Strait goes straight to top of CMA noms

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NASHVILLE -- George Strait, who had his 55th No. 1 single this year and was recently inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame, returned Thursday to the Country Music Association Awards with top nominations including entertainer and male vocalist of the year.

Strait and Brad Paisley led with five nominations each. Strait also was nominated for musical event of the year, for a performance with Jimmy Buffett and Alan Jackson; album of the year for "It Just Comes Natural"; and single of the year for "Wrapped," his 55th career No. 1 single.

Paisley is nominated for entertainer, male vocalist, his album, "Fifth Gear," best single for "Ticks," and best music video with "Online."

Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban rounded out the entertainer of the year category.

Josh Turner joined Chesney, Paisley, Strait and Urban with nominations for male vocalist of the year.

Bluegrass star Alison Krauss was nominated for female vocalist of the year, along with Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire and "American Idol" winner Carrie Underwood.

The top nominations were announced on ABC's "Good Morning America" by Sara Evans and Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. The rest were announced in Nashville by duo Montgomery Gentry and 17-year-old Taylor Swift, who was nominated for the Horizon Award for new artists.

"They kind of tortured me a little bit at the end by not saying my name right away," she said of Montgomery Gentry's nail-biting introduction. "I kind of freaked out. I was excited. I started shaking."

The CMA Awards are scheduled for Nov. 7 in Nashville.
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