NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Country Music Television bills its annual awards show as an anything-goes kind of affair, where only a few years ago Kid Rock sipped from a whiskey bottle and actress Pamela Anderson brought a man onto the stage clad in underwear and cowboy boots.
But if the nominations announced Wednesday are any indication, this year's CMT Music Awards will have a somber side, too. Three songs with spiritual themes received multiple nominations.
Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel" is nominated for female video of the year, breakthrough video and inspiring video; Brooks & Dunn's "Believe" is up for video of the year, group/duo video and inspiring video; and Brad Paisley's duet with Dolly Parton, "When I Get Where I'm Going," is nominated for collaborative video, inspiring video and best director.
Brooks & Dunn will perform their gospel-tinged hit during the fan-voted awards show, which airs live April 10 on CMT, which is a part of MTV Networks.
"How can you not have a poignant moment in your show with someone like Brooks & Dunn performing 'Believe?'" said Chris Parr, vice president of music and talent at CMT. "I think there will be a reflective moment."
But Parr also noted the diversity of this year's nominations, which includes Trace Adkins' lighthearted "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk," Paisley's humorous "Alcohol" and Gretchen Wilson's rowdy "All Jacked Up."
Faith Hill's duet with husband Tim McGraw, "Like We Never Loved At All," received nominations for video of the year, collaborative video and best director. Hill also was nominated for female video for "Mississippi Girl."
Other artists receiving multiple nominations were Adkins, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith, as well as newcomers Miranda Lambert and Sugarland.
Urban's "Better Life" is up for video of the year and male video, while his "Making Memories of Us" is nominated for hottest video.
Chesney's "Who You'd Be Today" is nominated for video of the year, male video and best director — same for Keith's "As Good As I Once Was."
Adkins' "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" is up for video of the year, male video and hottest video. Adkins said he laughed out loud the first time he heard the song, whose video features a parade of models in skimpy outfits.
"It was a no-brainer for me, I knew right away that I wanted to cut it," he said. "I played it for my 4-year-old, and she liked it, too, which is always a good sign."
Lambert's "Kerosene" is nominated for female video, breakthrough video and best director, while Sugarland's "Just Might (Make Me Believe)" is up for group/duo video and "Something More" for breakthrough video.
Lambert called her song "an anthem for any girl or anybody who's been cheated on before." The video shows her getting revenge on a cheating partner by lighting his house on fire.
"I'm real proud of this video," Lambert said Wednesday. "It's the third video I've made, and I think I felt really comfortable with this one. When I wrote the song, I thought it would be a cool video."
Sugarland lead singer Jennifer Nettles also is nominated for collaborative video for her duet with Bon Jovi, "Who Says You Can't Go Home."
Unlike some previous years, no single artist dominates this time.
"They're pretty evenly spread, and I think that's reflective of their interest in lot of different things," Parr said of CMT viewers.
The show will be hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy with performances by Keith, Chesney, Adkins, Wilson, Sugarland and Rascal Flatts, as well as Brooks & Dunn.
Fans can vote online at CMT.com through April 7 to determine the winners in each category except video of the year, which will be voted on during the live telecast.