Kenny Chesney gets 7 nods and Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts also nab honors

By Katie Kauss
September 10, 2008 10:30 AM

It’s a good day for Kenny Chesney, who received seven Country Music Association award nominations Tuesday, but it was newcomer Taylor Swift who had the best and most immediate reaction.

“I’m having a really good day,” said an otherwise speechless Swift, 18, who forgot she still had one more category to announce. “This is awesome.”

She is up for female vocalist of the year against veterans, Alison Krauss, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood.

“Get used to it,” Jay DeMarcus, 37, of Rascal Flatts told her as his group and Swift announced the five big CMA categories on Good Morning America. The band has won vocal group the past five years, and will have to contend with cross-over sensation the Eagles, Emerson Drive, Little Big Town, and newcomers, Lady Antelbellum for vocal group of the year.

Chesney, 40, coming off his wildly successful Poets & Pirates tour, is up for album, male vocalist and entertainer of the year.

Having won both entertainer and musical event of the year at the 2007 CMA awards, he is up against George Strait, Brad Paisley, Sugarland and Keith Urban for the highly coveted entertainer of the year.

It was also an awesome day for James Otto, a best new artist nominee.

Otto, who struggled after being dropped from his first record deal in 2004, scored a hit album, Sunset Man, this year, including a No. 1 song, “Just Got Started Lovin’ You,” on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

“This may take a while to sink in,” Otto, 35, told PEOPLE. “This is my second time around in this business so it’s even sweeter this time.”

The 42nd annual CMA Awards will be held Nov. 12, at Nashville’s Sommet Center.