Carrie Underwood wins country music's top award

Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:28am EDT
 
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By Dan Whitcomb

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Carrie Underwood was named country music's top entertainer for the second year in a row on Sunday and Miranda Lambert won three awards, including best album, as the two young women ruled the once male-dominated Academy of Country Music Awards.

Underwood, a small-town Oklahoma girl who first shot to fame only five years ago on TV's "American Idol," became the first woman to win Entertainer of the Year twice -- firmly taking her place among country music's greats.

She was also given a special Triple Crown award for having already won three top awards -- new artist, female vocalist and entertainer of the year -- during her short career.

"Thank you God, praise the Lord," an exuberant Underwood, 27, said from the stage at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas during a show broadcast live on CBS and hosted by Reba McEntire. "Thank you country music, God bless you country music."

Underwood's win comes just months after 20-year-old Taylor Swift was named entertainer of the year at the rival Country Music Awards, and she said backstage that it was a big night for women in country music.

"It's not just (Taylor and I), it's Miranda, she was all over the place tonight, and Reba who always continues to show us how it's done," Underwood said. "There are many beautiful, strong, extremely talented women making headlines left and right and I'm just so honored to be with them."

'THANKS FOR LOVING IT'

Lady Antebellum also had a lot to celebrate, winning top vocal group to snap a seven-year streak by Rascal Flatts. The Nashville-based trio's huge crossover hit "Need You Now," which spent five weeks at the top of the Billboard country chart, won for both best song and best single.   Continued...

 
<p>Carrie Underwood poses with her Entertainer of the Year award and the Triple Crown award at the 45th annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada April 18, 2010. REUTERS/Steve Marcus</p>