|Nashville, TN --|
Taylor Swift won female video for "Our Song" and Rascal Flatts won group video of the year for "Take Me There" during Monday's Country Music Television awards.
"Are you serious? I can't even believe this," said Swift, 18, who won in a field that included Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, LeAnn Rimes and Miranda Lambert.
Kellie Pickler, 21, won breakthrough video for "I Wonder." Like Carrie Underwood, Pickler is a former "American Idol" contestant.
"Thank you 'American Idol,' you are the rocket that launched my career," Pickler said.
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."
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 John 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."
The show opened with a skit about Trace Adkins trying to get tickets to the show and featured presidential candidates Barack Obama, John McCain and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Keith 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."
Brad Paisley's "Online" led the list of nominees. "Online" was up for video of the year, male video of the year, comedy video and supporting character for actor Jason Alexander, who plays a nerdy character who fantasizes about being Paisley. The former "Seinfeld" star also directed the video.
Sugarland's "Stay" is nominated for video of the year, duo video and tearjerker video. The duo also is nominated for its performance of "Stay" during last year's show.
Underwood, Pickler, Kenny Chesney, Rimes, Rascal Flatts, Swift and Adkins all received three nominations apiece.
Director Shaun Silva has four nominations: One for video director of the year and three for his work on video of the year candidates "Stay," "Don't Blink" by Chesney and "Take Me There" by Rascal Flatts.
The fan-voted awards show aired live on CMT from Belmont University in Nashville.
American Idol News: Tugging Your Heartstrings
After going sour during the last vote-off show, American Idol is expected to hit the high notes this week.
Not only will the remaining seven contestants be mentored by Mariah Carey, but a special guest will be in the audience. David Cook's 36-year-old brother Adam (who's been diagnosed with brain cancer) made the trip from Indiana to Los Angeles despite his doctors' refusal to allow him to fly a commercial airline.
Backed by generous community members, Adam got an all expense paid trip to see his brother on a chartered medical jet. A local radio station gave Adam a hotel room -- just across the street from the studio where the AI contestants perform.
Perhaps it will be a chance for Ryan Seacrest to redeem himself in the eyes of many AI viewers.
I know it's totally a very serious, precious family moment, but...
American Idol producers would be crazy not to give Ryan a moment to become "human again." Thousands of viewers voiced their outrage last Thursday after Ryan told contestant, Michael Johns that he had the least amount of votes and sent him packing. View image
Ryan caught Michael and his supporters by surprise when he made the comment that during last year's Idol Gives Back they didn't vote anyone off. However, in the same breath told him -- "but tonight we're going to say goodbye to Michael Johns." Gasp!
Who (like Michael) thought he was being punked and would be spared on charity week?
17.8 million viewers tuned in on Wednesday night for the two and a half hour Idol Gives Back event. Viewership was down 35% from last year. More than $60 million dollars have already been donated to the foundation's six charities to help poverty-stricken young people survive.
Other than a direct donation online or by phone, there are other ways you can help the cause.
American Idol winners will be featured on a postage stamp -- with net proceeds going to Idol Gives Back. Each Tuesday for the next six weeks, a different idol winner (including this year's winner) will be featured on first class stamps. Season one's Kelly Clarkson has a collection of four different images out right now. A sheet of 20 will cost you $19.99. A limited two thousand sheets will be printed for each state.
Exclusively on iTunes, by downloading audio and video tracks of Idol Gives Back, all net proceeds will go to the organization.
Mariah Carey lent her voice to close the star-studded show last Wednesday and raise money for Idol Gives Back. She's giving back to the show this week too -- by working with the contestants.
Mariah's anticipated 11th studio album, E=MC2 is out in stores Tuesday! (What timing!)
The diva needs four number one hits -- to break the record for the most number one singles. Currently, the Beatles hold that title with 20 number one singles. Right now, Mariah has 17 and is tied with Elvis.