November 06, 2006 12:00 PM

>The 40th annual Country Music Association Awards, hosted by Brooks & Dunn, will air live from Nashville Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Here’s how we size up the biggest categories of the night.

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

Brooks & Dunn

Kenny Chesney

Brad Paisley

Rascal Flatts

Keith Urban

Chesney’s got the edge, though Urban (last year’s winner) is nipping at his heels.

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

Sara Evans

Faith Hill

Martina McBride

Carrie Underwood

Gretchen Wilson

McBride is the class of the field, but breakout star Underwood has all the momentum.

MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

Dierks Bentley

Kenny Chesney

Alan Jackson

Brad Paisley

Keith Urban

While we’re rooting for Jackson, look for Nicole’s hubby to repeat in this category.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Brooks & Dunn, Hillbilly Deluxe

Rascal Flatts, Me and My Gang

Alan Jackson, Precious Memories

Kenny Chesney, The Road and the Radio

Brad Paisley, Time Well Wasted It’s a toss-up between Chesney and gangbuster sellers Rascal Flatts, but we’ll go with Renée’s ex.

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