Before all the stars settled into their seats at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena for the 44th Annual CMA Awards, they walked the black carpet and mingled with fans and media. Here are the highlights from CMT's black carpet pre-show from Wednesday night's awards:

Blake Shelton on competing against fiancé Miranda Lambert in multiple categories: "People keep asking us, 'Man are you going to bet [who wins]?' It's like no, because whoever wins, the freakin' trophy's going in the same house. When my friends are over, they're going to be like, 'Hey, what's that?' I'll say, 'Oh, that's my CMA...' Because if we're married, everything is ours!"

Jason Aldean on his "Man Cave" at home: "I've got a shuffleboard table, a pool table, and a full service bar ... it don't get much better than that!"

Kellie Pickler on her "free pass" from fiance Kyle Jacobs to kiss Clint Eastwood on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show': "When I was going out there, my fiance, Kyle, left me a note in my bag that said that I had one free pass to kiss Clint Eastwood, but it had to be in a live studio and supervised! [laughs] I love Clint Eastwood. I'm a huge fan of his and his work. I just did what I felt every other woman would want to do in that situation. I couldn't hold it back! He's probably got a restraining order [against me] now. He probably has pictures with my name and face, and he gives it to all his security ... keep her away from me!"

NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon on his 5 O'Clock Shadow: "I think we all should be paying tribute to Brad Paisley tonight, and this is my Brad Paisley tribute."

Martina McBride on her friendship with Loretta Lynn: "She has always been so sweet to me and has taken me under her wing. Every once in a while the phone will ring and it's a private number. I will answer it, and she'll say, 'Hey Martina, this is Loretta.' And I just freak out every time. I think, 'Oh my God! Loretta Lynn just called me! This is awesome!'''

Kimberly Williams-Paisley on whether or not she was nervous for her husband Brad Paisley: "I'm not that nervous because I just take it off of him, and he's really not nervous. He feels like he is in his element, and he loves what he's doing. If he's not nervous then I'm not nervous."

Kid Rock on the Zac Brown Band: "I'm probably their biggest fan. I always say that I'm the Zac Brown Band's biggest groupie! I stand by that 100 percent!"

LeAnn Rimes on her current single, 'Crazy Women': "There's no story behind it [because] I didn't write the song. 'Crazy Women,' I think, is kind of the perfect bonus track for this 'Lady and Gentleman' record. The whole record is of songs originally recorded by men, but they're from a woman's perspective. 'Crazy Women' is basically a song about how love can drive both men and women crazy -- especially women! Sometimes we do absolutely nutty things. On this album, 'Lady and Gentleman,' I'm recording some of the best songs by some of the most notorious men that have driven women crazy in this lifetime, so it really fits perfectly. I'm proud of it."

Keith Urban on the new talent in Nashville: "It's magnificent. With The Band Perry, Zac Brown Band, Taylor [Swift] and Lady Antebellum, there's such diversity. It's great.",feedConfig,localizationConfig,entry&id=952920&pid=952919&uts=1289454527
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Michael Loccisano, WireImage