CMT caught up with Swift on the red carpet of the event, and she opened up about being honored alongside fellow Nashville pals Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum and Brad Paisley.
"What I love about this event is it feels very low-key and fun and you can bring your friends, you sit at a table. It's very unlike any other award show," she said late last month at the taping in Music City. "Because you're not sitting there wondering who's going to win. There's no anxiety, because you know who's being honored, and it's all about hearing the way the music is presented by other artists. It's really exciting."
The All-American Rejects were picked to perform one of Taylor's tracks at the show, which airs on CMT at 9 p.m. ET tonight. For their homage to the country superstar, they decided to take one of her particularly country-tinged Speak Now singles and do it up AAR style.
"It's special. We have a special performance for Miss Taylor Swift," lead singer Tyson Ritter said. "We're performing her song 'Mean.' We definitely sort of took a country song and made it not anything like what it was. It's going to be a tribute to the fact that any song can stand in any genre, and we definitely brought it into ours. We're like the Osmonds, except we're the side that's a little more rock and roll."
Ritter went on to gush about Swift and her work ethic. "She's the real deal," he explained. "She doesn't take sh-- from anybody while she does it. And strong women, that's something to be feared and adored, right?"
Having the All-American Rejects put their stamp on a track is the opposite of whatSwift did on her Speak Now Tour. Stop after stop, she reimagined songs from artists like T.I., Flo Rida and Usher, with the artists themselves right by her side.
"I would sum up this past year as being a spontaneous, exciting, wonderful year of collaborations with artists I never expected would come up on my stage and perform for my fans," she explained. "I see flashbacks of stadium shows and Usher coming out on stage and James Taylor coming out onstage and all these different artists coming out and playing with me, which was an amazing time for me."
Don't miss CMT's Artists of the Year, premiering tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT.