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Amanda Hensel

If a passion for music and a knack for writing make a career, then color Amanda Hensel lucky. She is the product of writers -- apparently, when you add two news journalists together you get one music journalist. She currently resides in 'the live music capital of the world,' where she snagged a Journalism degree from the University of Texas. Although she's grounded in Austin, Hensel's name travels -- in her short career she has cited her passion writing for AOL Music Blog, Fringe Magazine, the Houston Press and various other publications.

Kelleigh Bannen, Luke Bryan
Kelleigh Bannen Official Website / Josh Lowe for Taste of Country
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Kelleigh Bannen vs. Luke Bryan – The Showdown

Kelleigh Bannen plowed past songs from the Lost Trailers and D. Vincent Williams on Taste of Country Nights radio this week with her debut single 'Sorry on the Rocks.' Will her wins be enough to help her take on big-leaguer Luke Bryan in the Showdown?

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Kelleigh Bannen, D. Vincent Williams
Kelleigh Bannen, D. Vincent Williams
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Kelleigh Bannen vs. D. Vincent Williams – The Showdown

Sure, Kelleigh Bannen is a newcomer, but she's proven that she's ready to make an impact on country music. 'Sorry on the Rocks,' the new single from the determined EMI Nashville signee, made no apologies as it took down the Lost Trailers in yesterday's Taste of Country Showdown. Today and tonight, Bannen and her song will attempt victory against D. Vincent Williams here and on Taste of Country Nights radio.

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Eli Young Band Mike Eli
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
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Eli Young Band’s Mike Eli and Wife Welcome Baby Girl

A baby girl has officially joined Eli Young Band's brood. Frontman Mike Eli and his wife, Kacey, welcomed Kline Olivia Diaz on Monday (July 30) in Dallas. The little girl, who is the first child for the couple, weighed in at 6 lbs. and 15 oz. She was expected to arrive in August.

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Jake Owen, Reba McEntire, Kenny Chesney
Rick Diamond / Michael Buckner / Kevin Winter, Getty Images
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Best Smile in Country – Readers Poll

The only thing better than watching your favorite country stars live in concert is watching them enjoy themselves as they perform, a sparking set of pearly whites glimmering from the stage, nearly blinding you. Plenty of country's biggest names were blessed with great smiles -- they are famous after all -- but who has the best smile in country?

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Lauren Alaina, Jana Kramer
Frederick Breedon / Michael Loccisano, Getty Images
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Lauren Alaina vs. Jana Kramer – The Showdown

Lauren Alaina has done it again. Though her name has only been 'household' for a year, the 17-year-old country starlet has proven that she's worth a second listen. Now that she's beaten both Jason Aldean and Trace Adkins in the Showdown, she's looking for a third. Will she get another spin on Taste of Country Nights radio?

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Miranda Lambert, Scotty McCreery, Carrie Underwood
Rick Diamond / Jason Merritt / Graham Denholm, Getty Images
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Best Under 30 – Readers Poll

Sure, age is just a number, but you have to admit that it's pretty impressive when young singers turn into country music superstars before they're old enough to drink, buy cigarettes, have kids and be considered 'mature adults.' Who do you think is the best country under the age of 30?

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Lauren Alaina, Trace Adkins
Rick Diamond / Mike Coppola, Getty Images
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Lauren Alaina vs. Trace Adkins – The Showdown

The naysayers were put in their rightful place after a heated battle on Taste of Country Nights radio on Wednesday. Lauren Alaina 'inched' by Jason Aldean to win the Taste of Country Showdown by less than 40 votes and just 1 percent -- but it was a win nonetheless. With him out of the way, Alaina's new single 'Eighteen Inches' takes on a fresh competitor in Trace Adkins' latest fan favorite, 'Them Lips (On Mine).'

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Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images
Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images
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Kristin Chenoweth Rushed to Hospital After On-Set Injury

Kristin Chenoweth was rushed to the hospital after being injured while on the set of CBS' series 'The Good Wife' on Wednesday afternoon. According to reports, the multi-talented country singer and actress was struck by a large piece of lighting equipment, which was pushed into her by a gust of wind. Chenoweth was knocked to the ground and hit her head on then concrete.

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Luke Bryan National Anthem
Twitter
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Did Luke Bryan Read the National Anthem Lyrics Off His Hand at the MLB All-Star Game?

Country fans who were excited to watch Luke Bryan sing the National Anthem at the 2012 MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday night were left feeling confused by the end of his rendition. Without fail, the 'Drunk on You' singer hit all the notes and impressed baseball fans inside Kauffman Stadium -- but those watching closely at home noticed that the singer appeared to be reading something, like the lyrics to the song, from his palm as he sang.

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