LAS VEGAS — Carrie Underwood made history at the Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday night, becoming the first woman to win entertainer of the year twice.
Underwood won the show’s top honor last year. This year, she beat out Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, the Zac Brown Band, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, George Strait and Keith Urban.
Top-selling trio Lady Antebellum were the dominant winners, grabbing five trophies, including song and single record of the year for crossover hit “Need You Now.”
“We are having a blast tonight,” singer Charles Kelly told the crowd at the MGM Grand after win No. 4. “We love you all. We will never forget this night.”
Miranda Lambert had three trophies on the night. She beat Lady A’s self-titled debut for album of the year with “Revolution.” It was the second time she won the honor; her “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” won album of the year in 2007.
Paisley, after a performance of his single “Water” where he fell backwards into a pool of water on stage, won top male vocalist of the year for the fourth consecutive time.
And Brooks &Dunn, who are retiring after a summer tour, won best vocal duo for the 10th time in their two-decade long career.
“We are currently in therapy with Brett Favre trying to figure out how to waffle on this,” Kix Brooks joked after the win.
The show, held at the MGM Grand, was heavy on performances. It kicked off with Carrie Underwood and Lambert, joined on stage later by Paisley, Charlie Daniels and John Fogerty, who ripped through a rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Travelin’ Band.”
“That’s how you start a television show, son!” shouted Daniels, who recently recovered from a stroke.
Swift began her performance of “Change” while soaring over the crowd on a platform. She ripped off her white dress and reveal a black outfit underneath, made her way through the crowd and joined the Tritones, a college co-ed a capella group on stage for a spirited chorus. She then fell backward into a crowd of fans.
The Zac Brown Band wasn’t able to make a show because of a USO tour in the Middle East. But the band sent video of a performance of “Chicken Fried” from overseas that included altered lyrics aimed at the military.
Keith hit an emotional note with a performance of “Cryin’ For Me (Wayman’s Song),” dedicated to his late friend, jazz artist and former basketball star Wayman Tisdale, who died last May.