As the only girl in an all-male category, Taylor Swift faced some long odds to win her second consecutive Entertainer of the Year awards at Sunday night's 47th annual Academy of Country Music Awards ceremony.
But the 22-year-old proudly became just the second woman to pull off the double play in the fan-voted category, and she told the crowd, "I'm so happy about this ... I want to say to my fellow nominees in this category, I respect you so much and I love you."
Swift had to attend the ceremony solo, though, as the New Jersey teenage cancer victim who scored a date with the singer to the show was hospitalized over the weekend. According to a Facebook post, 18-year-old Kevin McGuire — who had tried to invite Swift to his prom — was admitted to the hospital on Friday night. Swift tweeted some well-wishes to her date, writing, "Just talked to Kevin McGuire ... He's not well enough to join me at the ACMs. Please keep him in your thoughts. I'll make it up to you, Kevin!"
Country's new "it" couple, "The Voice" coach and singer Blake Shelton and wife Miranda Lambert, also won big. addition to co-hosting the show, he snagged Male Vocalist of the Year and she earned Female Vocalist and Album of the Year for Four the Record. It was her third Album of the Year win, which ties her with such legends as Alabama and George Strait in the category. "I own every record in this category and I've been listening and listening, thinking I'm not going to get it," she said. "Every record is amazing, and I'm so thrilled. I will never take this trophy for granted. My albums are my babies."
Speaking of reality singing shows, last year's "American Idol" winner, boggy-voiced country crooner Scotty McCreery, was named New Artist of the Year, while the original "Idol," Kelly Clarkson, snagged two ACMs thanks to her hook-up with Jason Aldean on "Don't You Wanna Stay." The pair picked up Single Record of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year for their duet.
According toThe Associated Press, the show included a big helping of performances, including Carrie Underwood's fiery opening, during which she rocked a magenta and black dress minidress with fringe to sing her new single, "Good Girl." There were also a number of unexpected visits from rock and hip-hop stars, with U2 singer Bono introducing Dierks Bentley and Kiss presenting an award to Lady Antebellum while wearing their full stage makeup.
LL Cool J was on hand to give a shout-out to veterans alongside Keith Urban; comedian and banjo aficionado Steve Martin hooked up with Rascal Flatts following a tribute to recently departed bluegrass icon Earl Scruggs; and Train singer Pat Monahan joined Martin McBride to help a New Jersey couple get married on the show's stage to the strains of Train's "Marry Me." The performance-heavy broadcast also featured a visit from "Two and a Half Men" star Ashton Kutcher, who slapped on a cowboy hat and sang a George Strait song before giving Lambert her Female Vocalist of the Year trophy.