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CMA Awards to Feature Star-Studded Performances and Competitive Categories

Image courtesy of CMA (via ABC News Radio)
Image courtesy of CMA (via ABC News Radio)

Winning a CMA Award is a very prestigious honor, but most country stars will tell you they're more focused on their performance slot the night of the show.

That's definitely true for Keith Urban , who says, "That is the absolute moment that matters most to me, is getting to play. 'Cause the other stuff is, I don't know about the other stuff.  I know about playing, that's the only thing I know about."

Keith joins a star-studded lineup of performers at Thursday night's CMA Awards including the show's hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley , who is expected to perform his latest hit "Southern Comfort Zone."  Jason Aldean has a big surprise in store for fans with his performance slot while his former duet partner Kelly Clarkson is teaming up on the show with Vince Gill to sing their new collaboration, "Don't Rush."

Other performers on the show include Lady Antebellum , Taylor Swift , Luke Bryan , Eric Church , Kenny Chesney , Zac Brown Band , Blake Shelton , Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town .  Tim McGraw will debut his new song, "One of Those Nights," and his wife Faith Hill will deliver her single, "American Heart."  They'll also take part in a tribute to Willie Nelson on the show.

The Band Perry will sing their new single, "Better Dig Two," on the CMA Awards, and New Artist of the Year nominees Hunter Hayes and Brantley Gilbert have landed performance slots too.

Darius Rucker , Reba , Jake Owen , Sugarland , Martina McBride , Lisa Marie Presley and Kellie Pickler are set to present trophies during the broadcast along with ABC stars Tim Allen from Last Man Standing and Nashville 's Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere .

As for the nominees, Eric Church is the lead nominee with five nods including Album of the Year for Chief.  Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert each have four nods while Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Little Big Town, Taylor Swift and Dierks Bentley each walked away with three nominations.

Here is the full list of CMA nominees:

Entertainer of the Year
Jason Aldean
Kenny Chesney
Brad Paisley
Blake Shelton
Taylor Swift

Album of the Year
Eric Church, Chief
Miranda Lambert, Four the Record
Dierks Bentley, Home
Lady Antebellum, Own the Night
Luke Bryan, tailgates & tanlines

Male Vocalist
Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Blake Shelton
Keith Urban

Female Vocalist
Kelly Clarkson
Miranda Lambert
Martina McBride
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

Vocal Group of the Year
Eli Young Band
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band

Single of the Year
"Dirt Road Anthem," Jason Aldean
"God Gave Me You," Blake Shelton
"Home," Dierks Bentley
"Pontoon," Little Big Town
"Springsteen," Eric Church

Song of the Year (Award to Songwriter)
"Even if It Breaks Your Heart," Eli Young Band (Artist), Will Hoge and Eric Paslay (Writers)
"God Gave Me You," Blake Shelton (Artist), Dave Barnes (Writer)
"Home," Dierks Bentley (Artist), Dierks Bentley and Dan Wilson (Writers)
"Over You," Miranda Lambert (Artist), Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert (Writers)
"Springsteen," Eric Church (Artist), Eric Church, Jeff Hyde and Ryan Tyndell (Writers)

Musical Event
"Dixie Highway," Alan Jackson with Zac Brown Band
"Feel Like a Rock Star," Kenny Chesney duet with Tim McGraw
"Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die," Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg (or Lion), Kris Kristofferson and Jamey Johnson
"Safe and Sound," Taylor Swift with The Civil Wars
"Stuck on You," Lionel Richie and Darius Rucker

Vocal Duo
Big & Rich
Love and Theft
Sugarland
The Civil Wars
Thompson Square

New Artist
Lee Brice
Brantley Gilbert
Hunter Hayes
Love and Theft
Thompson Square

Music Video
"Come Over," Kenny Chesney
"Over You," Miranda Lambert
"Pontoon," Little Big Town
"Red Solo Cup," Toby Keith
"Springsteen," Eric Church

Musician
Sam Bush
Paul Franklin
Dann Huff
Brent Mason
Mac McAnally

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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