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Eric Church Tops CMA Nominees For 2012

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Eric Church/Capitol Nashville

The nominations for the 2012 Country Music Association Awards have been announced--and the leader of the pack in terms of nods is a bit unexpected. It's Eric Church, who only entered the CMAs race just last year (in the Best New Artist category), but managed to rack up five nominations this year--making him the "Chief" of the list.

Church will be pulling in the Male Vocalist, Album, Single, Song, and Music Video of the Year categories. He's followed closely by country's current favorite couple and reigning Female/Male Vocalists of the Year, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, who received four nominations each. Lambert and Shelton's nods include a shared recognition for the song "Over You," which marks a rare occurence--only a few married couples have penned Song of the Year nominees in the CMA Awards history. Shelton is also up for the prime award of Entertainer of the Year.

Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Kenny Chesney, Little Big Town, and Taylor Swift each received three nominations. Swift will be vying for another crack at the coveted Entertainer of the Year category, the title of which she currently holds. Chesney and Aldean are also nominated for Entertainer. If Chesney wins in this category, he'll take the record for the most wins in the category (he's currently tied with Garth Brooks).

Notable new names to the list include Love & Theft and the Eli Young Band. Meanwhile, Luke Bryan enters the Male Vocalist race for the first time, and veterans Big & Rich will make their return to the awards show Vocal Duo of the Year category this year.

A complete list of nominees can be found here.

The 46th annual Country Music Association Awards, hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood for the fifth time, will air Nov. 1 at 8:00 PM ET on ABC.

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