Taylor Swift's dream year brings out naysayers

Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:10pm EST
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - At what may be the height of her early career, teen sensation Taylor Swift finds herself facing the downside of stardom -- naysayers.

The 19-year-old pop/country singer-songwriter heads in to Sunday's American Music Awards with a leading six nominations after a dream year of sold out concerts and the best-selling album in the United States.

Swift will compete Sunday against the late Michael Jackson for artist of the year, and is nominated for favorite female artist in the pop/rock, country and adult contemporary categories, along with favorite album for "Fearless".

But her higher profile, including becoming the youngest person to win the Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year award, has left her open to recent sniping by some music lovers who complain about her voice in live performances.

Just three years after releasing her first single, the pop/country singer-songwriter has struck an emotional chord with millions of fans for heart-felt songs like "Fifteen" and "You Belong With Me" about first loves, being an outsider and the perils of high school.

"I can't think of anyone else (in pop) music who inspires the level of passion in their fans on the scale she does right now," said Rob Brunner, music editor of Entertainment Weekly.

Still, that view is not shared by all and in recent weeks, her detractors seem to have raised their level of criticism just as Swift has seen her star soar into the stratosphere.

"Wobbly" and "embarrassingly weak" are some of the comments -- many from disgruntled fans of traditional country music -- found on web sites after recent live performances, including on television show "Saturday Night Live."   Continued...

<p>Singer Taylor Swift performs "Forever and Always" at the 43rd annual Country Music Association Awards in Nashville November 11, 2009. REUTERS/Tami Chappell</p>