NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A couple of categories to watch tonight at the Country Music Association awards are female vocalist and vocal duo.
Upstarts Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert are up against stalwarts Reba McEntire, Martina McBride and Alison Krauss for top female singer. In the vocal duo category, perennial favorites Brooks & Dunn have stiff competition from Big & Rich, Montgomery Gentry, Sugarland and the Wreckers.
Brad Paisley and George Strait are the leading nominees with five apiece, including the prestigious entertainer of the year.
The Dixie Chicks are nominated for vocal group of the year, their first nomination since lead singer Natalie Maines' derogatory comments about President Bush in 2003.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)