Luke Bryan Takes on Beyonce and One Direction at the 2014 AMAs

Image Courtesy ABCWithout a doubt, Luke Bryan is the country torchbearer at this year's American Music Awards, as the only artist from the genre nominated in the all-inclusive Artist of the Year category. Luke confesses it's a little hard to believe he's up against the likes of Beyonce and One Direction.

"Anytime I'm in the room with all of music, I get really, really inspired. I'm very flattered. I always think about representing country music in the best way I know," he says. "I just love being in that room. It's always fun going out to the AMAs and seeing all of the talent in the room. And knowing that this year I'm nominated in the category of overall artist is really, really hard for me to wrap my head around. It's amazing."

Even though he's also competing against Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton for Favorite Male Artist in the country category, Luke vows he won't let the pressure get to him.

"I just wanna go out there and enjoy it. I love meeting all of the people in all of music. At the end of the day, I think we're all in there to make the art of music better. Hopefully, I can represent Nashville."

On the female side, Carrie Underwood squares off against Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves for Favorite Female Artist - Country. Carrie says the fan-voted awards remind her of the beginning of her career.

"I'm excited to be nominated for an AMA. I see every day on my Twitter feed, people have been retweeting and doing all that stuff, which is really cool. They've always had my back, and seeing their enthusiasm about voting for me is something that is really cool because that's how I got here in the first place with American Idol," she remembers. "So, it makes me feel good to know that there are still people out there that are voting their fingers off."

Whether or not Florida Georgia Line is able to wrestle the country Band, Duo or Group trophy from Lady Antebellum and Eli Young Band, Tyler Hubbard thinks it's just fun to get to rub elbows with artists from other kinds of music.

"It's a huge honor, to be honest, to be a country artist and then to be able to be at an all-genre awards show feels great.  It's definitely humbling, and so it's cool," he says. "And we're excited. You get to see a lot of cool people and meet a lot of nice people and see a lot of different, basically, music cultures. It's neat for us, you know. "

Garth Brooks, who's up for country's Favorite Album, is set to perform on the show, while his fellow nominee Brantley Gilbert will help hand out one of the trophies. You can find out who wins Sunday, November 23 at 8 p.m. E.T. on ABC.

The nominees in the country categories for the 2014 American Music Awards are:

Favorite Male Artist -- Country
Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Blake Shelton

Favorite Female Artist -- Country
Miranda Lambert
Kacey Musgraves
Carrie Underwood

Favorite Band, Duo or Group -- Country  
Eli Young Band
Florida Georgia Line
Lady Antebellum

Favorite Album -- Country
Garth Brooks, Blame It on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences
Eric Church, The Outsiders
Brantley Gilbert, Just as I Am

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Ashley Monroe and Dan + Shay Head “Home for the Holidays”

Warner Bros. NashvilleAshley Monroe and Dan + Shay are set to sing alongside Jennifer Hudson, Train, Earth, Wind & Fire and Katharine McPhee on the upcoming A Home for the Holidays special. This is the 16th year for the Christmas tradition that pairs musical performances with heartwarming stories of children adopted from foster care.  The show airs Friday, December 19 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

Ashley also recorded a new version of the Amy Grant classic "Tennessee Christmas" for Amazon's new All Is Bright holiday playlist.

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LBT’s Kimberly Schlapman Wants You to Lend a Ham This Holiday Season

Sandbox EntertainmentThis holiday season, Kimberly Schlapman from Little Big Town wants you to lend a ham. The play on words is part of a campaign to inspire folks to donate food to feed hungry families.

"I'm excited to join Smithfield in their effort to lend a ham to those in need this season," Kimberly says with a wink. "Since I was a little girl, Smithfield has always been a part of my family's holiday tradition, and to now have the opportunity to help provide that to someone in need means the world to me."

For every act of kindness posted on Twitter or the Smithfield Facebook page with the hashtag #LendAHam, the company will donate a serving of protein to a local food bank. Kimberly also teamed up with Smithfield to surprise Thanksgiving shoppers with $100 gift cards, in hopes of inspiring them to do good deeds themselves. You can see the video that captures Kimberly going undercover as a grocery cashier on YouTube.

The campaign goes through Christmas Eve, with Smithfield planning to donate up to a million servings to help feed the hungry this holiday season.

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Trisha Yearwood and Lady A Go Viral for No Shave November

Image Courtesy Vector ManagementTrisha Yearwood and Lady Antebellum are going viral for No Shave November. Typically, for the campaign, men grow beards and mustaches to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. But when Trisha heard about a female friend in the business who vowed not to shave her legs for the month, she decided to help her out, taping a YouTube video that changed the words of her first hit to “She’s Got Leg Hair Like a Boy.”

Then, Lady A got in on the act, with a little help from Meghan Trainor. The trio changed the lyrics of “All About That Bass” to “I’m all about that beard, no stubble.” So far, Team Lady Antebellum has more than tripled its $1,000 fundraising goal, with more than a week still left in the month. Meanwhile, Trisha’s friend has raised nearly thirteen times her $100 goal.

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Lee Ann Womack Adds Steel Guitar to Thanksgiving Day Performance of National Anthem

Courtesy Sugar Hill RecordsTexas native Lee Ann Womack will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the Dallas Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day game, and she’s got something unusual planned -- steel guitarist Paul Franklin will accompany her.

“When I was asked, I didn’t just want to go and sing, I wanted to really invest this performance of our national anthem with something that makes us all reconsider what the song is expressing,” she says. “If you’ve ever heard... or really listened to Paul’s musicianship and the emotions he brings out... I think having him play opens up so many aspects of what Francis Scott Key was celebrating when he wrote that.”

Lee Ann’s first CD in seven years, The Way I’m Livin’, came out this fall. Paul Franklin’s collaboration with Vince Gill called Bakersfield was recently nominated for a Grammy.

You can watch Lee Ann and Paul perform at 4:30 p.m. ET on FOX, before the Cowboys take on the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat was Luke Bryan's least successful single on the country charts? ANSWER:  "We Rode in Trucks" only made it to number 33 in 2007.

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