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Cheatin', drinkin', oh, and music are talk of CMAs

NASHVILLE -- After one year in New York, the Country Music Association awards show is coming home to Music City, where it will be met by enough drama for a sad country song.

Brooks & Dunn and Brad Paisley are the night's leading nominees, but much of the off-stage talk at last night's 40th annual CMA Award show was expected to be about two of its high-profile nominees: Sara Evans and Keith Urban.

Evans is going through a very messy divorce. Urban checked himself into rehab last month for alcohol abuse.

Evans dropped out of the reality TV show "Dancing With the Stars" and filed for a divorce a few weeks ago, alleging that her husband committed adultery, was verbally and emotionally abusive, drank excessively, and frequently watched pornography in their home.

Her husband, Craig Schelske, denied the allegations in court papers and said Evans filed for the divorce a day after he discovered her "intimate relationship" with another man and the two argued about it.

Evans, 35, is nominated for female vocalist of the year and is scheduled to attend the awards show.

Urban, however, is not expected to be there. He cancel ed his CMA appearance after announcing last month that he had checked into a rehabilitation treatment center. The revelation came less than four months after the Grammy-winning singer's marriage to actress Nicole Kidman.

Urban is nominated for four CMA awards: entertainer of the year, single of the year ("Better Life"), song of the year ("Tonight I Wanna Cry") , and male vocalist.

Brooks & Dunn and Paisley each have six nominations. Both are nominated for entertainer of the year, single of the year, and album of the year, among other awards.

Other multiple nominees included Kenny Chesney and "American Idol" winner Carrie Underwood with four each, and Rascal Flatts and Dolly Parton with three apiece.

All three of Parton's nods come for her vocals on Paisley's hit "When I Get Where I'm Going." The song is one of three spiritual tunes up for awards, the others being "Believe" by Brooks & Dunn and Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel."

All three are nominated for single of the year along with "Summertime" by Chesney and "Better Life" by Urban.

Contemporary superstar George Strait will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during the show. Strait, 54, broke onto the charts in 1981 with "Unwound" and is still having hits, including his latest, "It Just Comes Natural."

The nominees and winners are determined by the 6,000 members of the CMA.

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