead nominees for the American Country Awards.

The two rising country music acts received eight nominations apiece, including the second-year award show’s top honors, artist of the year and album of the year.

Thompson Square is next with seven nominations for the fan-voted awards. The Band Perry and Taylor Swift each have six. Swift is an artist of the year nominee with Kenny Chesney and Lady Antebellum rounding out the category.

The nominations extend a hot run for the Thompson Square husband-and-wife team of Shawna and Keifer Thompson. Along with Thursday’s nods, they’re up for two awards at next month’s Country Music Association Awards and for the all-genre best new artist award at the American Music Awards. At the ACAs, the Thompsons are up for best new artist of the year and single of the year for their breakthrough, the platinum-selling “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?”

“Literally every day at least once a day we look at each other and we’re like, is this really happening?” Shawna Thompson said. “It’s just that surreal.”

Voting opened Thursday morning at the ACA web site. Fans can vote once a day until Nov. 11 in all categories except artist of the year, which closes Dec. 2.

The show airs live Dec. 5 from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Trace Adkins and Kristin Chenoweth host.




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