Taylor Swift made history last night at the Country Music Awards, becoming the youngest artist ever to win the coveted entertainer of the year award. The 19-year-old singer also took home awards for best female vocalist, video of the year for “Love Story” and album of the year with Fearless. “In this moment, everything that I have ever wanted just happened to me,” Swift told the audience at Nashville’s Sonnet Center after winning the evening’s biggest prize.
But before her big win, Swift had to sit through a pair of the requisite Kanye West jokes courtesy of co-hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley. Swift also made light of her VMAs encounter with Kanye during one of her acceptance speeches: “And I want to thank everybody in the room tonight for not running up on the stage during my speech,” she said. Swift also kicked off the CMAs with a performance of “Forever and Always.”
The Country Music Awards has often served as a platform where rock and country meet, and last night’s ceremony didn’t disappoint as Kid Rock performed with Jamey Johnson, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons jammed with Brooks & Dunn — likely the duo’s last award show performance together before their impending break up — and Daughtry joined Vince Gill on stage for “Tennessee Line.” Another highlight featured Dave Matthews singing “I’m Alive” with Kenny Chesney.
A former rocker also made an impact on the CMA’s new artist award as ex-Hootie & the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker became the first black artist to win in that category. “To the fans, thank y’all for accepting me… you took a chance on a pop singer from Charleston, S.C., and God bless y’all for that,” Rucker told the audience. The night’s other winners included Lady Antebellum, who won both vocal group of the year and single of the year for “I Run to You” and Brad Paisley, who was awarded best male vocalist and split the musical event of the year prize with Keith Urban for “Start a Band.” Check out CMT for the rest of the Country Music Awards highlights.