It was girls’ night out at the Academy of Country Music Awards as Carrie Underwood became only the seventh female to capture entertainer of the year honors since the award was first introduced in 1970.
“I accepted that award on behalf of myself and my fans, but also on behalf of other women who came before me that kicked butt but never got the recognition they deserved,” Underwood said at Sunday’s ceremony. “I can’t wait [for] the day, which I hope is in the very near future, where having females in the category is no big deal whatsoever.”
Underwood’s win also snapped Kenny Chesney’s four-year win streak in the category. The last time a female artist won in the category was in 2000 when the Dixie Chicks prevailed.
Underwood, the Season 4 American Idol champ also repeated as top female vocalist, but was bested in album of the year by Taylor Swift for her triple-platinum disc Fearless. The 19-year-old was also presented with an ACM Crystal Milestone Award by host Reba McEntire for bringing so many young people to country music.
Earlier in the evening, Julianne Hough was named top new artist — voted by fans — and had a slight wardrobe malfunction on stage. “It’s a good thing my dress ripped — now I have something else to think about!” she said.
Other winners included Braid Paisley, who was named male artist for the third straight year, Jamey Johnson, Rascal Flatts, Trace Adkins and Sugarland, who became the first artist in 14 years to dethrone Brooks & Dunn for the top vocal duo award.
Brooks & Dunn opened the show with a medley featuring Swift, Sugarland, Underwood and Rascal Flatts. Underwood also took to the stage, as well as Miley Cyrus, George Strait and Adkins.
Tim McGraw was scheduled to perform, but pulled out due to a “major disagreement” with the show’s producers, his rep said.
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