Country Music’s Biggest Night

Celebrities, People
on October 31, 2004

This year’s Country Music Association (CMA) Awards, which airs live at 8 p.m. ET Nov. 9 on CBS, will showcase both the fresh faces that are leading a new musical movement and many of the industry’s beloved icons.

Julie Roberts, Josh Turner, Gretchen Wilson, Dierks Bentley and Big & Rich are vying for their first-ever CMA award—the Horizon Award for best new artist. “I will be sitting right beside my mama,” Roberts says. “I’ve sat by her my entire life watching the awards at home and telling her, ‘One day I’m going to be part of that and I’m going to wear a purple dress!’ I’m not sure what I’ll be wearing, but it’s such an honor to attend the CMA show as a nominee.”

Newcomers such as Roberts will join perennial nominees Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, George Strait and Alabama. Brooks & Dunn will host the show because Vince Gill, who was the show’s emcee for 12 years, stepped down in January.

“I wouldn’t be so nervous if it wasn’t for the ‘Vince factor,’” says Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn. “He’s done such a good job for so long, it’s going to be hard not to be compared to him. We’ll just try and have some fun and move on. It’s important to remember that it’s not our show!”

Brooks & Dunn are nominees for Entertainer of the Year—competing against Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and Tim McGraw—and for Vocal Duo and Album of the Year.

Male Vocalist contenders are Chesney, Jackson, Keith, Strait and Keith Urban. Female Vocalist nominees are Terri Clark, Sara Evans, Alison Krauss, Martina McBride and McEntire.

“The CMAs are our Oscars,” Brooks says. “There’s a sense of importance and respect for this award.”

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