Sunday night’s American Music Awards were so full of incredible performances — from Lady Gaga’s liberal use of pyrotechnics to Adam Lambert’s sexy display — that the actual awards given out seemed almost secondary. Still, the night’s biggest upset probably belonged to country act Gloriana, who beat out Gaga (as well as R&B star Keri Hilson and rising hip-hop star Kid Cudi) for the Breakthrough Artist award.
The country group formed in 2008 when brothers Tom and Mike Gossin teamed up with singer and solo artist Cheyenne Kimball (who had first grabbed headlines as the winner of “America’s Most Talented Kid” in 2002). Though the Gossin brothers are from Utica, New York, they relocated to Wilmington, North Carolina, to kickstart Gloriana. Once the band recruited Rachel Reinert (whom they discovered via MySpace), they began working on songs and ended up teaming up with producer Matt Serletic (Matchbox Twenty, Edwin McCain), who co-wrote their first single, “Wild at Heart.”
The song was the highest-selling country debut single of this year and landed them a spot as the opening act on Taylor Swift’s Fearless tour. The group’s self-titled debut album came out on Serletic’s Emblem Records label back in August, where it debuted at #3 on the Billboard albums chart and sold 44,000 albums. They’ll no doubt get another chart boost from their exposure on Sunday’s show.
Gloriana are currently preparing for a month-long tour of their own before they re-join Swift on the road beginning next March.