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The excitement is building for fans and stars alike, as the CMA Awards draw closer.

Nominees were announced yesterday, and by their reactions, the stars may be more excited than anyone about this year's ceremony.

The Bellamy Brothers, nominated for Vocal Duo of the Year, are no stranger to these awards, as David Bellamy notes. "We were nominated in the Group of the Year category back in 1981," he says. "Then the CMA instituted the 'Duo of the Year' category and we were nominated in 1983, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001. We've never made that famous walk to the stage to accept the award -- it proves to us that times may change, but our music consistently is judged to be amongst the best."

Brooks & Dunn, nominated for Entertainer of the Year and Vocal Duo of the Year, have a take-no-prisoners attitude. Ronnie Dunn had this to say:

"Chicks got those little chick things on their ankles, we have matching tattoos, too. Don't ask me where they are, though, because you don't want to know. Instead of 'Mama' or 'Born to Ride,' they say 'Born to Entertain.' No matter who wins on CMA Awards night, that baby belongs to us."

Trying to be the diplomat, Kix Brooks adds, "What my partner meant to say was we're so honored to be included with such a great bunch . . . Oh, what the hell -- what HE said."

Kenny Chesney seems blown away by his nominations for Entertainer of the Year and Album of the Year, saying: "What a year! To start out wondering if you can sell all those tickets and then to have the year end up like this is amazing -- it just gets better and better."

First-timers Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Darryl Worley are just as excited as the veterans. Carolyn says, "This is so cool. I can't even believe it. It's so huge just to be recognized. This is beautiful."

Darryl Worley's reaction to being nominated for the Horizon Award is: "Well, ain't that a ham sandwich! This must be Darryl Worley's year to walk around grinning like a possum. It's been a long haul and this is really cool."

Cool, indeed.


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