Miranda Tops ACMs

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You could consider the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, held Sunday (April 3) in Las Vegas, to be Miranda Lambert's wedding shower. Miranda, who will marry the show's co-host Blake Shelton next month, was the night's top winner, taking home trophies for Female Vocalist, Single, Song and Video of the Year. Her powerful "The House That Built Me" was the most-awarded song of the night.

"I’m still excited from last year," Miranda said backstage. "I expected to just come to the ACMs in 2011 and just chill and be happy to be there, since last year was so awesome. I feel so humbled. I can’t even express how blessed I feel. I’m so grateful to my fans and my peers for everything."

Meanwhile, Taylor Swift took the night's top award, the fan-voted Entertainer of the Year. "It’s just the biggest thing in the world to me because my heroes won that award," Taylor said backstage. "To have such amazing artists take me under their wing like Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban . . . these are all people I opened for. And George Strait. And then you look back to Shania Twain and Garth Brooks, the people I’m absolutely in awe of. I see those people and think 'entertainer.' The fact that I’d be mentioned in the same breath . . . is mind-blowing to me"

Lady Antebellum, the trio made up of Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood, was named Top Vocal Group and scored Album honors for Need You Now.

Brad Paisley was named Top Male Vocalist, making him a a five-time winner in the category. " I thought Blake was awesome [as a host]," Brad told reporters. "I think he’s probably got a permanent gig . . . he’s a natural. I really expected for him to win this tonight and I would have been very happy if he had. We’re actually going out on tour this summer. After I won, he grabbed me and said, ‘I ain’t goin’.”

Zac Brown Band and Alan Jackson took home the Vocal Event award for "As She's Walking Away."

The show, which originated from the MGM Grand Garden Arena, was jam-packed with performances. Brad Paisley opened the show with "Old Alabama" and was soon joined onstage by Alabama members Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook.

Carrie Underwood rocked the stage with Steven Tyler of Aerosmith on a stunning medley of "Undo It" and "Walk This Way." James Taylor joined Zac Brown Band on a stirring rendition of "Colder Weather," which also featured a nod to James' "Sweet Baby James."

Meanwhile, Top Vocal Duo winner Sugarland hosted the concurrent ACM Fan Jam at the nearby Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. That venue hosted performances by Top New Artist nominees Eric Church and The Band Perry, who netted the fan-voted award. "We’re just so grateful that this is the first award we ever get to accept, so it seems appropriate that it’s fan-voted," Kimberly Perry said.

Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland partnered with R&B star Rhianna for "California King Bed" on the Mandalay Bay stage.

Other performance highlights included Darius Rucker performing with a group of disabled adults on the MGM stage. "They couldn’t have asked me to do anything cooler than what I did tonight," Darius said. "Tonight was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life."

Meanwhile, Ronnie Dunn's solo debut on "Bleed Red" drew a standing ovation.

Co-hosts Reba McEntire and Blake played well off each other, and each host’s sense of comedic timing proved the perfect complement to their counterpart’s.

Read more about the 2011 ACM Awards:
Complete list of 2011 ACM Awards Nominees and Winners
See Photos of 2011 ACM Awards Red Carpet

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