NASHVILLE (Billboard) - She wasn’t in the house, but former “American Idol” finalist Kellie Pickler was the top winner at the CMT Music Awards, held Monday in Nashville.
Pickler, who was committed to perform at a private show in Arizona, enjoyed a clean sweep in all three of her categories — breakthrough video, performance (for her handling of “I Wonder” on the 41st annual CMA Awards) and tearjerker video for the same song.
“This is the first thing I’ve ever won,” she told reporters via a conference call backstage at the Curb Event Center at Belmont University. “I’m here in this hotel room by myself. I feel like I should go out and run around the hotel.”
The CMT Music Awards aired on MTV Networks’ country music cable channel CMT.
Meanwhile, Pickler’s pal Taylor Swift took the night’s top honor, video of the year for “Our Song,” and was also named top female. “I want to thank MySpace and my fans for all the sites they have made for me,” Swift said in accepting.
Keith Urban opened the show with “Raise the Barn” featuring special guests Brooks & Dunn. The show was hosted by Billy Ray Cyrus and daughter Miley Cyrus, who also performed their recent hit, “Ready, Set, Don’t Go.”
Snoop Dogg, Bobby Brown, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh and Paula Abdul were among the out-of-genre artists who appeared on the show.
“There are so many ‘American Idol’ alumni here, I feel like this is a reunion and I’m their mom,” Abdul said from the stage.
He may not have come out on top on NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” but Trace Adkins won top male honors for “I Got My Game On.” Comedian Rodney Carrington took home a supporting character “buckle,” as the awards are known, for his appearance in Adkins’ video. “Isn’t like that one step above the guy who ate the most mashed potatoes?” Carrington wondered backstage.
Alison Krauss and Robert Plant won Wide Open Country Video for “Gone, Gone, Gone (Done Move On).”
“I’d like to thank (the song’s writers) Phil and Don Everly for getting me through my teenage years and I’d like to thank Alison for getting me through my late 50s,” Plant said after accepting the award.
Bon Jovi and LeAnn Rimes won collaborative video for “Till We Ain’t Strangers Anymore.” “I wish Jon were here tonight. I had a lot of fun rolling around with him in bed,” Rimes said in accepting the award. “I had no clothes on all night and I was freezing,” she added backstage.