Wright Tips Her Hat to Flameworthy Awards

Right off the top of her head, Chely Wright can tell you why she has a nomination for a CMT Flameworthy video music award.

“It was probably the hat,” she told CMT.com with a smile on Tuesday (May 14). Her dazzling video “Jezebel,” in which her eye-catching outfit is capped by a very stylish black hat, is nominated for fashion plate video of the year.

“I think the hat set the tone,” Wright said after she and Chris Cagle read the names of all nominees during a news conference at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville.

“It was really easy to get into a bit of an edgier character, once I put the hat on,” she explained. “I had the fake acrylic nails on. So we just kept piling clothes on — trinkets, necklaces. I think the fans appreciated the decadence. It was fun to play dress-up that day.”

CMT will telecast the Flameworthy Awards live from the Gaylord Entertainment Center on June 12. The show is the first-ever country music awards show based solely on videos and the only fan-voted country awards show. The nominations include such non-traditional categories as love your country (for patriotic content) “lol” (laugh out loud), and hottest video.

Cagle scored two nominations — breakthrough video and hottest video — for “I Breathe In, I Breathe Out.” “We set it up to where people realize that everyday life goes on, and the things that are happening throughout the video happen to everyone,” he told CMT.com. “Even down to the Dairy Freeze place where the lady’s trying to set the guy up with her daughter, and he walks away and rolls his eyes. That’s life.”

Since when did everyday life look so sexy? The hottest video nomination, for the sexiest clip by an artist, caught Cagle off guard. “I thought, ’Whoa, OK.’ That kind of threw me a little bit, but the thing that I’m most excited about is that the fans are involved. That means more to me than anything. My fans are the dearest people to me. Besides my record and my music, that’s the most important thing in my career.”

Fans can vote for their favorites now through June 9 at CMT.com.

Tim McGraw ’s “Angel Boy” is one of 10 clips still in the running for video of the year. Fans will be able to vote in that category only during the awards ceremony June 12. The five finalists will be announced at the beginning of the show, and fans can vote at CMT.com during the program. The winner will be announced near the end of the show.

“The Cowboy in Me,” also by McGraw, earned nominations for male video and hottest video. “We had not released a video since 1999, so having both ’The Cowboy in Me’ and ’Angel Boy’ recognized today by the fans and CMT is great! The ’Cowboy’ footage was filmed on tour last year, so many of our fans are a part of it! Thanks for coming out to see us — and see you on the road this summer,” McGraw said.

Kenny Chesney , whose “Young” video earned a nomination for male video, said “I’m so glad the fans have responded to ’Young’ the way that they have — it’s become an anthem in our show already! To have them vote for this proves that this is a song they see themselves in, which is what I’ve always tried to get my music to do. And I think since this is the first video where my band was in it, it’s also the first time we were able to get some of that energy onstage. It’s about fun when we’re up there — that’s what the people like — and you can see that good-time thing we have on stage in this video.”

Brooks & Dunn ’s “Only in America” earned two nominations, for love your country and group/duo. Remembering the day that the video was shot in George, Wash., Ronnie Dunn says, “It was an awful day that day. We couldn’t get our video screens hung. They were afraid to put the helicopter in the air. And then, just as the sun started going down, it didn’t subside, but it got calm enough that everyone was able to get to their battle stations. It was one of those times where you walk around, not sure what’s going to happen. … And then when it starts to work out, you take that releasing tension onto the stage and just explode. That was an amazing show for us, and to have it be the foundation of the ’Only in America’ video was pretty damn cool.”

Toby Keith , who earned three nominations, said, “Thanks to all the fans and road warriors for your votes. It has been a good year for me and I appreciate the support.”

Nominated for “Breath” in the “lol” (laugh out loud) category, Cledus T. Judd said, “Man, what an honor to be recognized by the fans! I hope this video does make people laugh out loud — that’s what I was aiming for.”

A number of bluegrass and acoustic music videos were nominated as well: Alison Krauss & Union Station’s “The Lucky One” and “Let Me Touch You for Awhile”; Nickel Creek ’s “The Lighthouse’s Tale”; Dolly Parton ’s “Shine”; and Earl Scruggs & Friends’ “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.”

“I think you heard the fans come through loud and clear, with the huge vote for bluegrass,” said Brian Philips, senior vice president and general manager of CMT, “and to see Alison Krauss recognized in the company of mainstream radio artists. Those people who voted for that don’t have a way to get those artists on the radio, but they got them on CMT.”

The concept video and love your country categories have all male nominees, and Martina McBride was the only female among nominees in “lol” (laugh out loud), for “When God Fearin’ Women Get the Blues.”

A few artists mixed nominations in funny and serious categories: Alan Jackson with “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” and “It’s Alright to be a Redneck”; Keith with “I Wanna Talk About Me” and “My List”; and McBride with “God Fearin’ Women” and “Blessed.”

Trisha Yearwood competes against herself in video collaboration, for “Squeeze Me In” (with Garth Brooks ) and “Inside Out” (with Don Henley).

Other nominees include Trace Adkins , Gary Allan , David Ball , Clint Black with Lisa Hartman Black, Sara Evans , Faith Hill , Carolyn Dawn Johnson , Lonestar , Jo Dee Messina , Montgomery Gentry , Willie Nelson with Lee Ann Womack , Jamie O’Neal , Brad Paisley , Cyndi Thomson, Aaron Tippin , Travis Tritt , keith urban , Hank Williams Jr. and Darryl Worley .

Kathy Najimy, a star of the Sister Act movies, and TV’s Veronica’s Closet and King of the Hill, will host the show.

Nominated for concept video, for “I Miss My Friend,” Worley said, “This is the first time I’ve been nominated for any award in my career, and it makes it even more special that it’s from CMT. It’s great that the fans related to the realness of missing a friend.” In his back-to-basics video, Worley serenades an ex-girlfriend while tears stream down his eyes. It competes against much more elaborate videos from Brad Paisley, Montgomery Gentry and Travis Tritt.