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Published: Thursday, 11/10/2011

CMA names Swift entertainer of year

Shelton top male vocalist, wife top female singer

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Taylor Swift performs "Ours" during the 45th Annual CMA Awards in Nashville, Tenn. Taylor Swift performs "Ours" during the 45th Annual CMA Awards in Nashville, Tenn.
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NASHVILLE — Taylor Swift is the Country Music Association's entertainer of the year.

Swift leaped from her seat with her arms in the air and jumped up and down before hugging her mother and her good friend Tim McGraw.

Swift won the award for the second time. The international crossover sensation who has sold more than 20 million albums by the age of 21 also won the CMA's top honor in 2009.

Swift becomes the second woman to win entertainer of the year twice at the CMAs, joining Barbara Mandrell.

In other top honors, Blake Shelton was named the top male vocalist. His wife, Miranda Lambert, won the trophy as top female vocalist.

Earlier in the evening, a melancholy song about dying young helped the rising star siblings who make up The Band Perry to three trophies.

Country music's biggest night started with unexpected appearances by Hank Williams, Jr., Barbie dolls of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, and plenty of crossover appeal. But it was Kimberly Perry's poignant song "If I Die Young" that was everyone's focus. The trio won song and single of the year and best new artist.

"It's just always felt like a song that was meant to be here," Perry said as she was flanked by brothers and bandmates Reid and Neil Perry. "I was so excited to have a pen and paper in hand when it was ready to come to Earth."

Jason Aldean won his first major CMA award, taking album of the year for My Kinda Party, a platinum-seller. It included "Don't You Wanna Stay," his duet with Kelly Clarkson, which won musical event of the year.

Shelton and Kenny Loggins opened the show with a high-energy version of Loggins' hit "Footloose," quickly establishing a crossover theme for what is a very eclectic night.

Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter continued that trend when they won video of the year for their steamy You and Tequila.

And Lady Antebellum took its third straight award for vocal group of the year.

Lionel Richie performed duets from his new country album with Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker, and Little Big Town.

Sugarland won vocal duo of the year for the fifth straight time.

Gregg Allman joined fellow Peach State natives Zac Brown Band on "Georgia on my Mind," Natasha Bedingfield, in a dress that featured a fluffy red skirt, joined Rascal Flatts on stage to perform their duet "Easy," and that was just the start of genre shuffling.

Williams appeared during the opening skit with hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, who lampooned his recent troubles with ESPN and his Monday Night Football theme song.



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