Lambert, Lady Antebellum sweep Country Music Awards

“It ain’t hip to sing about tractors, trucks or little towns — but this is country music, and we do.”

That’s what Brad Paisley sang Wednesday night at the 44th Annual Country Music Awards, and he could not be more right. Hosted for the third time in a row by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, this time in Las Vegas, the program remained buoyant as the two hosts kept jokes cracking with musical humor, singing about anything from the floods in Nashville to Lady Gaga.

Miranda Lambert stole the show, winning four out of her nine nominations including Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Music Video of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year.

Lady Antebellum came in second, winning two out of its six nominations including Single of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year.

Highlights included Taylor Swift’s dramatic performance of her new song “Back to December.” The song ended on an oddly humorous note, as she looked a little confused, mouthing “What?” before the curtain came down.

Another highlight was Lambert and Sheryl Crow’s duet of “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” sung as a moving tribute to the country legend and the first woman entertainer of the year, Loretta Lynn.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow, a newcomer to country music, received a warm welcome when performing a song from her upcoming movie Country Strong.  Although she lacked the vocal power to really make the song work, she kept in tune and had plenty of style and heart.

Brad Paisley closed up the awards ceremony, tearfully accepting an award for Entertainer of the Year.