Taylor Swift, who at the age of 21 has already become an award ceremony staple, is up for several nominations, including Album of the Year for Speak Now, Female Vocalist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year. She is also nominated for Song of the Year for Mean, which she wrote. Her music video for Mean is up for the Music Video of the Year award.
Hot on Swift's heels is Blake Shelton, 35, who is also nominated for Entertainer of the Year and Album of the Year for All About Tonight. His video for Honey Bee is nominated for Music Video of the Year.
Other popular artists up for awards are Martina McBride, Keith Urban, and ceremony hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood. Groups up for awards include Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry, and Rascal Flatts.
The CMA awards began in 1967. The first award ceremony was not televised, and the inaugural gala was hosted by Need You country crooner Sonny James and Ode to Billy Joe singer Bobbie Gentry, according to the CMA Awards Web site. The awarded trophies, which have an upward point, are designed to look like chart bullets and are assembled in Nashville, Tennessee, according to the Web site.
Country music may not be considered cool, so to speak, by younger crowds who are listening to the likes of Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, but it is still a hugely popular genre in the U.S.
Individual country artists like Taylor Swift and groups such as Lady Antebellum, which is nominated for Vocal Group of the Year, have contributed to the belief that sometimes, country music is just what the listener needs.
Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott told Entertainment Weekly last year that she was passed over while auditioning for American Idol. Later, Lady Antebellum would be asked to perform at the show.
When we were rehearsing and just the band was playing, we'd look out into the audience, Scott told EW. Without our voices, they were just singing along like they knew it.