11/04/2003 at 12:00 AM EST
It's looking like a man's world at this Wednesday's Country Music Association Awards.
For the first time in some 20 years, male singers have taken all five slots in both the entertainer of the year and newcomer categories at the CMAs, with Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and Tim McGraw all up for the entertainer honor, the Associated Press reports.
Meanwhile, Horizon Award nominees (for newcomer) are Gary Allan, Buddy Jewell, Joe Nichols, Blake Shelton and Darryl Worley.
What happened, given that the women such as Faith Hill and Shania Twain dominated country for so long and so well? Some say it's a return to country's roots, given that those two artists leaned too heavily on pop, rather than the traditional sound demonstrated by Nichols and Jewell.
"I think the pop crossover songs are going to be out there," Joel Burke, program director for a Denver country station, tells AP. "It's still an important part of the overall picture of the country music format, but the difference now is those songs will have to be phenomenal to cut through."
Keith, 42, who's had a string of testosterone-charged hits with "Who's Your Daddy," "Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue" and "Beer for My Horses," leads all artists with seven nominations.
As he tells USA Today, "Half the time, next year, people can't even tell you who won last year. The performance slot's huge to me. People will remember a great performance. They don't remember that you won male vocalist or album of the year. I know I've had very few people comment on that."
The 37th annual CMAs will air live at 8 p.m. on CBS from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.