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Luke Bryan’s CMA Nominations Make Him ‘Legitimate Contender’

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When Luke Bryan stepped in to help Jason Aldean announce the CMA award nominees earlier this month after Lady Antebellum‘s arrival was delayed due to weather conditions, he had no idea he would hear his name called not once but twice when the nominations were read. The pair revealed the nominees live on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and from B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grill near Times Square in New York City.

Luke is nominated for the first time for Male Vocalist of the Year. The singer, who has been on Jason’s My Kinda Party tour, also grabbed a nod in the Album of the Year category for Tailgates & Tanlines. He was previously nominated for New Artist of the Year in 2010 and 2011.

“When you go into that upper echelon of nominees — not to say that Best New Artist nominations aren’t amazing in themselves, but you are getting those by default because you are a new artist — it’s great,” Luke says. “To get into these new categories of being a legitimate contender of the top levels of artists out there, and to be considered a vocalist, is a huge honor.”

Luke also considers the Album nod particularly significant. “To put your heart and soul in a record and to have it get nominated for Album of the Year is very special,” he says. “It makes you feel like all the hard work you put into making that album is paying off.”

The CMA nominations are just the icing on the cake of a phenomenal year for the singer-songwriter, who recently celebrated his fifth No. 1 single with “Drunk on You,” the second single from Tailgates and Tanlines to top the country charts and his third consecutive platinum-selling single.

“At the end of the day all you want to be is in the game, to have some nominations, to be in the hunt,” Luke says of his CMA nods. “Whoever wins, it will be an awesome night. If we win, it will be an amazing night for me and we’ll have the times of our lives. If we don’t win, we’ll approach the rest of the year trying to pick the best songs and make the best new album we can make. For me, it’s always enjoying this time and celebrating all the nominations.”

The 46th Annual CMA Awards will be broadcast live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, Nov. 1 at 8:00 PM ET on ABC. Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will host the star-studded gala for the fifth consecutive year.

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