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The 2011 CMA Awards Nominees: What’s Got Everyone Talking

Our Country

So, what do you think of the Country Music Association Awards nominations, which were announced Tuesday morning? Here's a little cheat sheet of the things folks are chatting about regarding this year's pack of potential winners.

The return of Taylor Swift to the top category. In 2010, Swift's former domination of the nomination list dwindled to a single mention, while another blond beauty--Miranda Lambert--scooped the news with her remarkable 9 nods. This year, no doubt due to the success of Speak Now, Swift has returned to multiple categories--including the coveted Entertainer of the Year and Album of the Year slots. Swift also holds the distinction of being the only female artist in the Entertainer category.

Blake Shelton is now really in the game. Last year, Shelton won what was considered an upstart victory in the Male Vocalist category (where he was up against such heavyweights as Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, and George Strait). This year? P'shaw, 2010 was nothing. Not only has he retained his position in the Male Vocalist category, Shelton's moved on up to the top, to the deeee-luxe category of Entertainer of the Year. He's also in the Album, Single, and Video categories. If last year belonged to Shelton's then-fiancee Lambert, this year is definitely hubby's turn to shine.

That said, the new hot dude is Jason Aldean. Let's see if Aldean, who scored his first CMA nominations ever this year (he racked up five total), can outshine Shelton. For a CMAs virgin, he sure is being indoctrinated all the way, picking up some of the juiciest nods of them all--Entertainer, Male Vocalist, Album, Single, and Musical Event of the Year (for his duet with Kelly Clarkson).

Sara Evans is back! Evans has weathered some personally difficult years, but returned to the charts in 2011 Stronger than ever. She's also back to the CMA Awards nomination list for the first time in 5 years, competing in the Female Artist category. Nice to see her again, and I'm sure many will agree with me.

Interesting new faces on the list. Newcomers to the CMA game include some super-talented fresh names such as the Civil Wars, Thompson Square, and Eric Church.

So, who will you be rooting for when the awards are held in November? A complete list of nominees can be studied here.

The 45th Annual CMA Awards will be aired live on ABC Wednesday November 9, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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