NASHVILLE, Tenn (Reuters) - Kenny Chesney grabbed the lead with nine award nominations on Thursday from the Academy of Country Music, which hands out its prizes on April 1 in Las Vegas.

Jason Aldean was the runner-up with six nods and trio Lady Antebellum had five.

Chesney will have plenty of competition for the fan-voted Entertainer of the Year trophy from nominees Aldean, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton and last year's winner Taylor Swift.

Fans can vote for Entertainer of the Year and New Artist of the Year beginning on March 19. Voting for the top prize continues through the third hour of the live April 1 broadcast of the 47th edition of the awards show.

(Reporting By Vernell Hackett; Editing by Andrew Stern and Vicki Allen)