Eric Church leads country music awards with 7 nods

NASHVILLE, Tennessee Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:28am EST

NASHVILLE, Tennessee Feb 13 (Reuters) - American country music singer-songwriter Eric Church emerged in the lead for the annual Academy of Country Music Awards on Wednesday with seven nominations in one of the biggest events in country music.

Church, 35, was nominated as Male Vocalist of the Year and received his second consecutive nod for Album of the Year, this time for his 2011 No. 1 album "Chief", in the 48th annual Academy of Country Music Awards.

He was also nominated for Single Record and Song of the Year for "Springsteen", which became his second No. 1 single last year, and for Video of the Year for "Creepin'".

Newcomer Hunter Hayes garnered six nominations, including New Male Vocalist of the Year and Video of the Year for "Wanted," while favorites Miranda Lambert and country-pop star Taylor Swift received five nods each.

Swift received her fourth consecutive nomination for Entertainer of the Year. If she wins, it will the 23-year-old singer's third consecutive claim to that title which is decided by country fans' voting.

Swift is nominated for the sixth time for Female Vocalist of the Year and for the fourth time for Video of the Year for "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."

Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan will co-host the annual award ceremony in Las Vegas on April 7. (Reporting by Vernell Hackett, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)