Taylor Swift won video of the year and female video for her smash “Our Song” while newcomer Kellie Pickler took home three awards during Monday’s Country Music Television awards. “I wrote that song in the 9th grade for a talent show,” said the 18-year-old Swift, who won the night’s top honor over Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley and Sugarland.
“I never thought it would be on an album, never thought I’d record it, never thought it would be a single, never thought it would be No. 1 and certainly never thought it would win video and female video of the year.”
Pickler, 21, won breakthrough video, tearjerker video and performance of the year for “I Wonder,” a song about a daughter’s feelings for her mother that she says connects deeply with fans. Like Carrie Underwood, Pickler is a former “American Idol” contestant.
“Thank you ‘American Idol,’ you are the rocket that launched my career,” Pickler said from Scottsdale, Ariz.
Paula Abdul, who introduced Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s performance of “I Need You,” remarked, “There are so many ‘American Idol’ alum here that I feel this is a reunion and I’m a proud mom.”
Trace Adkins won best male video for “I Got My Game On.” Adkins was something of a surprise winner, topping videos by Chesney, Paisley, Toby Keith and Keith Urban.
“I’m having a good year. So far it’s been great. I never felt the support from the fans like I do this year,” said Adkins, who recently finished second on NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
LeAnn Rimes and Bon Jovi won best collaborative video for the steamy video “Till We Ain’t Strangers Anymore.” Rimes, who accepted the award without Bon Jovi, cracked, “I had a lot of fun rolling around with Jon in bed.” Then she looked over at her husband in the crowd and added, “Sorry, honey. I love you. You’re hotter.”
The show was hosted by “Hannah Montana” star Miley Cyrus and her father, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus. The pair performed their duet “Ready, Set, Don’t Go.” During their opening segment, Billy Ray Cyrus joked about his daughter’s popularity.
“I know what’s going on here, OK. I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday … it’s pretty obvious what you’re all doing. You’re just using Miley to get to me.”
Alison Krauss and former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant won wide open video for their duet “Gone, Gone, Gone (Done Moved On).”
“I’d like to say how peculiar it is to be here. It’s a great honor to have made a record in Nashville that sounds so good. I’d like to thank Don and Phil Everly for getting me through my teenage years, and I’d like to thank Alison for helping me get through my late 50s.”
Paisley’s “Online” won comedy video, while Sugarland’s “Stay” won duo video. The two were the most nominated artists of the night.
The show opened with a skit about Adkins trying to get tickets to the show and featured presidential candidates Barack Obama, John McCain and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Urban opened the musical portion with “Raise the Barn” and was joined by Brooks & Dunn.
Sugarland, Little Big Town and Jake Owen performed the ’80s hit “Life in a Northern Town” by the British folk rock group The Dream Academy.
Snoop Dog joined Jason Aldean to introduce Alan Jackson’s performance of “Good Time.” The rapper wore a black outfit and cowboy hat in honor of the late Johnny Cash, who he said was the inspiration for his single, “My Medicine.”
The fan-voted awards show aired live on CMT from Belmont University in Nashville.