Carrie Underwood Nabs Two AMA Nominations

American Music Award nominees were announced this week with new Country artist Carrie Underwood up for two awards and Grammy-award winning band Casting Crowns in the running for Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist for a second time.

A rising artist in both the Christian and mainstream music industry, Underwood received two AMA nominations for Favorite Female Artist under Country music and for Favorite New Breakthrough Artist overall.

Dawning from Oklahoma, the American Idol winner began her musical career singing songs in church, according to her personally written biography. After winning the title of American Idol 2005, the country artist gained a recording contract with Arista Records and released her debut album "Some Hearts," which entered the Billboard 200 chart with 315,000 copies sold its first week. It topped the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and was recorded as the biggest debut of any country artist since the advent of the SoundScan system in 1990.

Her second single, "Jesus, Take The Wheel," set a record debuting at number 39 on the Billboard Country Chart its first week, making her the first new artist to debut inside the Top 40 on the country charts. It rose to number one in its thirteenth week on the chart.

Platinum-selling band Casting Crowns is up against Aly & AJ and Kirk Franklin for Favorite Artist under the category Contemporary Inspirational. Nominees were announced in Beverly Hills and awards will be presented Nov. 21 at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium during a three-hour ABC-TV special.

Casting Crowns was named Group of the Year two years in a row at the Annual Gospel Music Awards and received a Grammy award for its album "Lifesong." According to CCM Magazine, the band has been the most played artist on all Christian radio formats combined with five number one radio hits. Last year's trophy for Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist went to Mary Mary.

Winners of the American Music Awards are selected by the public. A national sampling of approximately 20,000 will be sent ballots by the National Family Opinion, Inc.

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