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Brad Paisley was named entertainer of the year Wednesday night at the Country Music Association Awards.
Paisley had never won the show’s biggest award despite being nominated every year since 2005 and winning a total of 13 CMAs since first being nominated in 2000.
He beat out Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum and the Zac Brown Band for the honor.
“My hero Little Jimmy Dickens has a saying: that is, if you see a turtle on a fencepost, it had help getting up there, and I’m the turtle on the fencepost at this point,” Paisley said in accepting the award.
The entertainer of the year category underwent something of a makeover this year as the CMA membership installed a new wave of performers in key categories, acknowledging a crossover trend that is bringing country music to more new ears than ever.
The long list of omissions in that category included Carrie Underwood and last year’s winner, Taylor Swift.
Meanwhile, Lambert’s Revolution won album of the year. The singer — who also celebrated her 27th birthday Wednesday — has been making frequent trips to awards-show podiums this year, as Revolution has now swept all the major country music awards.
“Revolution truly has caused a revolution in my life this year,” Lambert said after a long hug with fiancé and fellow country singer Blake Shelton.
Lambert also won video of the year earlier in the night. In addition, her song “The House That Built Me” won song of the year for songwriters Tom Douglas and Allan Shamblin.
Shelton also went home with awards of his own, including male vocalist of the year and music event of the year for “Hillbilly Bone” with Trace Adkins.
Meanwhile, Lady Antebellum took home the trophies for single of the year for their hit “Need You Now” and for vocal group. The Zac Brown Band won new artist of the year.
The CMAs, hosted by Paisley and Underwood, aired Wednesday night on ABC.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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