While reigning country queen Taylor Swift is among the leading contenders in Tuesday's announcement of the final nominees for the ninth annual CMT Music Awards, she faces a fierce fight with Carrie Underwood.
Taylor Swift landed three nominations, including bids for video of the year and female video for "You Belong to Me." The teen singing sensation took home these awards last year for "Love Story" and in 2008 for "Our Song." Swift's third bid this year is in the collaborative video category for her duet with Kellie Pickler on "Best Days of Your Life."
Carrie Underwood's video for "Cowboy Casanova" is up for both the top award and female video while her rendition of "Temporary Home" on the CMT show "Invitation Only" is nominated for the performance prize. Three years ago, Underwood won both video of the year and female video for "Before He Cheats."
Taylor Swift is the only woman to win video of the year twice and is tied with Keith Urban ("Better Life," 2006; "Days Go By," 2005) and Toby Keith ("American Soldier," 2004; "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," 2003), both of whom are back in that race this year. Urban contends with "Til Summer Comes Around" while Keith vies with "American Ride."
Two other acts — Jason Aldean and Lady Antebellum — scored three nominations apiece, including bids for video of the year for "The Truth" and "Need You Now" as well as in the male and group video categories, respectively. While Alden and Bryan Adams were nominated for their collaborative video for "Heaven," Lady Antebellum picked up a performance nom for its rendition of "Lookin' for a Good Time" on last year's kudocast.
Brad Paisley is back in the hunt for his first video of the year win with a bid for "Welcome to the Future." Last year, Paisley was the big winner at the CMT Awards, taking home his first male video award ("Waiting on a Woman") plus laurels in two other categories: collaborative video ("Start a Band" with Keith Urban) and performance of the year ("Country Boy" with Alan Jackson, George Strait and Dierks Bentley). He sang "Then" on last year's show and reaped a performance bid for that this year.
The first round of nominations was announced on April 7 and fans voted online till May 3 to determine the nominees in eight of the nine categories. Now they have till June 8 to vote for their favorites to win.
Voting for video of the year is different. There are 10 semifinalists, which will be cut down to a final five that will be revealed at the start of the award ceremony, airing live June 9 on CMT from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena. The winner of the top prize will be determined by votes cast online and via text-message during the ceremony.
Photo: Taylor Swift performing on the 8th annual CMT Awards. Credit: CMT.