Taylor Swift dominates the CMA Awards

, Staff

The 2009 Country Music Association (CMA) Awards were all about country-pop sensation Taylor Swift. The 19-year old superstar was nominated for four awards and won each, including the top prize of Entertainer of the Year.

Swift won the top prize by taking down a very strong set of nominees including Brad Paisley, George Strait, Keith Urban and four-time reigning winner Kenny Chesney. She is the youngest performer to ever win the honor and the first female to win since Shania Twain in 1999. “I’ll never forget this moment,” an emotional Swift said while accepting the award, “because at this moment everything that I have ever wanted just happened to me.” In addition to Entertainer of the Year, Swift won Female Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year for Fearless and Music Video of the Year for “Love Story.” Earlier in the night, she joked about her incident with Kanye West at the MTV VMAs by saying, “And I want to thank everybody in the room tonight for not running up on the stage during my speech.”

Swift four wins lead the way at the 43rd annual CMA Awards, a night that marked a major transition for the industry as a new generation of artists dominated the awards. Lady Antebellum won “Vocal Group of the Year”, bringing Rascal Flatts six-year winning streak to an end. The trio also won Single of the Year for “I Run To You.” New Artist of the Year, which Lady Antebellum won last year, went to Darius Rucker. In his emotional acceptance speech, the former Hootie & the Blowfish frontman thanked country music fans “for accepting me. And most importantly, to country radio, you took a chance on a pop singer from Charleston, S.C., and God bless y’all for that.”” The diverse wave of new winners continued with Jamey Johnson who took home Song of the Year for “In Color”.

There was a little familiarity when Sugarland picked up their third consecutive Vocal Duo of the Year Award and Paisley won Male Vocalist of the Year. He and Urban also Musical Event of the Year for their collaborative effort “Start A Band.” Veteran Mac McAnally, a frequent sideman to Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney, repeated as Musician of the Year.

Paisley and fellow country superstar Carrie Underwood hosted the three event at Nashville’s Sommet Center. The two worked together well and brought good humor to the event, beyond Underwood’s marathon of wardrobe changes (9 total).

Most of the show featured performances from country’s best. Swift opened the show with “Forever and Always” and later in teh night returned to play an acoustic rendition of “Fifteen” on side stage.” The Zac Brown Band thrilled with an awesome cover of the Charlie Daniels Band’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” but the night’s most memorable moments came with a handful of unique collaborations. Johnson and Kid Rock sang “Between Jennings and Jones”, Brooks & Dunn was aided by ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons on “Honky Tonk Stomp”, Vince Gill joined Daughtry on “Tennessee Line” (a collaboration featured on the rockers new album, Leave This Town), and Chesney and Dave Matthews performed “I’m Alive” (which is featured on Chesney’s 2008 release, Lucky Old Sun). Martina McBride was joined by Strait during her tribute to Barbara Mandrell, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year, as the two sang Mandrell’s “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool.”

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