Plus: Avril Lavigne releases The Best Damn Thing, Tiki Barber joins Today and more

By Serena Kappes and Brian Orloff
Updated April 14, 2007 06:00 AM
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After cleaning up at the Grammys, how will the Nashville scene welcome the Dixie Chicks back at the CMT Awards? PEOPLE takes a look at the ceremony, plus other events to watch for in the coming week:

MONDAY, APRIL 16: The Dixie Chicks swept February’s Grammys with five trophies. Now the ladies have a chance to reclaim their country-music stronghold at the CMT Awards, airing live from Nashville and hosted by Jeff Foxworthy (CMT, 8 p.m. ET). The feisty group is up for two major awards at the ceremony (honoring outstanding music videos), including video of the year for their single “Not Ready to Make Nice.” But they’ve got some fierce competition: Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and their onetime political rival Toby Keith. Also noteworthy: American Idol star Kellie Pickler is nominated for breakthrough video of the year for “Red High Heels.” And expect plenty of live music, with performances by Urban (who’ll be beamed in from Sydney) and Tim McGraw. (To take PEOPLE’s quiz on your favorite country couples click here.)

NFL star Tiki Barber will join Matt, Meredith, Al and the rest of the Today show crew when he starts his new gig as a correspondent on the NBC morning show (7 a.m. ET). So, what’s the former New York Giants running back most excited about? “I won’t get beat up anymore but if I go up there and I’m terrible, Matt Lauer might kick me,” Barber tells PEOPLE. And he already has his sights set on a dream interview: Denzel Washington. “I think he’s a phenomenal actor. My mother’s always talking about him.”

MONDAY, APRIL 17: Sure, she’s a married lady now at the ripe old age of 22 (after tying the knot with Sum 41 singer Deryck Whibley in July), but that doesn’t mean Avril Lavigne is mellowing. The Canadian singer’s third album, The Best Damn Thing, leads with the sassy single “Girlfriend,” that finds the singer belting, “Hey! You! I don’t like your girlfriend,” over a snappy, syncopated beat before teasing, “I want to be your girlfriend.” (It’s called artistic license, people.) For more from Avril, listen to the singer share her big moments with PEOPLE. Click here.

Bucky Covington is the latest American Idol star to hit the airwaves with an album. What can we expect from the singer’s debut CD, Bucky Covington? “A good mix of country ballads, straight country and turn-it-up rock-country,” the season-5 finalist tells PEOPLE. And he certainly had plenty of fun recording it. “Everybody had a great sense of humor in the studio. It was just non-stop one-liners being tossed around.” And for more talk with Bucky, click here.

NEW THIS WEEK:
Movies (now in theaters): Perfect Stranger, starring Halle Berry, Bruce Willis and Giovanni Ribisi; Disturbia, starring Shia LaBeouf, Carrie-Anne Moss and David Morse; Year of the Dog, (limited) starring Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly and Peter Sarsgaard; Lonely Hearts, (limited), starring John Travolta, Salma Hayek and Jared Leto
Music (in stores Tuesday): Joseph Arthur, Let’s Just Be; Cowboy Junkies, At the End of Paths Taken; Nine Inch Nails, Year Zero; Pam Tillis, Rhinestoned
DVDs (in stores Tuesday): The Last King of Scotland; Notes on a Scandal; Not Just the Best of the Larry Sanders Show; Murder, She Wrote – the Complete Sixth Season; The History Boys; Fredom Writers; Smokin’ Aces