All of the winners at Sunday night's ACM Awards stopped by the press room backstage, including the night's big winner, Miranda Lambert. She took four trophies, including Top Female Vocalist and Single, Song and Video of the Year for "The House That Built Me." Miranda won big at last year's show too, and so she didn't expect to win big again this year. "I'm just so humbled," she said. "I can't even express how blessed I feel, and I'm so thankful to my peers and to the fans for everything."
Miranda's fiancée, Blake Shelton, co-hosted the show with Reba, so Miranda took her publicity-shy brother Luke as her date. She says, "He's one of those people who's like, 'I don't want to talk on the red carpet, OK?'" Miranda did drag Luke into a few red carpet interviews, and says, "He's a great date."
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Taylor Swift won the night's top prize -- Entertainer of the Year. It was her first win in that fan-voted category at the ACMs, and she couldn't help but think about her heroes like Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Shania Twain and others who have won that award before at the big awards shows. "I see those people when I think of Entertainer," Taylor explains. "So, just the fact that I would even be kind of mentioned in the same breath of that word is really mind-blowing to me."
Taylor also got a standing ovation for performing her latest tune, "Mean," on the show. She says, "I think this year the ACMs was such an amazingly fun experience for me getting to perform a new song that is really fun to sing and to perform."
Brad Paisley picked up his fifth ACM Top Male Vocalist trophy Sunday night, but he really thought Blake Shelton was going to win it this year. Brad and Blake are going on tour together in the next few weeks, but Brad joked, "He grabbed me as soon as I walked offstage, and he said, 'I'm not going.'" In all seriousness, Brad thinks Blake and Reba did a great job hosting: "I think together they made a great team. He's a natural. I'm really proud."
Brad also opened the ACM broadcast singing "Old Alabama" with Country Music Hall of Fame members Alabama. "They're just the coolest band we've ever had, so I'm really proud to be an unofficial member for a little while," he declared.
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Lady Antebellum took Album of the Year for Need You Now, as well as Top Vocal Group. Lady A's Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood are big fans of everyone they were up against in the Album category. Speaking of winning that trophy, Charles says, "It's the ultimate for an artist. It's such a big, large body of work . You spend so much time, months and months on these things and to win Album of the Year. I mean, it's huge."
Charles also said it was very weird not to have Rascal Flatts nominated against them in the Top Vocal Group category. "They deserve to be in that category every year," he explains. "They're one of the biggest groups, if not the biggest group in country music."
Hillary was decked out in a lot of very nice jewelry, including a diamond ring curiously placed on her left ring finger. However, she insisted that it's not an engagement ring from her boyfriend Chris. Says Hillary, "Whenever you wear fancy jewelry like this, you just put it on the finger that fits, and this is the finger that it fit on."
Sugarland won Top Vocal Duo, and also brought the set from their Incredible Machine tour to Mandalay Bay for a performance via satellite on the ACMs. The duo's Kristian Bush explains, "You know, we try to make decisions here based on, if we're fans of music, what would we want if we were a fan. That's the filter that we run everything through, and we're just excited that the ACMs do the same thing."
Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles also teamed up with pop star Rihanna to sing the "California King Bed" on the show. "Country music is hip and it's cool and it's young and it's fresh, and I think her being here tonight is even more of a testimony to that," she says of Rihanna. Jennifer also sported a longer hairdo on the show thanks to some extensions. "There's no deeper, hidden message other than wanting to look glamorous and wanting to feel good about yourself and be able to have fun," Jennifer said of her new look.
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The Band Perry won their first major award Sunday night -- ACM Top New Artist. Lead singer Kimberly Perry plans to put the trophy on the mantle in her bedroom. Her brothers Neil and Reid are also putting their trophies in their bedrooms so they can see them when they go to sleep and wake up.
Zac Brown Band teamed up with James Taylor to perform a medley of their big hit "Colder Weather" and James's classic, "Sweet Baby James," which Zac says is one of James's most iconic tunes. Zac Brown and company reached out to James Taylor through mutual friend and dobro player Jerry Douglas, who plays with Alison Krauss & Union Station.
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