Taylor Swift, Darius Rucker win big at 2009 Country Music Awards

Associated Press
Thursday, November 12, 2009

NASHVILLE -- Taylor Swift made history at the Country Music Awards on Wednesday night, becoming the youngest person to win entertainer of the year.

The tearful 19-year-old -- who led all performers with four awards, including album of the year -- cried as she accepted her trophy and said, "I will never forget this moment." No woman had won the award since Shania Twain in 1999.

Swift thanked the fans for their support of "Fearless," the top-selling album of the year. She also won video of the year for "Love Story." "You guys, this album is my diary and so to all the people who voted for me, this is a thank-you for saying you love my diary because that's the nicest compliment," Swift told the audience.

Across all genres, Swift is this year's No. 2 music artist in sales -- trailing only Michael Jackson.

Darius Rucker became the first black singer to win the CMA new artist of the year award, joining Charley Pride as the only African American to win a major individual CMA award. Rucker, whose first country album, "Learn to Live," sold more than 1 million copies, took the stage and shouted, "What a year!"

Lady Antebellum won awards for vocal group and single of the year. The win in vocal group ended Rascal Flatts' six-year dominance in that category. Jamey Johnson, along with James Otto and Lee Thomas Miller, won song of the year for "In Color."

"I think that you can't help but talk about Taylor Swift when you talk about modern country music," Otto said. "People talk about pop country or country pop. Whatever brings more fans to country music I'm all for."

Co-hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood opened the show with a few new songs of their own, skewering Kanye West for his interruption of Swift's MTV Video Music Awards win -- singing, "Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be Kanye" -- and lamenting the breakup of Brooks & Dunn.

Later in the show, telecast on ABC, country novelty singer Little Jimmy Dickens interrupted Paisley after Underwood told him that "Welcome to the Future" was one her favorite videos.

"Excuse me, sir, excuse me. I'll let you finish later. Now, Brad Paisley, I know you had a nice video, but . . . Taylor Swift made the best video in her time. You go, girl," the diminutive Dickens said, goofing on West, who famously took the stage during Swift's acceptance speech to say that Beyoncé deserved Swift's prize.

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