George Strait, whose first single hit the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 1981, leads all nominees for the Academy of Country Music Awards with eight, including entertainer of the year and top male vocalist. Strait's last ACM win came in 1997, when he picked up three awards.

The nominations were announced today (Mar. 5) at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. The nominees were introduced by reigning ACM entertainer of the year Kenny Chesney, who picked up two nominations, including entertainer, and Sugarland, who is nominated in the top vocal duo division.

Brooks & Dunn earned seven nominations, including entertainer and album of the year, while the duo's Ronnie Dunn picked up an additional nod in the vocal event category for "I Don't Want To," on which he appeared with Ashley Monroe.

Meanwhile, Rascal Flatts scored six nominations, including entertainer of the year, best album and best single.

A two-time winner in 2006, Carrie Underwood received five nominations, including top female vocalist and album of the year, while duo Big & Rich got four. Individually, B&R's John Rich also picked up a nomination for producing Gretchen Wilson's single "Politically Uncorrect," which features Merle Haggard and is nominated in the vocal event category.

Vince Gill, John Turner and Wilson all received three nominations each.

The 42nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards will be held May 15 in Las Vegas. The show will air on CBS.

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