It was ladies night at the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, held Sunday night, April 3rd, in Las Vegas, as the girls -- plus Lady Antebellum -- walked off with all the top prizes. Taylor Swift captured the ACM's Entertainer of the Year top trophy for the very first time, and the surprised superstar said at the podium, "This is the first time that I've ever won this, and I am just losing my mind!" Noting that the award was fan-voted, she added, "The fact that his from the fans makes it so beautiful..you are the best thing that has ever happened to me. Thank you so much!" In addition to winning the top award, Taylor also debuted her new single "Mean" during the telecast, while playing banjo, and received a standing ovation.
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But it was really Miranda Lambert's night overall. She took home the Top Female Vocalist trophy, as well as the Single, Song and Video of the Year awards for "The House that Built Me." While accepting Female Vocalist, Miranda said, "I thank God for giving me the blessing of living my dream." On top of her wins, Miranda also performed her new single, "Heart Like Mine" and -- oh yeah -- her fiance Blake Shelton co-hosted the show. In fact, he announced that in five weeks, he and Miranda would be starting their life together as a married couple and, as he put it, "ending our current life as wedding planners." He added that he wasn't actually doing the planning -- "I'm just the guy who stands around and does this," he explained -- while throwing wads of cash all over the stage and screaming, "Take it! Take it all!"
As for Lady Antebellum, they took home the awards for Album of the Year and Top Vocal Group. When Lady A went up to accept Album of the Year, Charles Kelley quipped, "Thank you, Miranda, for winning this last year and not being in the category this year -- that really helps a lot!" When they went up to accept Vocal Group from presenters Donny & Marie Osmond, Charles exclaimed, "I'm sharing the stage with the Osmonds, mom! Pretty cool!"
However, the show was really all about the live performances. In fact, the first award wasn't handed out until a whopping 50 minutes into the telecast. And there were plenty of big "moments" for the fans -- Carrie Underwood teamed up with American Idol judge Steven Tyler to sing her song "Undo It" and then his band Aerosmith's song "Walk This Way," to the delight of the crowd. Pop superstar Rihanna, sporting a bright red pixie cut, sang her song "California King Bed" with Jennifer Nettles -- and was completely dominated by the Sugarland vocalist, we might add. The Zac Brown Band teamed up with the legendary James Taylor, an influence on countless modern country artists, for a duet on their song "Colder Weather" and Taylor's classic "Sweet Baby James." Cue another standing O. And Brad Paisley opened the show with his song "Old Alabama," and was joined by -- who else? -- Alabama. Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook took the stage to add in a bit of their own classic, "Mountain Music."
Speaking of Brad Paisley, he took home the Top Male Vocalist award for the fifth straight year, and nobody was more surprised than he. He said, "I'm honestly shocked...this is way too many of these for me." His list of thank-yous even included his dog. Other winners included Zac Brown Band for Vocal Event of the Year, The Band Perry for Top New Artist, and Sugarland for Top Vocal Duo.
What did the big winners have to say backstage? Find out here.
Here are some other show highlights:
--Blake Shelton opened the show performing his song "Who Are You When I'm Not Looking" acoustically in what looked like a fancy, candle-lit hotel suite, decorated with pictures of Miranda. He approached a chaise longue where a blonde woman wearing a white dress was reclining, but we only saw her from the back. She was revealed to be co-host Reba, who tore off her blonde wig and said, "That's enough rehearsal for your wedding night! We've got a show to do!"
--At the top of the show, Reba told the audience that she and Blake had made a pact not to do any Charlie Sheen jokes, any Lindsay Lohan jokes, or any jokes about celebrity scandals. "So," they continued, "....goodnight everybody!" Later on in the show, Blake did remark that the MGM Grand, where the ceremony was held, was so huge it would take Charlie Sheen 12 years to trash every room in the place. When Reba reminded him they'd promised not to make any Charlie Sheen jokes, Blake responded, "It's not a joke!" As for celebrity scandals, Miley Cyrus didn't escape a swipe -- Blake said Eric Church's song "Smoke a Little Smoke" was inspired by her. And when Reba noted that Carrie Underwood's hockey star husband was traded to Nashville this past year, Blake said, "You know who else traded husbands this year? LeAnn Rimes!"
--Darius Rucker performed a song written by Chris Young, Brett James and a group of developmentally disabled people from the ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp, which takes place each summer in Nashville. The song was called "Music from the Heart." The campers joined Darius onstage to sing it, earning a standing ovation.
--Martina McBride debuted her new single "Teenage Daughters," as pictures of her own daughters were shown behind her. Ronnie Dunn gave his first major award show performance as a solo artist, singing "Bleed Red," while Sara Evans got a huge response to her new single, "A Little Big Stronger."
--Dierks Bentley started his performance of his song "Am I the Only One" backstage. As he sang, he walked onto the stage, continued singing for a bit, and then ran off the stage and up the stairs into the audience, finishing the song from there.
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Here are the winners from Sunday night's ACM Awards:
Entertainer of the Year
Top Male Vocalist
Top Female Vocalist
Album of the Year
Lady Antebellum, Need You Now
Top Vocal Duo
Top Vocal Group
Single of the Year
Miranda Lambert, "The House that Built Me"
Song of the Year
Miranda Lambert, "The House that Built Me"
Video of the Year
"The House that Built Me," Miranda Lambert
Vocal Event of the Year
Zac Brown Band and Alan Jackson, "As She's Walking Away"
Top New Artist
The Band Perry
Image: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
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