Sept. 9, 2009 — The number "9" is just a "6" flipped 180 degrees, and Brad Paisley is certainly turning flips with Wednesday's unveiling of the finalists for the 43rd annual Country Music Association Awards. Announced on Sept. 9 — 9/9/09 — Brad showed up 6 times on the list. His haul included his fifth straight nomination for Entertainer of the Year and his ninth in 10 years for Male Vocalist.
Set to co-host the awards on ABC with Carrie Underwood on Nov. 11, Brad also secured a spot in the finalists for Single and Song with his ballad, "Then"; earned an Album nomination with American Saturday Night; and shared a Vocal Event slot with Keith Urban for "Start A Band."
Brad might be at the head of the class, but he was hardly the only one to receive good grades. Keith, Jamey Johnson, George Strait, Zac Brown and Taylor Swift snatched four nominations apiece. Kenny Chesney was a triple nominee, while two-time nomin ees include Darius Rucker (who co-hosted the nominations announcement on ABC with Lee Ann Womack), Carrie Underwood, Mac McAnally, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Randy Houser, Lady Antebellum, Brooks & Dunn and Sugarland.
In addition, "People Are Crazy" picked up a pair of nominations. Billy Currington and co-producer Carson Chamberlain claimed a Single of the Year nod, and songwriters Bobby Braddock and Troy Jones were tabbed for Song of the Year.
Darius, who first made his mark with Hootie + The Blowfish, was one of numerous first-time CMA finalists. Other artists who are newbies on the slate include Randy Houser, the Zac Brown Band, the Raconteurs, Ashley Monroe, Joey+Rory and Jake Owen.
It "feels," Darius said, "like I'm part of the family now."
Brad is part of an elite family now. With his six nominations, he's amassed 48 total in his career, passing Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard to tie Reba McEntire for the fifth most in CMA history. Ahead of them on the all-time nominee list: Brooks & Dunn, 49; Vince Gill, 51; and George Strait and Alan Jackson, tied at No. 1 with 79.
Click here for a complete list of nominees!