Blake Shelton dominates Country Music awards

Fri Nov 2, 2012 12:15am EDT
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By Vernell Hackett

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) - Blake Shelton dominated the Country Music Association awards on Thursday, taking home three trophies, including the coveted entertainer of the year prize, on country music's biggest night.

Shelton, 36, whose popularity has rocketed since he became a judge in 2011 on the TV singing contest "The Voice," also won male vocalist of the year for a third time.

Shelton shared song of the year honors with his wife, Miranda Lambert, for the emotional ballad "Over You", while Lambert took home the female vocalist prize, also for the third time.

Shelton looked stunned as he accepted the biggest award of the night, beating out recent arrivals Jason Aldean, country-pop crossover sensation Taylor Swift and veterans Brad Paisley and Kenny Chesney. He has not released an album since "Red River Blue" in July 2011.

"Man! Entertainer of the year? What are you talking about?" he said. "I know I am not out there on the road as much. I don't know how this happened. I freaking love it though."

"I know I have a side job," he said, referring to his TV gig, "but country music is still what I love doing."

Swift, who won entertainer of the year last year and in 2009, and Aldean both came away empty-handed. Eric Church, who went into Thursday's awards show with a leading five nominations, went home with one award - album of the year for "Chief."

"I spent a lot of my career wondering where I fit in - country or rock? I want to thank you guys for giving me somewhere to hang my hat," said Church, 35, sporting a baseball cap and sunglasses.   Continued...

Blake Shelton accepts the award for entertainer of the year at the 46th Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, November 1, 2012. REUTERS/Harrison McClary